The theme of article is summarised in the 3rd paragraph:
The majority of real estate agents do a good job and earn a fair income overall. Choosing the wrong agent, however, could potentially cost tens of thousands of dollars - either through unnecessary commissions or jiggery pokery which ensures you sell for too little or pay too much.
and then goes on to cover the misconduct and disciplinary issues that have arisen in the real estate industry and how the occasional rogue agent keeps popping up. Some of the inappropriate practices are also mentioned:
Other common tricks agents play, which aren't necessarily in the best interest of the vendor or buyer, include:
- Pushing vendors to pay for advertising they don't need in order to market the agency, not the property. Some agents take a cut from this advertising as well.
- Quoting unrealistic prices in the hope of grabbing the business and then conditioning the vendor down.
- Citing ranges of pricing to buyers that are lower than the vendor will accept in order to lure in buyers or condition down sellers.
- Failing to disclose that the agent is either selling or buying the property personally or on behalf of a close relative.
The article is a very good read and can be found here.
If you want to find out whether an agent has been the subject of a complaint in the past, or are curious about the things your local agents get up to, go to the Real Estate Agents Authority (a government agency) website here. The link to the database of complaints is here and you can search by the agents name or location (e.g. a search on Christchurch will bring up all complaints recorded against Christchurch real estate agents). Clicking on the case number will provide you with lots of details including a link to the decision.