Real Estate Agent Intentionally Deceived Me, What Are My Options?

Here’s the story:

So this real estate agent had 3 vacant adjacent blocks of land for sale in Melbourne.

Two were listed as sold on their website and saying they were gone very quickly.

I went into the office to make an offer on the supposedly last block of land. They had a big whiteboard in clear view that listed the 2 other blocks of land and the price it sold for. The agent was saying this is the last one left and they are selling fast.

I have since signed the contract, finalised settlement and the title has been transferred.

Now, I’ve inadvertently found out from the actual original owners of the 3 blocks that the 2 other blocks were never for sale and they still own them. Those 2 blocks of land were unavailable and nobody else had ever even signed a contract to purchase it.

The problem is that the two blocks are now being commercially developed, instead of being bought by 2 home builders as I thought they were. The agent has admitted that they were never for sale but simply marked as sold “to avoid buyers enquiring on the blocks not available”. However, the agent is saying he did not know what their intentions were for the 2 blocks. Which is hard to believe since the owners developed 3 blocks specifically and never intended to sell the other 2 blocks, surely the agent would have enquired why not?

Now I find this a stupid excuse and feel completely misled and tricked into buying the “last” block of land.

The ACCC clearly says (https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/health-home-travel/real-es...).

“It is unlawful for real estate agents to:

  • intentionally mislead you
  • lead you to a wrong conclusion or impression
  • give you a false impression
  • leave out or hide important information (e.g. in fine-print disclaimers)
  • make false or inaccurate claims.

It makes no difference whether the agent meant to mislead or deceive you—it is how you perceived the conduct that matters.”

What would you guys do in this situation? What are my legal rights? The settlement has already completed and land titled.

Edit:

I would not have purchased the property if I knew about it being commercially developed. Even if the agent did not know, I believe he still intentionally misled the sale of other blocks to induce FOMO and set the price floor on the 1 block of land for sale.

There are two separate issues.

  1. The commercial development which isn’t the agent’s fault ONLY if he did not know about it ever.

  2. The misleading claims about nearby blocks selling quick when they were never even for sale to artificially induce FOMO and influence price

I’m asking more about the second problem and what can be done.
Obviously commercial development I can’t do a lot about it except object.

closed Comments

  • +15 votes

    Fascinating. Following with interest

  • +5 votes

    Member Since 26 min 13 sec

    I'll say post about it on ozbargain and see what happens :D

  • +1 vote

    Member Since
    27 min ago

    How do you prove that agent has misled you.

    surely the agent would have inquired why not?

    how do you know agent would have inquired.

    •  

      I don't think you can do anything bar let the public know about his evil ways

    • +1 vote

      The agent has admitted that they were never for sale but simply marked as sold “to avoid buyers enquiring on the blocks not available”

      ACCC says “It makes no difference whether the agent meant to mislead or deceive you—it is how you perceived the conduct that matters.”.

      Saying the adjacent blocks were sold but were never for sale I feel is misleading to me.

      I never said he inquired, I said surely he would have asked about the adjacent blocks being developed at the same time? Doesn’t matter if he did or not though, saying they were sold is already making misleading claims.

  • +4 votes

    They had a big whiteboard in clear view that listed the 2 other blocks of land and the price it sold for.

    If you took a picture of that or can otherwise prove it, you have a strong argument. The next question is, what are your damages?

    • +4 votes

      The agent has already admitted in writing they were listed as sold but were never for sale. And their old ad is still up saying the 2 blocks have been sold and under contract.

      Damage is I guess not wanting to live next to a busy commercial centre? Also this is a very shady practice that the real estate agent association needs to know

      •  

        But that isn't your true loss.
        You were misled into believing that they had been for sale, that they had sold, and what the price was.
        You knew nothing about what they were going to be used for.
        I think you were misled - if what you are saying is correct - but the true measure of your loss is hard to quantify.

    • +4 votes

      Even then, doubtful. OP effectively looked at content that was never targeted at them, didn't confirm or ask about it, and now says it was an important consideration?

