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You be the judge…are Lawyers Real Estate breaking the law or not?

8 minute read

As a licensed real estate agent within the state of NSW, if I was to open a business as Greg Vincent Lawyers or Greg Vincent Solicitors, etc without the right accreditations in place then how long do you think I could remain conducting a legal practice?

Yet, Peter Mericka of Lawyers Real Estate has either found a loop hole in the Victorian agency licensing legislation or Lawyers Real Estate has simply been placed into the too hard basket and has been allowed to continue to practice under the business name Lawyers Real Estate for the past 4 – 5 years without having undertaken any formal real estate licensing… That’s right! 4 – 5 years without a real estate license.

Either way, judging by Peter Mericka’s statement within his video on Today Tonight below and a letter from Robert Guthrie of the NSW Fair Trading Property Services Licensing posted on the Australian Real Estate Blog it would appear that Lawyers Real Estate may be looking to expand their real estate operation into other areas and possibly interstate.

Now I don’t know if it’s simply because of the name of his business that the industry bodies are too scared to take Peter Mericka on or whether there is in fact a loophole within the current Victorian legislation which entitles him to legally continue to operate in this manner as Lawyers Real Estate?

But if there is a loophole, is this business model what agents can expect to see more of into the future?

As a licensed agent I have invested a lot of time and money to achieve my licence and remain licensed.

I continue to pay annual renewal fees and have to undertake ongoing training to obtain the required CPD points required to continue to hold a real estate licence year after year. After watching the Today Tonight story about Lawyers Real Estate, I’m starting to wonder what on earth I’m paying the fees for.

I have to say that I agree with one thing that Peter says in the Today Tonight interview, “the people who matter are the real estate consumers”.

Which leads me to wondering if something did go sour with a transaction via Lawyers Real Estate would the consumer be protected by the Victorian Property Fund? Or is there a different fund that they can make a compensation claim through?

Listings appearing on realestate.com.au

And then there’s the issue about whether Lawyers Real Estate should be allowed to upload their listings onto realestate.com.au as they currently do.

Under the latest version of the General Terms and Conditions for Residential Subscriptions to www.realestate.com.au it clearly spells out who can upload onto their site…

2.1 You represent and warrant in respect of each property you list on our web site that:

(a) you are the holder of a current real estate agent’s licence in the State(s) or Territory to which your use of the Service relates;

(b) you have a signed authority to sell from the owner or vendor (such as an Agency Agreement or Authority to Sell); and

(c) you are authorised to make available the material uploaded or submitted to use the Service;

(d) you will not allow another real estate office in your real estate group to list the property using your subscription. Where a proprietor of a property authorises multiple real estate offices in your real estate group to list a property you acknowledge that:

(i) this does not entitle you to authorise any other person (including, without limitation, any associated offices in your real estate group) to make use of the one subscription; and
(ii) any such conduct is in breach of these Terms and Conditions; and

(e) you are providing the full range of agent services (as set out in our Private Listing Policy).

Whilst Lawyers Real Estate don’t appear to comply with this section of realestate.com.au’s T & C’s and their ability to continue to upload onto REA is up to the respective legal departments to sort out, one thing I noticed is that Lawyers Real Estate appears to have very little regard for wanting to comply with some of realestate.com.au’s AUP.

Under the realestate.com.au Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) – Residential, it would appear that REA don’t allow other website addresses to be promoted within the copy text of a property being advertised yet Lawyers Real Estate are currently including the URL www.SLOD.com.au within the body of the property text when uploading their listings which appears to be in breach of 4.1.6 the Misuse of fields.

Here’s a screen capture…http://screencast.com/t/YmU2ZTQwNTg

Misuse of fields
4.1.6. Placing irrelevant information in an information, description or picture field. You must only use the information, description or picture fields for inserting information that is intended for those fields. For example, inserting the name or contact details of your business or agency in the description header or property description field is not acceptable. Inserting a business or agency logo as a picture in a property listing is also not acceptable.  For copyright purposes, small watermarks are permissible on images, but only in one corner of the image. Superimposed wording or text is not permissible.

The SLOD.com.au URL provides a link to Lawyers Real Estate online service for bidding, making enquiries and booking inspections, etc. If the URL is allowed to continue to appear on Lawyers Real Estate’s listings under the legal interpretation of Clause 4.1.6 or other parts of the realestate.com.au AUP, it could then open the door for agents to feature website URL’s within the property text field.

