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For SaleAUTHORITIES in Victoria aim to avoid house-hunters having their hopes for their dream home dashed because of lower-end price quotes in property ads.

Real estate agents in the state will be banned from using “price-plus” advertisements, to stamp out under-quoting.

The use of terms such as “$500,000-plus” will be outlawed and agents will instead have to publish an expected selling range, such as $500,000-$550,000.

The pledge follows complaints from heartbroken house hunters duped into visiting homes they cannot afford and wasting money on property inspections.

Authorities have also come under attack for prosecuting only a handful of agents despite hundreds of under-quoting claims in recent years, and the problem is not confined to Victoria.

An investigation by The Daily Telegraph in July this year revealed more real estate agents in NSW were underquoting property values to lure buyers to auctions.

A survey by the paper found nearly half of buyers were quoted a price guide more than $100,000 less than the reserve. Almost 90 per cent said they were given an estimated price guide at least $50,000 cheaper than what the house sold for.

The Sydney Morning Herald said underquoting complaints to NSW Fair Trading had surged earlier this year, but there were no prosecutions.

It is believed the NSW State Government will bring new laws to protect consumers to Parliament which would take effect in January and would aim to bring NSW into line with federal laws.
Victoria’s Consumer Affairs Minister Tony Robinson said new laws, to be introduced if the State Government is re-elected, would give more certainty over prices and property values.

An education campaign highlighting auction and sale practices and the need to research prices obtained for similar properties is also promised.

“Buying a home is the most important investment most Victorian families will ever make,” Mr Robinson said.
“By strengthening our existing real estate pricing laws that outlaw misleading advertising, we will create more confidence in the industry.”

Agents will still be able to publish a price range that is supposed to be based on recent sales in the area.

But home seekers know the ranges that many agents publish have little relevance to the actual sale price.

A Herald Sun investigation last year found only two properties from a sample of 74 sold within the price range quoted by agents.

Real Estate Institute of Victoria president John Grabyn said the ban would make it easier for consumers to compare properties for sale and help alleviate confusion.

“The banning of price-plus will not restrict the price a property will be sold for as the market will determine this, but it will make it simpler for consumers and bring some consistency into property advertising,” Mr Grabyn said.

Story by Karen Collier and Craig Binnie www.heraldsun.com.au

Tags: auctions, buying, marketing, property, real estate, reiv, selling

View the original article here

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