      • +1 vote

        It was targeted at me,

        There was only 1 ad, all 3 blocks were for sale on that ad, with the 2 saying it was already sold.

        What do you mean confirm? REA said the two were never sold and he has admitted it.

      •  

        Come on man this isn't a "personal responsibility" issue, he relied on information given to him, which was admittedly false!

        •  

          he relied on information given to him

          This is the point actually, it wasn't given to him, from OP:

          They had a big whiteboard in clear view that listed the 2 other blocks of land and the price it sold for.

          He saw something that wasn't actively actually shown or provided to him. It's the same as if OP is trying to rely on something he overheard that turned out to be incorrect.

          • +2 votes

            @HighAndDry: I was explained this many times.

            The agent advertised the two being sold on the same ad. And he told me the other two have been sold very fast and at what price they sold at.

            It doesn’t matter what was actively shown either, it’s still fabcricating data that influenced my purchase and that information was material to the purchase. Although he did actively say and show me that the two blocks were soldp

            This is what he used to set the price for the block we bought.

            • +1 vote

              @DisabledUser320343:

              The agent advertised the two being sold on the same ad.

              Literally different plots of land, it'd be different ads.

              This is what he used to set the price for the block we bought.

              He can use whatever he wants to "set the price".


              At the end of the day, this was the fault of two things:

              1. Your FOMO, and
              2. Your lack of due diligence.

              The agent is the selling agent. He works for the seller, not you.

              •  

                @HighAndDry: That’s right
                You’re screwed because you failed to do your due diligence.
                I don’t want to rub salt in your wound but obviously the land was zoned commercial and the owner had permission to build commercial premises.
                You could and should have checked that out before you committed to buy.
                Who owns the land is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter if they were sold or not. You’re issue is not the ownership of the other blocks but what they are going to be used for.
                You’re situation is pretty much the same as buying a used car, you gotta do all your checks before you buy

  •  

    What's the difference with buying the "last" block vs "first" block?

    You would have negotiated harder?

    • +2 votes

      Yes FOMO is real.

      It’s just also a deceitful practice that should not be allowed.

      It’s now complicated because the blocks are being commercially developed.

      • +3 votes

        You having FOMO is your problem. Plus, nothing says other buyers couldn't have also developed the other land commercially either.

        This is very much a case of, congrats, you played yourself.

        • +1 vote

          Inducing someone to FOMO by lying about things affecting this specific property is illegal.

          • +1 vote

            @DisabledUser320343: Hahahaha yeah. Sure. Your FOMO is totally someone else's responsibility.

            • +1 vote

              @HighAndDry: Ok so agents can lie about nearby land sales and prices on the same ad that my land is being listed on.

              And that’s how they estimated my land price, from the sale price of land that we’re never for sale.

              That’s false reporting.

      •  

        How does the price you paid compare to the price listed of the "sold" blocks?

        •  

          They used those fake land prices to estimate my land price as well.

          Completely misleading.

          • +3 votes

            @DisabledUser320343:

            They used those fake land prices to estimate my land price as well.

            They used the fake land prices to get the price they needed for the seller.

            They will then use your price to sell the other two blocks for a similar price.


            Did you not do any research into the price of comparable lands, including those sold be other agents?

            •  

              @ihbh: The other two blocks were never for sale though.

              Honestly, the most comparable lands are the two directly adjacent to my block at similar size and shape.

              That’s what we looked at the most which is completely understandable. You do t expect REA to make false prices and sales claims.

              We did have a brief look at other lands but not entirely comparable as the other two

  •  

    I would not have purchased the property if I knew about it being commercially developed. Even if the agent did not know, I believe he still intentionally misled the sale of other blocks to induce FOMO on the 1 block of land for sale.

    How would you know. What if you are the first person to bought the land, then later purchase become a commercial development?

    •  

      The original owners told me the other blocks were never listed for sale and always leaning to leases commercial.