What about Privacy Laws?

On top of that, uploading the seller’s contact phone number onto a public site like realestate.com.au is not only in breach of 4.1.24.2 in REA’s AUP but wouldn’t that also breach other Privacy Laws?

Here’s a screen capture…http://screencast.com/t/NTczN2ZiOT

Note: For privacy reasons I have covered the seller’s name & contact number.

Other inappropriate content
4.1.24. Using the Service for any unlawful, illegal, malicious or improper purpose. For example: it is not acceptable to, in your use of the Service, display material that:

4.1.24.1. may defame or discredit another person or business;

4.1.24.2. may disclose private, personal or confidential information;

4.1.24.3. might be considered obscene, offensive, menacing or abusive;

4.1.24.4. might infringe the intellectual property rights of others;

4.1.24.5. may violate any law, regulation, standard, content requirements or code promulgated by any relevant authority or industry body.

I’m sure Peter Mericka of Lawyers Real Estate will be able to shed some light on how this is legally OK?

I’d also be interested to know if clients sign an agency agreement when they list with Lawyers Real Estate and whether the lawyers have signed an inspection report and included opinions of price on the property or do they simply rely on an independent valuer to assess the price for their clients.

And if so, is the registered valuation an added cost or is it included in their flat fee?

If Lawyers Real Estate has indeed found a loophole and they are allowed to continue without the normal licensing that a real estate agent has to have then as I mentioned earlier, it could open a huge can of worms and we could see a lot more lawyers opening up real estate agencies.

If this is allowed to continue then agents should really start to question why we are paying annual licensing fees to the government departments if they won’t police and legislate the licensing of the industry more effectively.

Plus, I’d be really interested to know how Lawyers Real Estate got to be on realestate.com.au in the first place?

Finally, I don’t have an issue with the discount commission model that Lawyers Real Estate are using because discount real estate agencies have been around for years and are now a dime a dozen, but it does concern me that some consumers may feel that going to a Lawyer to sell their property is going to mean that they feel protected and that they are going to get the best deal.

For example, here is a video of what some of Lawyers Real Estate clients have said…

If you’re considering employing a lawyer (either with or without a real estate licence) to sell your property then it’s important to remember that in the end they are in business and they will expect to get paid a commission.

And just because the negotiations are done by a lawyer doesn’t guarantee that it will always turn out to be the best thing for their client. Many legal deals end up being negotiated on the steps of court rooms and it’s not always the case that a Lawyer’s client walks away 100% happy with the end result.

Consumers still need to do their due diligence because in the legal profession, as per the real estate profession, some people get good representation and others get poor representation.

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251 Comments

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 9:49 am 0Likes

    Whether it was the cuts to video but Enzo did not come across as very professional. Maybe it is a case that they do not want to lose.

    I have said this many times before. Agents of the future need to clearly be able to demonstrate to vendors why they should be hired, unquantifiable statements such as we could get more of a sale price for vendors means nothing and can never be proved or disproved.

    One day someone will do this properly and I fear for the livelihoods of many middle of the road agents. One thing that is troubling to me are rumours of the Real Estate Institutes trying to legislate further to make it harder for private sellers – this kind of behavior will surely backfire!

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 10:09 am 0Likes

    As an agent this type of business does not offend nor annoy me as the guy is having a go as it would appear that his legal practice failed miserably. What you pay for is what you get – and at $4,400 I would think your not getting much.

    I was explaining our fee to a vendor yesterday and said the fee is the based on the value of the agent to you – what I charge is what I believe is my value to you. At the end of the day if you don’t agree we can discuss it further.

    If his business is that successful one would think that he would be well advised to spend some money on his website – which is very basic.

    I bet there would be more lawyers laughing at this business model as I assume very few wanted him to appear on their behalf in court – so why would you want him to represent you with the sale of your home?

    What you pay for is what you get! and $4,400.00 says a lot about ability as that is what he values his ability and services at 🙂

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 10:37 am 0Likes

    Hi Greg,

    Thank you for opening discussion about the role of lawyers in the real estate industry. Unfortunately, you have not been fair to your readers as you have raised a number of questions in a rhetorical manner rather than being informative or seekiing information.

