Watch out for false and illegal property advertising, warns Seeff
Due to the depressed property market at the moment, some agents and agencies are resorting to misleading advertising in Centurion to attract the attention of buyers and sellers.
Steve van Wyk, Seeff’s MD in Centurion, says one example of this is on the online property portals where estate agencies advertise properties with SOLD banners for months on end (sometimes even up to a year) even when the property in question was sold months ago and often by a competitor estate agency.
“Another form of false advertising includes when estate agents produce glossy brochures, advertising properties as SOLD, SOLE MANDATE or DUAL MANDATE when the properties were in fact sold or mandated by other estate agencies.
In the case of SOLE and DUAL MANDATES the mandate in question has often been secured by another estate agency as opposed to their own”.
Van Wyk says that these forms of advertising are contrary to the Advertising Standards Authority Guidelines as well as in contravention of the Estate Agency Affairs Board’s Code of Conduct.
“It is normal procedure for the estate agency that has sold the property to advertise it as SOLD until registration takes place which is normally about two months. Likewise, only a real estate company that has secured a signed SOLE or DUAL mandate may advertise that property”.
Van Wyk adds that the advertising of SOLD properties on the website portals for months on end aim to create the misleading picture that that specific real estate company are dominating the market.
“This causes endless frustration for potential buyers as they need to wade through the thousands of properties that have in fact been SOLD to establish which properties is actually still FOR SALE.
Another unprofessional act is to price a seller’s property way in excess of the market value, knowing that no buyer will make an offer on an overpriced property.
This overpricing is done to impress the seller, but the agent knows that it will never achieve an unrealistic price as buyers can compare all the property details including the price on the property portals.
This is why correctly priced and marketed properties in Centurion sell within about forty days and the rest never sell.
Whether you are a buyer or a seller it is important not to accept everything you see on the property portals or in the media as factual.
“In many cases this is merely misleading and unprofessional conduct and advertising, which has become a major problem in Centurion and other areas even with well-respected Real Estate Companies resorting to these underhand tactics to impress buyers and sellers”.
Van Wyk continues that municipalities control estate agency boards within the municipal boundaries with regard to the number allowed, size and the height.
These boards may only display FOR SALE, SOLD, TO LET and LET along with the estate agency’s name, agent’s name and cell number. Any boards displaying AREA AGENT, AREA SPECIALIST, TOWNHOUSE SPECIALIST, PROPERTIES WANTED etc. are illegal in terms of the municipal by-laws”.
Van Wyk concludes that his advice to buyers and sellers is to only do business with reputable estate agencies that abide by the laws and regulations of the Estate Agency Affairs Board and the municipal by-laws.
“If an Estate Agency is prepared to operate unlawfully it is not advisable to trust them with the sale or purchase of your biggest asset”.