      The agent to me the 2 blocks were never for sale even though they used it as a marketing tactic to help inflate price and induce fomo

      • +1 vote

        yeah but, that doesn't matter.
        Your argument is;

        I would not have purchased the property if I knew about it being commercially developed

        That doesn't make any difference.

        •  

          I think there are two separate issues.

          1. The commercial development which isn’t the agent’s fault ONLY if he did not know about it ever.

          2. The misleading claims about nearby blocks selling quick when they were never even for sale to artificially induce FOMO.

          I’m asking more about the second problem and what can be done. Obviously commercial development I can’t do a lot about it except object but that doesn’t mean what the REA did is fine.

          How would you feel if this happened to you? He clearly lied and made false claims.

          •  

            @DisabledUser320343: Is that the only thing real estate agent done to you, then you are in upper hand. If you think it's unfair. Why not talk to a lawyer?

            you are arguing the fact that, intentionally mislead you. You need to understand the legal definition on misleading and how its effect your purchase. And here you saying you wouldn't buy it if you it was commercial development. Back to your 1. claim.

            Then their legal team will argue otherwise.

            •  

              @boomramada: ACCC explicitly states “It makes no difference whether the agent meant to mislead or deceive you—it is how you perceived the conduct that matters”.

              I believe using false sales and prices to set prices for another block of land and induce fomo is intentionally misleading. The REA knew those blocks were not for sale.

              Just wondering if I have anything substantitive to talk to a lawyer about.

  • +3 votes

    Won't they need permits for the commercial development; in which case; you could raise objections with council during the open period when they get input from the community.

    Also, in my view, it doesn't matter. What if you were the first purchaser and then two other people purchased the blocks next to you and started a commercial development on it.

    • -1 vote

      I think there are two separate issues.

      1. The commercial development which isn’t the agent’s fault ONLY if he did not know about it ever.

      2. The misleading claims about nearby blocks selling quick when they were never even for sale to artificially induce FOMO.

      I’m asking more about the second problem and what can be done.
      Obviously commercial development I can’t do a lot about it except object.

  • +2 votes

    Lawyer here. Stop posting on OzB and go see a lawyer. By the sounds of it you can sue the RE agent for breach of the ACL but the query will be what loss you actually have incurred. Maybe that loss won't crystallize until if/when a commercial warehouse pops up next to you.

  • +1 vote

    How could you buy land without knowing or inquiring about the zoning of said land ?

    •  

      It’s a township zone.

      There are two separate issues.

      1. The commercial development which isn’t the agent’s fault ONLY if he did not know about it ever.

      2. The misleading claims about nearby blocks selling quick when they were never even for sale to artificially induce FOMO by the REA.

      I’m asking more about the second problem and what can be done.
      Obviously commercial development I can’t do a lot about it except object.

  • +2 votes

    Before buying the land a prudent person would have investigated what the land was zoned for. If it is zoned commercial, your bad.

    •  

      It’s not commercial.

      I think there are two separate issues.

      1. The commercial development which isn’t the agent’s fault ONLY if he did not know about it ever.

      2. The misleading claims about nearby blocks selling quick when they were never even for sale to artificially induce FOMO.

      I’m asking more about the second problem and what can be done.
      Obviously commercial development I can’t do a lot about it except object.

  • -1 vote

    Read up on Section 32.

    •  

      My REA told not to open and read S32 before settlement otherwise it would bring bad luck.

      •  

        What’s section 32 got to do with falsifying sales data to influence nearby sale of land?

      •  

        Thats not true, its fine if you read it in reverse using a cracked mirror.

        Note: do not crack a mirror for this purpose, as that will also bring bad luck.

  • +1 vote

    Caveat emptor doesn't even apply to property you did not purchase.

    In this case, the sale of the adjacent property is not part of your S32 and the sale of your property is not conditional to information provided/ommited re adjacent land.

    You're chasing shadows.

    •  

      I disagree, the agent did not truthfully disclose facts material to the property.

      Sales of land adjacent to the block is completely material. They even made up false sale prices to influence the price of the block they were selling.

      Information falsely provided is directly material as sales of nearby land is used to infer demand and price range.

