Complaint after agent buys dream home

By Abby Gillies, Brendan Manning

Pete Deuart is questioning the ethics of the property industry. Photo / Christine Cornege
Pete Deuart is questioning the ethics of the property industry. Photo / Christine Cornege

An aspiring Queenstown homeowner has complained to a real estate authority after his dream home was snapped up within 24 hours of being listed - by an agent from the listing company.

Pete Deuart, a 38-year-old snow-maker, had hoped to secure the three-bedroom property in Kiely Lane for his growing family. Instead he is questioning the ethics of the property industry, and has laid a complaint with the Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA).

After a three-month search he spotted the house on Trade Me last month, listed at $385,000.

"There hasn't been a house like that probably for sale in Queenstown for about 10 years. When you're looking every day you know when something comes up like that," he said.

He immediately called listing agent Gavin Castles of Ray White, only to find the property was under contract to Wayne Cafe, another Ray White agent.

The day after Mr Castles secured the listing he took Ray White representatives, including Mr Cafe, through the property on a familiarisation visit, Mountain Scene reported. The property went on Ray White's website and Trade Me that afternoon. By noon the next day, Mr Cafe had conditionally bought it.

Mr Castles said he took Mr Cafe's $365,000 offer to the vendors, advising them to bump him up to the $385,000 asking price and sign, which they did.

Mr Deuart did not give up and though he had not been in the house he rang Mr Castles with a back-up offer of $390,000 and would have gone to $400,000.

"He [Mr Castles] said, 'You can't, the contract's done.' In the end, I forced him, I basically had to call him back and say, 'No I want to make an offer."'

But by the time his wife got to the office to make a written offer, the sale had gone unconditional. Mr Deuart later found the buyer was a Ray White agent.

Ngaire Vanderhoof of the REAA confirmed a complaint had been laid and said it was going through the disciplinary tribunal process.

Ray White chief executive Carey Smith said Mr Cafe had sold his own home six months earlier so there was "nothing untoward" about him being in the market for another.

"There is disclosure every agent needs to make ... and a form that must be completed, and [it was] completed."

Mr Cafe said he welcomed the REAA investigation.

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf02 at 18 Dec 2014 20:12:03 Processing Time: 403ms