A Hamilton real estate agency has been criticised online after sharing an advertisement that promised an elderly vendor was "not coming home" after shifting into assisted living.
The ad, placed for a property in the Hamilton suburb of Dinsdale, originally read: "GONE to a rest home, NOT coming home."
The blunt phrasing was criticised after a screenshot of the original ad was shared to social media site Reddit.
The image was posted with the caption: "Your daily reminder that real estate agents are scum."
"I've worked out over time that most real estate agents are in way over their heads," one commenter wrote.
"This one obviously thinks that line is marketing genius, when most people with a brain would find it at best a bit weird, and at worst offensive."
Another said they would be horrified if their family member's property was marketed in that way.
Others said the ad showed "reptile level empathy" and was "vulture-esque."
Campbell Scott, from Harcourts Hamilton, the agency behind the ad, said the agents had not received any complaints directly but had been shown the Reddit thread.
Scott said the property was originally marketed with an entirely different, less direct, approach and the shift was driven by the vendor's family's decision to get the house sold.
"That script was their pick," Scott said. "They were entirely comfortable with it."
He said after seeing the online response they had decided to "soften" the wording but stressed that the elderly vendor was not at the end of her life, but had simply got to a stage where she was unable to safely care for herself in her own home.
The new advert omits the "not coming home" line, simply reading: "Gone to a rest home."
He said the original wording was "confronting and blunt" but real estate agents were often accused of holding back or misrepresenting details and that certainly had not happened in this case.
Scott told the Herald he took exception to online comments suggesting the agency had acted without the permission of the family, saying the vendor was a "hard-case old lady" who was fully on board with the wording of the advertisement.
The house remains on the market.