    Anyone who is truly an expert in the real estate industry, and has a fundamental knowledge of the laws and legal issues you have raised can quickly answer each of your questions.

    It’s pointless to simply “put the frighteners on” readers without providing them with all of the facts or the obvious counter-arguments.

    There are plenty of real estate agents who are waiting to adopt the Lawyers Real Estate concept because they can see that it is the “…new direction in real estate” (our tagline). Perhaps you could ask some of them why they’re waiting in line.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 11:08 am 0Likes

    Totally agree Peter. To remain relevant agents have to provide real value for money.

    Robert, whilst I don’t see that a lot of Lawyers are going to want to run out and start selling real estate any time soon, I’ve never looked at the lawyers in my area as potential competitors before.

    Hypothetically let’s imagine for a moment that all the Lawyers in Mosman, Cremorne & Neutral Bay decide tomorrow, without an agency licence that they will create a One Stop Shop style agency like Lawyers Real Estate.

    From searching on http://lawyerlist.com.au, that’s 24 more competitors that would be competing in your marketplace and IF there is an agency licensing loophole, then they could become your competitors overnight.

  • Marko
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 11:14 am 0Likes

    I love the concept… it gives consumers a choice, something they are screaming about.

    What are real estate agents accredited to do by the way?

    Define representation while your at it Greg…

    Cheers,

    Marko

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 11:26 am 0Likes

    Greg,

    I certainly don’t and never fear competition – I encourage it. I actually was just chatting with a “successful” local lawyer and posed these very questions to him and he laughed stating he had no interest in becoming an agent. he then said many had left the legal profession to become agents and non had been successful and now moved on to other professions.

    He did make an interesting point that when lawyers fees were deregulated they dropped their pants so fast it was a debacle to the point of embarrassment. On the other hand when real estate agents had their fees deregulated they actually put their fees up. He said that with the benefit of hindsight the agents out negotiated the lawyers easily as the agents backed their ability and lawyers backed their inability.

    As for taking up a franchise he laughed and said he was too busy running a successful legal practice – another clue?

  • Enzo Raimondo
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 12:05 pm 0Likes

    Peter,

    Yes, there has been considerable editing of the interview, but that’s not uncommon for progams such as Today Tonight or A Current Affair, especially when they cover a story related to real estate.

    The issue here is really very simple it has nothing to do with private sellers. In Victoria the Estate agents Act s12 requires any person dealing in real estate and charging a fee for their service to be licenced. The Government sets these requirements not the Institutes,our concern is that irrespective of Mr Mericka’s legal qualifications he is not licenced to deal in Real Estate. Therfore we are asking the State Government to either enforce their licencing regime or change it.

    Mr Mericka is relying on s5.2 which states a licence is not required by “any australian legal practitioner for the purpose only of carrying out the ordinary functions of an Australian legal practitioner”. This is clearly not the case his office “Lawyers Real Estate, Fixed Fee Real Estate Sales” conducts the business of an Estate Agent.

    So the question is, should he be allowed to continue to trade as unlicenced real estate agent, while others have been prosecuted or should he be required to undertake the training required by legislation.

    Peter not sure what rumors you have heard, we accept that there are private sellers who wish to sell their homes and I certainly don’t have an issue with this, it is their choice, perhaps you can share your information.

    Regards

    Enzo Raimondo

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 12:14 pm 0Likes

    Hi Enzo, the first cut did look a little crude, however I think your choice of words made you sound a little harsh and would only embolden people looking to sell privately. It made him come off like the good guy and you the evil stepmother (a little)

    As for rumors. I have heard that there has been a fair bit of government lobbying to make it tougher for people to sell privately. I think this would be a huge mistake if it were true.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 12:29 pm 0Likes

    Hi Enzo,

    First, let me point out that I am more qualified and experienced than you are in the law and in the sale of real estate. I also have a greater knowledge of the Estate Agents Act 1980 and the Legal Profession Act 2004 than you do, and so I feel that I am better qualified than you are to comment on the legal status of Lawyers Real Estate and its operations.

    Enzo, neither you nor Consumer Affairs Victoria have had any success in distilling the “functions of an estate agent” from the “functions of an Australian Legal Practitioner”. You will find that both of the above Acts are silent as to “functions”.

