An unlicensed real estate agent has appeared in court after approaching people selling their properties privately.
Ewen James McLeod, 65, of Gore wrote to sellers with suggestions on different marketing methods.
For a fee of $500, he offered advice, to take potential buyers through homes, negotiate on the owners' behalf and draw up documents.
The Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA) investigated one particular case where McLeod helped the Cruickshank family sell their Sword St home.
McLeod replaced their mobile number with his on print advertising, held an open home and took potential buyers through the property.
He told the District Court at Gore that he was doing nothing more than providing "general advice to assist the Cruickshanks to locate and negotiate with potential buyers".
Judge Phillip Moran disagreed. In a written judgement, Judge Moran found McLeod guilty of one charge of unlicensed trading laid under the Real Estate Agents Act.
He said McLeod's actions constituted the work of a real estate agent and he should have been licensed to do the work.
REAA chief executive Kevin Lampen-Smith said he was "very pleased" with the decision.
"Unlicensed trading is a serious offence and a key area of focus for us.
"The intent of the Real Estate Agents Act 2008 is to protect consumers and give them confidence in real estate agency work."
Mr Lampen-Smith said licensing real estate agents protected sellers "if things should go wrong".
"Mr McLeod was breaking the law by carrying out real estate agency work without a licence and his clients would not have had any comeback through the REAA's complaints process."
McLeod will be convicted and fined on a date to be set.
The REAA has a public register of licensed real estate agents at www.reaa.govt.nz.