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Should you disclose the sale price?

15 February 2018

Reporting on the disclosing of sale prices is a controversial issue amongst real estate agents. 

What are the pros and cons of disclosing? We spoke to three REINSW committee members to find out their thoughts.

Agents views on disclosing sale prices

Betty Ockerlander, McGrath Sales Agent, and REINSW Residential Sales Chapter Committee Member

“I prefer to disclose every sale. I like full transparency because it looks better to show prices as they are. There are occasions where it is a really messy divorce and we are instructed not to disclose but this is rare. 

“Another reason for us to hold back disclosing is because the price may affect another sale we have underfoot. In this situation we will delay disclosing for a few days or a week and then publish it.

“The main benefit of disclosing is we’re putting forward a positive projection. It appears to be a good sale that we are proud of. If the price is not disclosed prospective vendors often think that it sold too cheap and that is why the price wasn’t disclosed. 

“You can more accurately pick your 10% estimated selling price when you see the exact sale prices of each home quickly rather than waiting until after settlement. We often see other agents that don’t disclose the sale figure but instead tell clients they have sold the property for a much higher figure. There should be a penalty for disclosing the wrong figure!

“Some agents at a different company do their own success marketing letterbox drop using my sale on the Monday after the sale, implying they have sold the property. If everyone disclosed it would be fair to everyone.

“By not disclosing any sale figures I see only the negative side, which would be less accurate guides on our properties. This would lead to longer time on market as well.” 

Sarah Bester, General Manager of Ray White Double Bay, REINSW Residential Sales Chapter Committee Member

“If someone wishes to know what a property sold for, we want to speak to them personally to make a connection as they may wish to know because they have something to sell. We also want to ensure we protect the privacy of both vendor and purchaser where it has been requested.

“It is sometimes difficult with nearly 400 transactions per year to identify which vendor or purchaser does not wish the price of the property they bought/sold to be published.  We are bound not to publish where we are requested, so we have a blanket policy not to disclose by way of publishing. This protects any privacy issues that may arise.

“We also do not publish our auction results as 80% of the time, we are requested not to do so by either the vendor or purchaser and whilst it is a public auction, we need to abide by the request. We also do not disclose them internally to have a level of security over the privacy of the information.

“Once a property has settled, the information is publicly available as the Land and Property Information feeds through to many of the portals, so it is available at that time but not via us, who are bound not to publish.”

Braden Walters, McGrath Sales Agent and REINSW Board Director

“I always disclose sale prices unless a vendor/purchaser instructs me otherwise. I like to show off my results and how I successfully got the result and be proud of it. It shows you’re transparent and you have nothing to hide.

“The cons would be that you’re hiding your work. penalise you for not disclosing the result. In their sold section, if you aren’t advertising a sold price, it drops your property to the bottom on the list and reduces the ad type.

“Having worked in one of the most competitive markets in Australia, I can understand an agent’s temptation to keep their results close to their chest and holding it from other agents who beat them to promote the result to their farming area and network. 

“But, in my opinion, as we move towards a professional industry we need to be conducting ourselves in a manner to be transparent with each other and with our clients. 

“All the instances where we have been instructed to not disclose the sale price has led to disgruntled purchasers and people tell us that we’re hiding something or that "you must have sold it too cheap".

“I would prefer to be open, transparent and share the information to make potential clients find it easy to deal with me. They would never have any doubt that we would disclose everything we could.”