Welcome to BestLocalAgent.com.au

The most critical and most important activity when selling your property is choosing the right agent! Get it right and everything will flow smoothly and you’ll get the best price in the optimum time. Get it wrong and your life will be miserable.

Our services are FREE to the seller (you) and designed to benefit sellers, not agents or buyers. Here’s what we will do for you:

1. Free Agent Search: We will thoroughly research your situation, and our extensive agent data base, and find the best local agents for your final choice.

2. Free Report: We will give you a valuable report for your property, including an expert price estimate, from a leading Australia-wide firm of of property specialists.

3. Big Seller Reward: Sell through one of our referred agents, you will receive our unique Seller Reward, comprising your choice from a wide range of goods, services and / or travel deals with a retail value of up to $2,000 or more for an average capital city house (as an example). The amount depends on the value of your property – no upper limit!
Why not spoil yourself with that special, free holiday or treat! On us!

If you prefer to do your own thing, and happen to choose the wrong agent (as many people do), here's what you're risking (scroll down and click on each heading):

CAN YOU TRUST YOUR AGENT more than a sex worker? Or your solicitor?

In the Reader's Digest (Australia) Trust Poll 2013 (Professions), real estate agents were placed way down the list at just 45th out of 50 (the well-deserving winners were fire fighters and paramedics at equal first).

Real estate agents were just ahead of sex workers (46), call centre staff (47), insurance salespeople (48), politicians (49) and door-to-door salespeople (50 and last).

The report concludes: "Once again, it’s the professions that are dependable, honest and reliable that have earned our trust". It follows that agents, being close to the bottom of the list, are not dependable, are dishonest and are unreliable!!

Want some more bad news? Well, lawyers clock in at number 39. So the very two "professionals" that you rely on almost exclusively when selling your property, are both close to the bottom of the "trust" scale!

The only good news is that, if it all gets too much for you, at least you can trust the ambo who comes to cart you off!!

Best of luck! You're going to need every bit of it!

CAN YOU BELIEVE media and real estate listing sites?

Always look for their ulterior motives. For example:

Fairfax Media (SMH, Age, Domain.com.au, Australian Property Managers, etc.) All these people make their money from real estate sales. No sales means no advertising means no money. I have never read a negative article about real estate in the SMH, and I read it every day. They are always talking it up! APM are owned by Fairfax and, likewise, should be viewed with suspicion of bias.

RealEstate.com.au
Current / recent "Selling/News" article: "5 Tips To Get The Best Price When Selling Your Property". Such as: "Waiting for the market to improve: Waiting does not ensure a better selling price." What rubbish! Of course they want you to sell now, and advertise now – with them, of course.

FAVOURITE TRICKS and ILLEGAL PRACTICES of AGENTS.

Perhaps the best way to illustrate this is to look at the real estate agents' and salespersons' malpractices that were specifically banned in the relevant PSBA Act (2002) and Regulations (2003) in NSW (although malpractices in other states are much the same). Since these needed to be banned only a decade ago, and since there is little enforcement, you can be sure these malpractices are still going on. In fact, we believe agent malpractice is increasing and is the norm, not the exception.

Following is the list of the most common agent malpractices which the Office of Fair Trading finds it necessary to explicitly prohibit (because of widespread practice), and which you need to be on top of when dealing with an agent:

1. Inadequate knowledge of Act and Regulations.
2. Non-compliance with fiduciary obligations.
3. Not acting honestly, fairly and professionally; deception in negotiations and transactions.
4. Not exercising skill, care and diligence.
5. Engaging in high pressure tactics, harassment or unconscionable conduct.
6. Failing to act in client's best interests.
7. Breaching client confidentiality.
8. Not acting in accordance with client authority.
9. Failure to act in accordance with client's instructions.
10. Failure to ensure employees comply with the Act and Regulations.
11. Acting in conflict with the client's interests.
12. Referral to service provider without disclosing dependence (secret commissions, etc.).
13. Recommending solicitor or licensed conveyancer acting for other party.
14. Offering or providing inducements to engage services of the agent (money or other).
15. Soliciting clients through false or misleading advertisements or communications.
16. Failure to insert all material particulars in documents.
17. Not providing a copy of signed documents.
18. Falsely representing provisions of the Act or regulations under the Act.
19. Entering into agency agreements which do not comply with regulations.
20. Failure to properly conduct a preliminary physical inspection of property for sale.
21. Failure to properly prepare a sales inspection report and provide to principal.
22. Failure to inform principal of all offers to purchase (as soon as practicable).
23. Setting aside minimum or reserve price at auction without express permission.
24. Failure to state "no obligation" when "expression of interest deposit" paid.
25. Failure to notify managing agent of appointment to sell residential property.
26. Demanding or accepting payment for referring principal to a buyers agent.
27. Improper bidding on behalf of a telephone bidder (at auction).
28. Failure to properly serve copies when participating in exchange of contracts.

By using this information, and by being vigilant, you will reduce your risk of becoming a victim of these malpractices.

COMPLAINTS about AGENT MISCONDUCT and CORRUPTION.

Below are a few extracts from The Real Estate Information Centre blog (reic.com.au/blogs). It contains articles by lawyers operating in the real estate sector.
If you want a good scare, check it out!

Ending The Entrenched Real Estate Racket: the corrupting effects of conflicting interests (real estate "is saturated with such conflicts.").

Luxury River-Front Property For Sale - Flooded Only Once (Or Twice): and a mammoth legal battle for the seller!

Three Tales of Deceitful Real Estate Agents Successfully Sued: "a rarity compared to the level of misbehaviour and misconduct encountered by (real estate services) consumers on a day to day basis".

Consumer Affairs' Failure To Act On The Corrupting Effects Of Bribes: Victoria in this case, but typical of all states.

Commission Rage - Real Estate Rabies: "Commission rage can have a similar affect (to rabies) on real estate agents, changing them into cruel and manipulative bullies ".

Silence Is Not Golden In Real Estate Negotiations: "lack of transparency facilitates and even encourages corruption in the real estate industry ".

These are just a few. There are many, many more that could be listed. Check them out yourself.

REGULATORS are not serious about controlling agents!

The site "Lawyers Conveyancing" (lawyersconveyancing.com.au) concludes:

"The process for dealing with complaints against estate agents is inefficient, ineffectual and in need of urgent attention. Until the regulating authorities are prepared to take their role seriously, our only suggestion to dissatisfied consumers is to let others know what is happening in our real estate industry by posting details of their experiences on The Australian Real Estate Blog."

We would add the suggestion that you reduce your risk in the first place by using our free help with initial agent selection.

CRACKDOWN on DODGY NSW AGENTS.

(AAP November 25, 2012) UNDERCOVER officers from NSW Fair Trading have blitzed auction sites as part of a crackdown on dodgy real estate agents. NSW Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts says there are concerns some agents are operating without licences and engaging in deceptive behaviour.

A number of real estate agents have been prosecuted for helping themselves to trust account funds and others are under investigation. There's also evidence some agents are undervaluing properties to buyers and overvaluing to sellers.

Undercover inspections were conducted at 44 auctions across three weekends. Mr Roberts said 59 agents had been disqualified this year. Thirty-three agents are being investigated for trust account issues.

NSW FAIR TRADING INVESTIGATES Dougmal Harcourts (Warilla) real estate.

(31 January 2012) NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said Fair Trading had been notified of a significant deficiency in trust accounts by the licensee-in-charge on 24 January and launched an immediate investigation.

This large real estate agency and strata management scheme operates across the southern Illawarra region. The real estate agency side of the business is now closed.

VICTORIAN REAL ESTATE OFFICES RAIDED in under-quoting investigations.

(SmartCompany.com.au/Property) The offices of 60 Victorian real estate agents have been raided as part of an investigation led by Consumer Affairs Victoria into the alleged practice of "under-quoting".

