Australian Real Estate: The Dark Underbelly Unveiled

Australian Real Estate: The Dark Underbelly Unveiled

Part 1: Shining a Light on Questionable Practices

Australian real estate has always been an attractive market for both local and international investors. However, beneath the surface of this seemingly flourishing industry, there exists a dark underbelly that often goes unnoticed. In this article, we will explore some of the questionable practices that plague the Australian real estate sector, including overquoting, excessive vendor paid advertising and more to come in this series.

Overquoting to Win a Listing

Overquoting is a deceptive tactic employed by some real estate agents to entice home sellers into listing their properties with them. This practice involves quoting an inflated and unrealistic price to attract the seller’s attention, only to lower the price after the property is listed. Unfortunately, many home sellers in Australia have fallen victim to this trap, unaware of the negative consequences that can arise from overquoting.

False Expectations

When an agent overquotes the value of a property, it sets unrealistic expectations for the seller. The seller may believe that their property is worth more than its actual market value, which can lead to disappointment and frustration when potential buyers show little interest or make low offers. Consequently, this can result in a prolonged selling process and even cause the property to stagnate on the market.

Loss of Credibility

Overquoting can severely damage the credibility of both the agent and the seller. Listing a property at an inflated price and then repeatedly reducing it sends a signal to potential buyers that the seller and the agent are not trustworthy or serious about selling. This lack of credibility can deter genuine buyers from considering the property, further prolonging the selling process.

Wasted Time and Resources

Overquoting can waste valuable time and resources for both the seller and the agent. Preparing a property for sale requires considerable effort, time, and money, including staging, marketing, and inspections. If the property does not sell due to overquoting, these resources can go to waste, resulting in unnecessary expenses and delays in the selling process.

Missed Opportunities

Pricing a property too high due to overquoting can lead to missed opportunities for home sellers. When a property is priced beyond its market value, it may fail to attract potential buyers who are searching within their budget. As a result, the property may not receive as much exposure and interest as it deserves, and the seller may miss out on potential offers or competing bids.

Lower Sale Price

Ultimately, overquoting can result in a lower sale price for the property. When a property is overpriced, it may stay on the market for an extended period, leading to price reductions and potentially selling below its actual market value. This can cause a financial loss for the seller and defeat the purpose of selling the property in the first place.

Financial Hardship

In some cases, overquoting can create financial hardship for home sellers. When sellers anticipate cashing in on a particular sale price and make plans based on that belief, a shortfall in the realized sale price can lead to financial difficulties. These unexpected financial challenges can negatively impact the seller’s ability to proceed with purchasing a new property.

The Drawbacks of Excessive Vendor Paid Advertising

In the pursuit of selling properties quickly, real estate agents often persuade sellers to invest heavily in vendor paid advertising. While advertising is undoubtedly essential for reaching a wide audience, excessive spending on marketing campaigns can burden sellers. Agents may push for expensive advertising packages, claiming they are necessary to achieve optimal results. However, this practice can lead to inflated costs for sellers without guaranteeing an improved sale outcome. Unfortunately, excessive spending on advertising often promotes more awareness of the agent and the agency rather than the property itself.

What Is Waste and What Is Needed?

When an agent claims to have potential buyers for a seller’s home, it is crucial to question the necessity of additional advertising. Sellers should ask, “Why do I need to advertise if there are already interested buyers?” It is essential to discern between genuine marketing needs and potential waste of resources. A reputable agent will be transparent about their advertising strategy and provide clear explanations for the benefits it can bring to the selling process.


The Australian real estate market, while flourishing, harbors a dark underbelly of questionable practices. Overquoting and excessive vendor paid advertising are just two examples of the challenges faced by home sellers. Understanding these issues is crucial for both sellers and buyers to navigate the real estate landscape more effectively. By shedding light on these practices, we hope to empower individuals to make informed decisions when engaging in real estate transactions.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is overquoting illegal in Australian real estate? No, overquoting itself is not illegal, but it is considered an unethical practice.
  2. How can home sellers protect themselves from overquoting? Home sellers can consult multiple agents to obtain independent property valuations and compare them to assess the accuracy of the quotes received.
  3. Are there any regulations governing vendor paid advertising in Australia? Vendor paid advertising is not subject to specific regulations in Australia. However, sellers should carefully evaluate the necessity and potential benefits before investing in excessive advertising.
  4. Can overquoting lead to legal repercussions for agents? Overquoting may not result in legal repercussions unless it involves false or misleading conduct. However, it can harm an agent’s reputation and credibility.
  5. What should buyers do if they suspect overquoting? Buyers should conduct thorough research on comparable properties and seek professional advice to determine the fair market value before making offers.