Calls for more caution and education

Calls for more caution and education

Posted on Monday, March 09 2015 at 12:31 PM

Property buyers and investors are being reminded of the importance of understanding their contract, with NSW Fair Trading Minister Matthew Mason-Cox revealing that complaints about buying properties off-the-plan have increased in the last year.

been a steady increase in the number of complaints received, with 25 recorded
last year, 14 lodged in 2013 and 10 received in 2012.

the overall volume of complaints is low, these complaints can represent financial
losses for consumers,” Mason-Cox says.

or deceptive conduct and requests for refunds are the main areas of complaints.
In some instances consumers have been left waiting long periods for their
properties to be completed, if at all.”

one example, a consumer who paid a $5000 holding deposit for a property
off-the-plan was then told by the agent they had to pay a higher deposit or
forfeit the property to other interested buyers. Despite withdrawing from the
deal, and the agent agreeing to a full refund, none was provided. NSW Fair
Trading negotiated the full refund of the $5000 deposit for the consumer.

another case, a consumer was told their $1,000 expression of interest deposit
for a property off-the-plan would be returned if the sale did not proceed. NSW
Fair Trading stepped in to negotiate a $1000 refund for the consumer, after the
sale did not proceed but no refund was provided.

most sales agents who market off-the-plan properties are professional and act
lawfully, Mason-Cox urges people to carefully scrutinise any contracts before

properties off-the-plan offers a number of benefits for consumers, as they’re
often cheaper than purchasing an already completed property and allow more time
to pay off the property,” he says.

purchases, however, aren’t without risk. I’d strongly encourage consumers to
make sure they read and understand the terms and conditions of the contract
before committing to a property off-the-plan.

buying it’s wise to carry out a physical inspection of the location of the
proposed development, seek independent advice from an industry professional,
and speak to a legal representative for advice on the terms of their contract.”

Fair Trading NSW itself has come under fire from the
Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW).

The organisation says the decision by the Baird
Government to crack down on underquoting fails to recognise the heart of the

REINSW President Malcolm Gunning says low
education standards are at the crux of the issues associated with underquoting.

“This is a problem that’s been created by NSW
Fair Trading, which is ineffective and doesn’t understand the complexity of the
market,” he says.

“Additional legislation will not solve the
problems created by a government that allows real estate agents to enter the
profession with as little as one day of training.

“It’s time to stop the nonsense and
grandstanding and look at the real issue, proper education for agents entering
the profession and ongoing professional development,” Gunning adds.

Article source: