Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Sydney is obsessed with the property market which makes it all the more strange that it is so incredibly poorly served by real estate agents. Real estate agents are heterogeneous group; many are lazy, unenthusiastic fools whose continued employment is a function of the low entry standards while others make a matzah through diligence and professionalism. My latest experience is unfortunately with the first, and sadly largest, group.

A place, seen only ten days ago, appealed greatly and we clearly indicated our interest by notifying the agent we'd likely bid, obtaining the contract and asking all sorts of questions. We also specifically requested that the agent keep us informed in the event that the vendor received an offer. A week passed during which we made some plans to have building inspections done and talked with our lawyer - we were all ready to make an offer after seeing the place again when we realised it was no longer being advertised. A quick call to the lazy-ass agent confirmed that the place was under offer. Annoyed with his failure to advise us as agreed, but somewhat resigned to missing out, we sent a carefully worded but clearly shitty email to him advising him that he'd both failed in his commitments to us and probably cost his vendor by not seeking our bid.

Jolted out of his stupor, the agent called later in the day to clarify that the deal wasn't closed and that he'd present our offer to the vendor. Gazump? We offered about one percent more but held little hope - in fact I wondered if the agent wasn't simply covering his arse having been caught napping - sure enough, 24 hours later, the vendor accepted the original offer and we missed out. No gazump.

Moral of the story. You can't trust real estate agents - there's a few who're smart business people but the majority are lazy, unethical and interested only in their immediate commission check. That this group remains in business astounds me but is probably a reflection of the generally low professional standards and the dynamism of the Sydney property market. At the risk of sounding like a regulator, I'd significantly increase the barriers to entry and encourage the professional association to develop training and credentials that led to some market differentiation.

Or what about a variation on ratemyteacher? ratemyagent?


Anonymous said...

Speaking of your last point, a similar NZ one has just started up - www.ratemycourses.co.nz. Will be interesting to see how it fares . . .

backin15 said...

soon to be renamed ventmyspleen?