    As I have said time and time again, every function you may care to nominate as a “function of the estate agent” is first and foremost the function of the lawyer. If you remove all of the lawyer’s functions from what a real estate agent does, you are left with functions that belong to no-one in particular, such as uploading listings, placing newspaper ads and answering the phone.

    Enzo, I don’t know if you simply don

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 12:31 pm 0Likes

    …sorry, the last part of the above comment was truncated. Here it is:

    Your lawyers is scooped up by Section 4 of the Act as an

  • Craig
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 12:48 pm 0Likes

    Are agents so concerned that lawyers may be encroaching on their turf or is the real issue that agents don’t like Peter because he highlights what he see’s as shonky behaviour within the industry? Rather than fighting a fruitless war of trying to get to stop practicing, which won’t shut him up anyway, why not try and prove him wrong about the shonky agents.

  • shane
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 1:55 pm 0Likes

    Peter M, you make a comment about private sellers engaging solicitors (or conveyancors) to complete a private sale…..in all my time being involved in assisting a private sale to an actual sale (at no cost to the seller or buyer – Yes, some agents will do this!), never once did a solicitor get involved to negotiate the sale price. Sorry I dont agree with that part of your case.

    As an agent I have no fear of private sellers or the introduction of legal real estate firms in Queensland…In most instances, their negotiation skills are’nt up to that of a skilled real estate agent…..as correctly highlighted by Robert.
    Queensland Agent

  • Jeroen
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 2:31 pm 0Likes

    Peter, I disagree with your suggestion that “If you remove all of the lawyer

  • Bob
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 2:55 pm 0Likes

    I think it is worth noting, that under the Property Stock and Business Agents Act 2002 here in NSW – the definition of an agent” means:

    a real estate agent, or
    a stock and station agent, or
    a business agent, or
    a strata managing agent, or
    a community managing agent, or
    an on-site residential property manager.

    ( but not for a lawyer)

    Further to this – Under the Victorian Legal Professions Act, terms relating to legal practitioners and lawyers are an Australian lawyer a local lawyer an interstate lawyer.

    (but nothing – for estate agent or agent)

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 3:21 pm 0Likes

    So Peter, when you say “I do not operate as an estate agent at all, licensed or unlicensed” isn’t that in breach of 2.1 (a) of the latest version of the General Terms and Conditions for Residential Subscriptions to http://www.realestate.com.au?

    So let me get this right, Peter. You want the right to use the marketing tools that are only made available to licensed real estate agents but yet you don’t want to become a licensed agent.

    I’m not sure if you’re aware but with the new National Licensing Laws you can now go out and become licensed within a matter of days. (which is another contentious issue).

    Craig, I have no issue with people who want to improve our industry and reveal any shonky behaviour that goes on. In fact I applaud it.

    There are lots & lots of real estate agents who go out into the field every day with the purpose of helping and protecting consumers from the rotten apples. I applaud them too.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 3:29 pm 0Likes

    Hi Jeroen,

    You said, that estate agents “They use their industry expertise and databases to source potential buyers and use them to negotiate the highest price for the property.”

    Please don’t mistake estate agent cliches for functions.

    What we’re discussing here is a “function” in the sense that only a real estate agent is qualified to perform that function, to the exclusion of lawyers.

    Whether or not particular services etc. are offered by one or the other is irrelevant.

    Can you think of a single important “function” that the real estate agent performs, and which a lawyer cannot also perform? For example, real estate agents often prepare contracts – is this an estate agent function that a lawyer is not legally entitled to perform?

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 3:39 pm 0Likes

    Hi Greg,

    The relationship between Lawyers Real Estate and realestate.com.au is really none of your business. It seems that you’re taking the approach that if Lawyers Real Estate can legitimately sell real estate, then perhaps you can agitate to choke of its access to services.

    I realise that you have a business interest in thwarting Lawyers Real Estate, as does the REIV, but you should not disguise this interest as a quest for justice.

    If all you’re about is stopping Lawyers Real Estate, then be honest enough to say so. This is exactly what Enzo Raimondo said on national TV. He made no request for investigations in the operations of Lawyers Real Estate, he simply said “Mericka…needs to be stopped.”