      • +3 votes

        Of course the agent did not truthfully disclose anything. It would be the exception if the agent is honest.

        What you feel is material is immaterial. You are given a settlement period to do your due diligence.

        The agent will do whatever it is to get the best sale price. Ultimately, the sale price is whatever a buyer is willing to pay as no one is forcing a sale.

        I'm in no way saying the agent is honest. You're just gullible and didn't do your due diligence. A very expensive combination.

        •  

          The problem is the he did disclose something and that was a complete lie that influenced the sale.

          Information of adjacent sales data and price has a very high material effect on the block in question. These kind of data is what professionals use for valuations, median prices, and auction reserve bids and determine supply and demand.

          The settlement period has very little relevance to being lied to, it does not mean REAs can make up false information and expect you to pick up on it.

          • +1 vote

            @DisabledUser320343:

            Information of adjacent sales data and price has a very high material effect on the block in question. These kind of data is what professionals use for valuations, median prices, and auction reserve bids and determine supply and demand.

            No one here has disputed this. Not a single comment. You may think some of us are implying it isn't so, but that's merely your inference - the value of the land is based on the value of its surroundings. No dispute.

            However…

            The price a buyer pays is based on what can be negotiated.

            In this case, you are fed a whole lot of confetti and your negotiations were based on a good story.

            REAs can make up false information and expect you to pick up on it.

            They shouldn't but they they all do.

            ALL

            That's why you have to do your due diligence before negotiations and again during the settlement period.

            •  

              @tshow: Never heard of any other REA making up false sales data and prices.

              You can’t expect your REA to lie to your face like this. There’s really no other way to find out what the other land under contract price was, you assume the agent is not lying.

  • +1 vote

    Usually, the contract and other marketing material will have statements to the effect of you only relying on the contract and section 32 to make your purchasing decision and that any statements or representations by the real estate agent and their representatives do not count.

    •  

      Not sure how legally binding that would be because ACCC says otherwise.

      If that were true than REA can make up any lies to get a sale through and inflate prices.

  • +4 votes

    The agent is not required to tell the OP who owns the other pieces of land.
    The agent is not required to tell the OP what the plans are for the pieces of land.
    There are no damages that the OP can claim because there are no measurable damages.

    The only damage is imagined and inside the OP's mind.

    Sure the agent was dishonest, OP…how many agents do you hear say come quick there's been no demand for this property ?

    •  

      That’s incorrect, the agent has a legal duty to disclose material facts pertaining to the property.

      The agent legally is not supposed make falsifying claims about information that is used to infer demand and price of the relevant property. He set fake prices and claimed those lands next to me were sold instantly, and used those fake prices to set the price of the actual property.

      Which regulatory body of REA can I report this agent to?

      • +3 votes

        And he has, the size, any covenants, the annual costs (council rates) etc.

        Next you'll be asking for a criminal check of all your new neighbours and a signed assurance that they are using environmentally friendly detergents.

        The agent legally is not supposed make falsifying claims about information that is used to infer demand and price of the relevant property.

        If the REA were to strike off every member that embellished the demand on a property they'd be insolvent for lack of members.

        •  

          But he has made up false information that is material to the property in question. It’s not embellishing anything. It is entirely fabricating sales data and sales prices.

          Information of adjacent sales data and price has a very high material effect on the block in question. These kind of data is what professionals use for valuations, median prices, and auction reserve bids.

          Embellishing and making up entirely false information to influence sales is completely different.

          I suggest you look up what material means and what ACCC says about “It makes no difference whether the agent meant to mislead or deceive you—it is how you perceived the conduct that matters.””.

          It is how I perceive the conduct that matters.

          • +1 vote

            @DisabledUser320343:

            It is entirely fabricating sales data and sales prices.

            He has provided you with neither data nor sales figures.

            Information of adjacent sales data and price has a very high material effect on the block in question

            I see…if it was so important to you why didn't you look up how much it sold for and when? You CBF finding out because it was irrelevant.

