Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is a journalist based in Auckland.

Real estate agent fined over low listing price

File photo / Thinkstock
File photo / Thinkstock

A central Auckland real estate agent who listed a $1 million house for tens of thousands less than the sale price has been censured and fined $1000.

Harcourts Mt Eden and Epsom agent Mike Emery has been found to have engaged in unsatisfactory conduct while he and another agent were tasked with selling the property by auction at the end of 2012.

The seller complained to the Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA) that the property was listed on the Harcourts website in the wrong price bracket, without proper disclosure and transparency.

The property was advertised in the $700,000 to $800,000 bracket when it should have been listed in the $850,000 to $950,000 bracket.

The complainant claimed that affected bids on the property, which did not reach reserve at auction. The property later sold through a different agency for $993,000.

Mr Emery told the REAA's complaints assessment committee he was not responsible for preparing the website listing.

However, he did not believe the property was in the wrong price bracket and he maintained the complainant's asking price was simply too high.

The other Harcourts agent, who was not named by the REAA, admitted the property was listed in the wrong price bracket by mistake.

The REAA found Mr Emery had a duty of care to ensure all information was correct before publication.

"Whether by mistake or not the reality is that the advertised price did not reflect the pricing expectations agreed with the complainant and expected by her.''

The REAA censured Mr Emery, fined him $1000 and ordered him to refund $1000 of the marketing fee the complainant paid to Harcourts.

The complainant also alleged Mr Emery manipulated the Harcourts website for a later screenshot, failed to give her a copy of the listing agreement or REAA guide and failed to follow up adequately on a prospective buyer.

However, the REAA said while those complaints did not put Harcourts in a good light, the allegations could not be substantiated.

An application for name suppression was declined.

- APNZ

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