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 3:59 pm 0Likes

    For an example of an estate agent function that Lawyers Real Estate does NOT peform (and never will), just listen to this estate agent teaching other real estate agents how to “pick the pocket” (this is the term he uses) of their clients: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onOnVaymDEQ&feature=player_embedded

    According to this estate agent, a vendor can easily sell their property without using an estate agent, but if they want the “best price” they need to give an estate agent lots of “seller paid advertising” dollars.

  • David Willis
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 4:12 pm 0Likes

    Peter, you and I have had many debates on varying issues; one thing I would like clarified (which you have always avoided, despite numerous attempts for me to crack the egg) is this; why can Licensed Settlement Agents operate in WA and yet they are precluded from operating in any other state or territory in Australia? A Licensed Settlement Agent can write a Contract for a FSBO, have all reports organised and presented to both parties, do do Shire approval checks and Council rate checks, attend and finalise the Settlement for as little as $1,000. These Settlement Agents are Licensed thru the Settlement Agents Supervisory Board of WA, which is controlled by the Department of Fair Trading. I feel that with you charging (some) $4,400, you’re the one who’s making a motza here (at the cost of the seller), providing no real point of difference that consumers in WA already have access to for 1/4 of the cost.

    Like Greg Vincent, I studied long and hard, way into the night, away from my family to obtain my Triennial License, educate myself in the art of negotiating, closing skills and how to handle all manner of buyer and seller issues; you come in, hang a shingle on the door and want to have it both ways my friend.

    Just this morning I had a call from one of my sellers saying a buyer had knocked on the door. She told them “call David and he’ll show you thru. Her comments warmed my heart; “David, I know the house, but you know which questions to ask”. Ahh yes, gotta love those calls, genuine appreciation for learned and refined skills of a good agent.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 4:23 pm 0Likes

    Peter, I thought I’d made it clear enough…

    If you want to play in the real estate game and if you really want to help save consumers, why don’t you go and get your real estate license? And then use the services like realestate.com.au within their Acceptable Use Policy? Or is that too much to ask?

    Or maybe it’s just that after all that you have said over the years about real estate agents that you couldn’t possibly bear to become known as one of us?

    PS: As far as having a business interest in thwarting Lawyers Real Estate I think you are sadly mistaken. You can have thousands of branches throughout the country and Lawyers Real Estate won’t have any bearing on the success of my business. In fact, if your company were to grow dramatically then it will probably have the opposite effect and dramatically increase my business.

  • Jeroen
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 4:32 pm 0Likes

    Hi Peter,

    Thanks for not answering my question. If I was to use a cliche I would say, Answered like a real lawyer.

    You are placing every agent in the same pool and personally I think agents like Robert and others who provide a valuable service to their vendors could take offence to your generalization.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 4:51 pm 0Likes

    Jeroen,

    I take no offence as in my demographic market Peter’s model would never see the light of day. From my brief observations of his business model it reminds me of the budget airline model where as I said earlier What you pay for is what you get

    I’m sure if he could he would charge more – however $4,400 per transaction is the value he puts on his services! The model can’t grow its fee structure as they have already set their fee functionality.

    We factor in performance based fees and they work fine for us. Although I notice little reference to performance being used on his website.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 4:59 pm 0Likes

    Hi Greg,

    Let me be quite clear – I don’t play “the real estate game” as you call it.
    Rather, I provde a comprehensive real estate sales service for my clients for a fixed fee.

    I don’t require an estate agent’s licence to provide these legal services.

    Why do you have such a problem with that?

  • Educator
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 5:14 pm 0Likes

    Dear Peter,

    Since you chose not to post my comment on your blog – I thought to post it here instead, if you remember, I raised a very valid point in respect to one stop shops. I mentioned, they would only be an alternative method of servicing the public and it does not follow that their introduction in Australia would necessarily improve the real estate system or the conveyancing system for that matter.

    Peter, I don’t think you should be making threats in relation to the delivery of real estate services, when no such authority has endorsed your model.
    I also feel that it is “utterly wrong” of you to assume, that no further educational requirements are needed to be fulfilled because of your law degree.

    Enough is said!!

  • Andrew Blaxland
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 5:18 pm 0Likes

    I’m loving this, my money is on Simeon!

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 6:01 pm 0Likes

    Andrew, I’d like to back a trifecta.

