Louis Christopher and Patrick Bright say media outlets are ignoring underquoting petition

Louis Christopher and Patrick Bright say media outlets are ignoring underquoting petition
Louis Christopher and Patrick Bright say media outlets are ignoring underquoting petition

Underquoting is a hugely tricky topic for many in property, with the “quote [or price] it low, watch it go” mantra said to be the modus operandi of many in the real estate selling business, especially when it comes to auction sales.

Recently, EPS Property Search’s Patrick Bright began a petition against underquoting, and encouraging the consideration of early publishing of the reserve price for properties heading to auction. Property Observer covered this petition upon its launch, and discussed it with him prior to its inception.

SQM Research’s Louis Christopher has also expressed his dislike of the practice of underquoting and is vocally backing Bright’s petition.

Property Observer recently attended an auction in Sydney where there was around a $200,000 discrepancy between reserve price and the price guide provided by the real estate agent. The property sold at auction just above the reserve, and we have clear reason to believe that the vendors would never have considered an offer around the price guide provided. Certainly, there may have been buyers that were unable to afford this price and that may have spent money on inspections and conveyancing to prepare for the auction, let alone time. As a buyer's agent, Bright says that this is all too common and that he sees underquoting at the majority of auctions he attends.

SQM Research’s Louis Christopher has also expressed his dislike of the practice of underquoting and is vocally backing Bright’s petition.

"I am personally sick to death of underquoting in real estate.  It wastes time, money and breaks people’s hearts once they know they have been deceived. Ultimately it is damaging to the property sector and all those who participate in it,” said Christopher in his recent newsletter.

"One thing Patrick and I share in common is that we have a very strong belief in property market transparency and ensuring people don’t get ripped off in property transactions. Recently, Patrick has gone so far as to get a petition going to make it compulsory to advertise auction reserve prices to stamp out underquoting and dummy bidding,” he said, noting he 100% agrees with the objective, urging others to sign the petition.

However, Christopher also expressed his dislike at media ignoring the petition.

"Sadly, I can tell you now there are some dark forces out there who don’t want to see this happen. Indeed, Patrick has recently told me of some media outlets who won’t give this petition coverage, even after promises they would! No doubt they are worried they may lose advertising dollars due to these dark forces,” he wrote.

He said he had a message for those outlets: "Please show a bit of spine on this issue and give it the coverage it deserves.”

He told Property Observer that despite the pain some interests may feel in the short term, price transparency will create overall benefits across the market, and it should be given a run and prominence.

Recently, mainstream media outlets went gangbusters writing about Queensland’s potential change to ban price guides from auctions – something Property Observer also wrote about – and he noted that it is startling to see the contrast between some experts’ exposure and others.

"[Underquoting] does come out in a rising market,” Christopher explained. “Markets can move quickly, but what Patrick has put forward is that the reserve price isn’t provided until a week out.”

Discussing the Queensland potential price guide ban, he noted that he sat on the fence, saying there were many pros and cons. However, he noted that no guide is better than a phoney guide.

"They’re big businesses protecting their bottom line, and it’s completely their right to do that,” Bright said.

While neither would disclose which media outlets said they would cover the petition and since changed their minds, Property Observer notes that online there have been stories from Australian Property Investor magazine. Patrick Bright confirmed that API had been in support of sharing news of the petition.

Bright said that he doesn’t want to criticise individuals as he is sure there are powers above them calling the shots.

"They’re big businesses protecting their bottom line, and it’s completely their right to do that,” he said.

He also said that he is getting a lot of support when he personally speaks to sales agents, but finds that many are concerned of ridicule from their peers if they support the petition.

Disclosure: Jennifer Duke has signed the petition for reserve prices to be published, as well as a petition opposing the Queensland price guide ban.

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke was a property writer at Property Observer

Tags: 
Auction Underquoting New South Wales Price Guide Reserve Price Patrick Bright Louis Christopher

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