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False Advertising by real estate agents

By aa - 23 September 2008 46

I recently purchased an apartment off the plans. According to the real-estate agent, I was getting a 3 bedroom apartment that’s 138m2.

I moved in a few weeks ago and was a bit suspicious about the size of the place, so I measured it up and it was roughly 128m2 and not 138. I got an architect in to measure it, and I was right.

Now the plans I purchased it off stated it was 138m, and I measured every room and the measurements were off by 20cm in each room. After speaking to my lawyer, he stated they can be 10% off and I can’t do a thing about it. I sat back and calculated that if every apartment in was 20cm off in each room, they managed to slip in an extra 6 apartments into my complex.

I also calculated that the apartment cost me $400,000, so that’s roughly $2,898.55/metre at 138, considering I only got 128m, I should only pay $371,014.49.

Does anyone know of anything I can do about thing? It’s $30,000. Shouldn’t the real-estate agent be done for false advertising? I know if woolie were selling there stuff 10% lighter than they state, they’d be in all sorts of trouble!!!!

What’s Your opinion?


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46 Responses to
False Advertising by real estate agents
peterh 5:22 pm 23 Sep 08

Aurelius said :

You took the word of an estate agent?
There’s your first mistake.
Estate agents are cheating lying pieces of scum.
And that’s just the nice ones.

you seem to be well versed in all manner of bad experiences, don’t you?

Buying “off the plan” has many risks associated with it, the plan may change to allow for unforseen obstacles during construction.

I have never had a bad dealing with real estate agents, I have had many rental properties over the years and have always found the real estate agents to be my friends from a renter’s perspective. I have a couple of friends that are dealer principals and have family members who work in the industry.

All of my discussions re new houses and off the plan purchases have been met with warnings and attempts to dissuade me from this track, the general consensus is that purchasing a completed house will ensure that you get what you see, not what was on a plan that may change without notice.

This won’t help the OP, but I suggest that they speak to the Real Estate Institute, as they may have some ideas or assistance for you, to enable you to come to a resolution with the agent.

It is worth a try, additionally, get a second opinion from another solicitor. there may be another avenue, and the second eye over the contract might pick it up.

gooterz 5:05 pm 23 Sep 08

I’d be trying to see the building plans. The ones they used to make it sans the 10%.
Why would they shave 10% off. it would have been planned to be a fixed size, if its 10% smaller it will change alot of things about the plan.

Thing is are they trying to rip u off by showing you a plan thats just 10% bigger?

jimbocool 4:57 pm 23 Sep 08

djk, the second part is perfectly rational – you pay good money to a lawyer so that they protect your interests and advise you about what you are getting into. If the lawyer did not explain about about the 10% and/or did not counsel strongly against accepting such a condition then they should be sacked.

djk 4:47 pm 23 Sep 08

jimbocool said :

Having bought a place off the plan myself some time ago, the advice I got from my lawyer was, ‘forget what the agent says, forget what the display aprtment looks like, the only thing that matters is what is in the contract’. So the thing to do is check the contract and if it does indeed allow a 10% variance then you should sack your lawyer! The reduced size of the apartment should entitle you to reduced body corporate fees and lower rates though…

1st part is correct, the contract is the important thing to check. The 2nd part seems a bit irrational, given that the OP is the one who entered into the contract, after presumably having all of the conditions explained to him/her.

It is standard for off-the-plan units to have a condition to this effect, and the response if you had asked for it to be removed would have been take it as is or leave it.

Sammy 4:44 pm 23 Sep 08

When reading an apartment plan, are the dimensions of the apartment measured off the supporting wall, or the internal gyprock wall? That could account for some measuring discrepancies.

Holden Caulfield 4:41 pm 23 Sep 08

I remember when building our house back in the day we were having a dispute with our builder over a wall placement, as it didn’t quite match the plan. When I raised this with the builder his response was “oh don’t refer to the plan, that’s just a guide”.

Not quite the reply I was expecting, haha!

I-filed 4:37 pm 23 Sep 08

I’d push this further. 10% is pretty big. Today Tonight is your answer. Sic Tracy and Helen Wellings onto them. They won’t care whether it’s in the contracts or not if it’s unfair to battlers. Be prepared to get on the telly in battler mode. Make sure you know the big bucks behind the complex – with any luck, there will be a high-profile company who won’t want their practices exposed. Do a letterbox drop to everyone in the complex. Get the government onto it BEFORE THE ELECTION!

harvyk1 4:36 pm 23 Sep 08

They’d no doubt have a clause in the contract to cover themselves, as it’s difficult to build a property to exact measurements, especially with an off the plan sale. I agree, estate agents can be real snake oil salesmen, that’s why you get a solicitor. I’d suggest asking your solicitor why they can be 10% smaller than you paid for, if they really did read the contract and really know the laws then you’ll get your answer. (If they didn’t and don’t then don’t use them again)

jimbocool 4:30 pm 23 Sep 08

Having bought a place off the plan myself some time ago, the advice I got from my lawyer was, ‘forget what the agent says, forget what the display aprtment looks like, the only thing that matters is what is in the contract’. So the thing to do is check the contract and if it does indeed allow a 10% variance then you should sack your lawyer! The reduced size of the apartment should entitle you to reduced body corporate fees and lower rates though…

mdme workalot 4:29 pm 23 Sep 08

Might be worth checking the relevant legislation about the 10% rule. Generally there is some leeway, but 10% seems an awful lot when you’re talking about property.

I will apologise in advance for the snide comments you’re going to cop here – I feel your pain, and if you’re paying good money for something you should be getting exactly what you signed up for.

astrojax 4:27 pm 23 Sep 08

the word of an estate agent; against the word of a lawyer… ha ha ha ha …gold!

anyway, whether or not you have a legal leg to stand on, it’d be fun to walk in to agent’s office with a besuited mate [lawyer disguise] and a chap with a camera and film the agent as you present your findings and intention to sue for damages and get hir squirming on tape. mebbe sell it as an audition to TDT or some other gutter press show?

maculicauda 4:27 pm 23 Sep 08

Sometimes they include parking spaces in the total living space…

Aurelius 4:21 pm 23 Sep 08

You took the word of an estate agent?
There’s your first mistake.
Estate agents are cheating lying pieces of scum.
And that’s just the nice ones.

Wide Boy Jake 4:20 pm 23 Sep 08

Oh, it’s soooo hard to get good help nowadays . . .

josh 4:10 pm 23 Sep 08

“After speaking to my lawyer, he stated they can be 10% off and I can’t do a thing about it.”

if that’s the case, then haven’t you answered your own questions?

and it’s equally as likely that your neighbour has a 148m^2 joint.

6 extra apartments sounds extreme for something that less than 10% smaller than required (in one dimension). not knowing the complex, i’d suggest that it’s unlikely they’re going to fit six extra places into the same complex.

shrug.

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