More than 1,000 property sales files have been investigated, and some agents are reportedly facing prosecution with those culpable facing fines of up to $220,000 for the practice.

The raids focussed on western and northern suburbs, such as Brunswick, Clifton Hill, Coburg, Craigieburn, Essendon, Pascoe Vale, Point Cook and Werribee. Up to 80 investigators were involved.

Under-quoting refers to a practice whereby a salesperson advertises a price that is lower than the vendor is willing to consider, so more buyers can inspect the property.

10 BELIEFS that will get you a LOW PRICE for your property.

1. "My Uncle Bob sells real estate. He'll look after me."
2. "This agent's pitch to us was great! He'll sell our place in no time."
3. "You're the only agent who agrees with my selling price. Where do I sign?"
4. "The 'testimonials' on her site are very impressive. She must be good!"
5. "I'll use an agent who charges a low commission. It'll save money in the long run."
6. "The big name agencies never have 'bad apples' working for them."
7. "All agents hold the same licence so they must know the same things."
8. "She says she'll hold an open house every week. Let's go with her."
9. "I want an agent who lives in my neighbourhood."
10. "This agent sold more homes last year than anyone else! She must be the best!"

All of these issues play a part. You'll get the best price for your property from the agent who will do the best job of marketing the property, of negotiating the most favourable terms and conditions, and of communicating with the seller (you) to make the process as smooth as possible.

A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE to this AGENT MALPRACTICE MESS?

It's called footwork. By the late 90s, public complaint about malpractice in the real estate industry had reached a crescendo! It was no longer possible for state governments to sweep it under the carpet. They had to be seen to come up with something that looked like better consumer protection. Of course, they faced massive resistance from the real estate industry.

In NSW (as a typical example of all the states), the problem was that the bureaucrats either knew zip about the industry, or else did not want to upset their mates in the industry (for obvious reasons that I'll leave up to your imagination).

So the bureaucrats (Office of Fair Trading, etc.) turned to the agent associations for expert guidance on preventing agent malpractice: A bit like asking the fox for advice on building the chook pen. The result: the Property Stock and Business Agents Act (2002) and the corresponding PSBA Regulations (2003) – all designed BY real estate agents FOR real estate agents. The legislation pretends to protect buyers and sellers, but, in fact, it simply more firmly entrenches agents in their protected, privileged, anti-competitive, "licensed" status. It mandates onerous conditions on agents which benefit the industy hangers-on, the cost of which will simply be passed on to you, the mug consumer.

HOW has the GOVERNMENT PASSED THE BUCK to YOU?

As evidenced by other content on this page, the governments, regulatory authorities and courts have comprehensively failed to limit, let alone stop or even reduce, malpractice and/or criminal activity by agents. So what is their latest ruse? It is to get buyers and sellers (and most people are both, and often at the same time) to not just POLICE the real estate industry, but to PAY FOR THIS POLICING AS WELL!

I'll explain. Following is an extract from a recent NSW Office of Fair Trading (again, not unique to NSW) email to all licensed agents: "Professional indemnity insurance now compulsory for licensed property agents: On 1 January 2013 a new regulation was introduced making it mandatory for licensed property agents to be covered under a policy of professional indemnity insurance held in their own name, or held for them by their employer. Professional indemnity insurance is intended to provide protection to policyholders" (the agents) "for claims made against them relating to acts or omissions committed in a professional capacity."

So there it is: PROTECTION FOR AGENTS AGAINST YOU TAKING ACTION FOR THE AGENTS' OWN MALPRACTICE AND CRIMINAL ACTS. ALL PAID FOR BY YOU (through higher commissions – the premiums will be passed on, of course). And not only that, YOU WILL HAVE NO SUCH "PROTECTION" for your costs, and you will have to do battle with the giant insurance companies to get any redress for agent malpractice.