            These kind of data is what professionals use for valuations, median prices, and auction reserve bids.

            Yes….and none of these applied to you.

            I suggest you look up what material means and what ACCC says about “It makes no difference whether the agent meant to mislead or deceive you—it is how you perceived the conduct that matters.””.

            I'm really trying not to be abusive and you are making it hard.

            If the 2 adjacent properties were to have been built into 2 other houses, you would have not even cared about the 'deception'.
            The 'deception' here has had zero impact on you, you bought not because of the fact that it was in demand, you bought because you wanted the location.

            It is how I perceive the conduct that matters.

            Thankfully, other continue to embrace reality.

            •  

              @tsunamisurfer:

              He has provided you with neither data nor sales figures

              Except he did. Claimed they were sold and provided the price which was used for the purchase of our land.

              I see…if it was so important to you why didn't you look up how much it sold for and when? You CBF finding out because it was irrelevant

              What do you mean look it up? The REA told me what price it sold for, that’s what looking up is.

              How can I look up prices of properties under contract another way?

              Yes….and none of these applied to you

              Except it was used to set the price for the other block by the REA.

              If the 2 adjacent properties were to have been built into 2 other houses, you would have not even cared about the 'deception'.
              The 'deception' here has had zero impact on you, you bought not because of the fact that it was in demand, you bought because you wanted the location

              I don’t think you get the point. It really doesn’t matter if I care or not. The act in itself should not be condoned and is for sure in breach of Laws outlined by ACCC. I can use your argument to say failed attempted murder has no impact on me, the action is what matters here.

              Thankfully, other continue to embrace reality

              Thankfully for me it really doesn’t matter what you embrace as explicitly stated by ACCC

    • +2 votes

      There are no damages that the OP can claim because there are no measurable damages.

      Absolutely.

      •  

        And I’m asking where I can report this professional misconduct to the relevant authority body for REAs.

        •  

          Get a lawyer - reporting professional misconduct provides no benefit to you and won't solve any sort of case you think you have with your land purchase.

  • +1 vote

    If the agent said, in writing, that there won't be any commercial development next door OR if you did ask him that question and he responded, in writing, that there won't be any commercial development next to your block, then I believe you have a strong case of being misled.

    Absence of that, it's a failure in due diligence process on your part.

    I sympathize with your conundrum situation but you should never haste in purchasing big stuff such as this.

    • +1 vote

      Even that, if land is zoned commercial or semi commercial. Not a chance.

    •  

      As I said the problem is not that it’s being commercially developed, that’s a separate issue as the REA is denying knowledge.

      The issue is that he fabricated false sales data and price to influence our purchase and purchase price.

      He said in writing that he did so.

      There’s not much to be said about due diligence when the REA supposedly selling the blocks are saying they have sold and at this price. You don’t assume that he was never even available for sale.

  •  

    Unless you got your story in writing directly from the agent you cant do anything….or some sort of solid proof

    The owners of the blocks can do whatever they want.

    You did get shafted and i feel for you because the real estate industry is poorly regulated and super corrupt blame the government to much focus on honest landlords not on dodgy developers and agents

    But the law isnt likely to be on your side my friend

  •  

    It's 2019, not 2017. Ain't no block is selling fast. That should have been your first red flag.

  • +1 vote

    As i have said before, Real Estate agents are the scum of the earth now. They make carsalesman look like angels.

    •  

      Yup and you should assume that if a Real Estate Agent's mouth is moving, there is a high probability they are talking shit!

  • +2 votes

    Lawyer has advised to remove this post. Admins please remove post thank you.

    Incoming post - didn't win case, lawyer wants me to pay.

  • -1 vote

    Were you wearing a t-shirt or hat with the word sucker written on it?

  •  

    You should assume everything that comes out of a real estate agents mouth is a lie. Due diligence is important on any expensive purchase, least you learnt a very valuable lesson.

  •  

    How did you not know it was zoned for commercial?

  •  

    Have some pity, people, OP is disabled.

  • The OP has disabled their account, comments are therefore closed.

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