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Written instructions offer protection

27 March 2017

REINSW President John Cunningham has warned agents to always use the latest REINSW Agency Agreement forms to protect themselves from underquoting and the Australian Consumer Law.

The law in NSW states an agent cannot quote a price less than the estimated selling price, or the owners instructed selling price (whichever is greater). This applies to properties sold by either private treaty, or auction.

As a result, the wording of the standard REINSW Agency Agreement private treaty and auction forms were changed to include an instruction that the agent market the property at a particular price, or price guide.

This is to avoid confusion on what constitutes owner’s instructions and assists greatly in ensuring that the provisions of Australian Consumer Law (ACL) are covered.

John said: “It is critical to obtain written instructions from the owner that authorises the agent to market the property at a particular price, or price guide. 

“The Australian Consumer Law in relation to real estate is very broad and open to interpretation, so keeping detailed file notes and having clear written instructions are paramount to ensure transparency.

“Agents need to be aware of implications of this in their selling price guides and methods of operation.”

John added that without written instructions, which offer protection to agents, it can then be left to the interpretation of the vendor or legal teams taking action under ACL.