The Government has simply passed the buck to the insurance companies, and so to YOU! Now the "regulators" will just sit back and leave it to you to take action against both the agents and the notorious insurance companies! And AT YOUR COST with NO PROTECTION. The new setup is EVEN MORE STACKED AGAINST YOU AND IN FAVOUR OF CROOKED AGENTS!

Did you get VALENTINE'S DAY CHOCOLATES from YOUR AGENT?

On a lighter note, to show just how keen (desperate?) some agents are to get listings, here are some extracts from a recent article in the SMH Property section – evidence that agents really do have hearts of gold. :-)

'The hand-delivered letter was slipped under my door at dinner time on Tuesday night – a plain white envelope sealed with a love heart. Cupid doesn't often come calling.

"Saint Valentine is in the air ..." the letter begins. "I've fallen in love with your home and would love to be introduced." "Yes, it was one of those letters from a real estate agent (in Surry Hills, Sydney) seeking business, ... He'd delivered 700 of the love letters to residents offering an appraisal and a list of sales in the area.

By Thursday morning, he'd received 15 bookings, which involved the recipient texting the word "VALENTINE" to his mobile number. He was expecting more introductions, and says "stage two" involves turning up to the home with a box of chocolates.'

What a nice guy! Other, less romantic, agents would have been thinking of the $20K+ commission. But not this big-hearted, lovable chap.

WHO WROTE this stuff?

Officially, it's Snomon Pty Ltd which holds a Corporate Real Estate Licence in NSW. I'm a Director of Snomon, and the Managing Licensee (by law, every corporate licensee must have a licensed individual to manage it).

I'm an old guy who has seen it all ... or most of it. I'm not interested in money – at my age you tend to have more money than time left to spend it.

I get pretty cranky about some of the stunts of some agents, and I like to help people to avoid the more obvious traps.

We don't do "listings" ourselves – so I'm not after your "hard-earned".

I'm a Fellow of The Australian Computer Society, which I'm very proud of, but I'm not even a Member of the Real Estate Institute (at least for the past 5 years or so), which should tell you something about my opinion of the real estate industry. Many agents are honest, but it's difficult for you, the uninformed seller, to pick them from the shonks ("uninformed" because you are kept in the dark by sneaky agents and secretive bureaucrats). And it will stay difficult because of the way the system is stacked against the "consumer" (you). As the respected "success speaker", Ed Rohn, observed: "You don't have to LIKE the set-up, but you NEED to KNOW how it works!

You can find my more complete profile HERE. Check it out, but make sure you come back right away! (Use your browser "BACK" button to return, or you'll get lost.)



To email me, just click email address on previous line.



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And when you've read enough of the above scary but real facts, just click the Assistance Request Form button below, and here’s what we will do for you:

1. Free Agent Search: We will thoroughly research your situation, and our extensive agent data base, and find the best local agents for your final choice.

2. Free Report: We will give you a valuable report for your property, including an expert price estimate, from a leading Australia-wide firm of of property experts.

3. Big Seller Reward: Sell through one of our referred agents, you will receive our unique Seller Reward, comprising your choice from a wide range of goods, services and / or travel deals with a retail value of up to $2,000 or more for an average capital city house (as an example). The amount depends on the value of your property – no upper limit!
Why not spoil yourself with that special, free holiday or treat! On us!

Big Seller Reward!!

When you click on the Assistance Request Form link above, you will go to a page which provides more information on the 3 free benefits described above. It will also, of course, contain the Assistance Request Form itself for you to complete. However, there is no commitment whatsoever on your part until you actually complete and submit the form. So feel free to click on the link above to get more info on the great free services and Reward that you stand to gain!



** We are independent and we work for you:

* We do not do listings ourselves and we have no pre-existing or long-standing relationships with other agents or franchises (except for our temporary "referral relationships" for sellers like you and limited to the duration of the referral process).

* We do not get involved in your selling your property – we leave that to the referred agent that you choose.

* We focus solely on finding the right agent for you; that, in itself, is enough to keep us busy, even with our Oz-wide database, our IT expertise and background, and our real estate know-how and experience.