Saturday, 26 April 2014

Real estate advertising - what you read should be what you get!

Can you believe what you read?

Apparently not when it comes to real estate agent's advertisements. It seems for many years most of us have been a little wary of the often colourful descriptions agents use when pitching their latest listing.

And who can blame them? I'm sure we've all heard of someone who has responded to an advertisement for a "great first home" only to find the structure barely held together by spiderwebs and hope.

In fact, many of the jokes about real estate agents would be devoid of meaning if there were not an accepted set of assumptions about their manipulative use of language, as the following extracts from BBC News Online, humorous “dictionaries” of estate agent euphemism demonstrates: 

In Need of TLC ... often means ... In need of demolition.

Internal Viewing Recommended ... often means ... Looks awful on the outside.

Original Features ... often means ... Water tank still contains cholera bacterium.

Studio apartment ... often means ... You can wash the dishes, watch the TV, and answer the front door without getting up from the toilet.

Secluded location ... often means ... It was in the middle-of-nowhere - barren and desolate. Suitable film set for Mad Max 5, perhaps?

I'm sure you get the picture.

But things have changed in recent years. In NSW and in most other states Agents are expected to write accurate advertisements without exaggeration - sometimes a difficult task when trying to present a client's property in the best light.

Section 51 of the NSW Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002 forbids a licensee in the course of carrying on their business from publishing or causing others to publish any statement that:
  • is intended or apparently intended by the licensee to promote the sale or lease of any property, and
  • is materially false, misleading or deceptive (whether to the licensee’s knowledge or not).
Fair Trading NSW has a range of penalties waiting for any agent who oversteps the mark. This is good news for consumers who can now view advertisements placed by agents in the reasonably certain knowledge that "what you read is what you get"

Whilst I was researching this article I came across the following item which pokes fun at the way property advertising has been viewed in the past and I thought you might enjoy it as much as I did - remembering, of course, agents today have a higher standard to follow.

Agent Speak 101