    Firstly, my money is on ‘More red-tape and bureaucratic garbage for real estate agents and lawyers to wade through’ just because lawyer, Peter Mericka says that he wants to “provde a comprehensive real estate sales service for my clients for a fixed fee”.

    Secondly, I believe that the legislation will be looked at, lawyers will battle it out and the whole thing will waste a bucket-load of tax payer money.

    Thirdly, Robert’s business will continue to thrive. 🙂

  • Marko
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 7:13 pm 0Likes

    Back to my questions…

    What are real estate agents accredited to do?

    And how do real estate agents provide representation when the proverbial hits the fan?

    I’m confused. Can comeone enlighten me.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 7:43 pm 0Likes

    Peter, thanks for sharing this article on your Facebook Page. I had to laugh when I just saw your comment. “Lawyers Real Estate has stirred up so much excitement that we’re being mentioned everywhere.”

    http://www.facebook.com/LawyersRealEstate?ref=ts

    Wow!!! From what I can see, Facebook normally call them Fan Pages but after reading just some of the posts and comments it doesn’t look like you’ve stirred up excitement Peter, it looks more like you’ve stirred up a hornets nest. Good luck with that.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 9:15 pm 0Likes

    Peter, I’m pleased to see that you’ve decided to comply with realestate.com.au’s Acceptable Use Policy by removing the sellers name & contact details and by removing the http://www.SLOD.com.au reference within your listings.

    http://screencast.com/t/NDcyZDk5O

    2 out of 3 isn’t bad progress for one day. Now it’s just the issue of Section 2.1 (a) that needs to be addressed to comply with REA’s T & C’s.

    It will be interesting to see how much your traffic drops off to the SLOD.com.au site and how many extra calls your team will now have to personally deal with.

    Any chance you’d like to share how long you’ve been getting away with that for?

    Unfortunately, Peter you’ll find that handling enquiries & scheduling inspections can be really time consuming. You might have to put on more staff to deal with the extra workload? You might even have to consider putting up your agents commission to cope with the extra operating costs.

    Welcome to the first section of the level playing field.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 10:08 pm 0Likes

    I had the opportunity to discuss Peter’s business with him recently when he made an assumption that someone who disagreed with his point of view was a real estate agent. She wasn’t.

    The conversation kicked on and became very entertaining to say the least.. Suffice to say many of the same arguments I brought up then have also been brought up in this thread so far and a few that haven’t..

    I can actually see Lawyers real estate becoming a niche solution… but it will be very limited and it will gain very little real traction. I believe that the agents who will feel the most impact from his message will probably be the Jenman agents who also use the message of negativity in their marketing.

    As Robert mentioned, there is little about what they can do (and from the website that’s not really much) and its more about trying to accuse real estate agents as being corrupt and pick up the clients where that concept sticks.

    During that conversation Peter mentioned “I have demonstrated that Lawyers Real Estate can achieve better prices, in safer circumstances, than any real estate agent.”. Of course I challenged him on this in and as you could probably guess there was not one single fact to support the claim and in the end he admitted he could not prove it. The claim was as empty as were his accusations claiming the real estate industry was corrupt.

    I asked What is the percentage of residential property sale transactions that corruption is involved? No Answer!

    I also asked what percentage of trust accounts have had breaches occurred for lawyers trust accounts in comparison to real estate trust accounts? This time I got an answer…. “You’re equating individual criminality with systemic corruption. Sure, there are lawyers who steal from trust accounts – that’s individual criminality. But there are also lawyers who support real estate agents who illegally provide legal advice to unsuspecting consumers – that’s systemic corruption.”

    So when a solicitor does it its just a corrupt individual and does not taint the industry yet with real estate agents even when they work with a lawyer its just evidence of systematic corruption that effects us all.

    Peter also brought out the old dummy bidding furphy that according to Peter is …”long supported by the entire real estate industry”… Guess what. no facts to back that up either even though well under 10% of all properties sold in Australia are by Auction and even in the two top markets Sydney and Melbourne the Auction rates are only 20 and 30% respectively. Outside of those two cities Auctions are just not that popular.

    Peter likes to state his opinions as facts and he certainly likes asking questions not answering them so the conversation does not strip his own arguments bare.

    Australians in general see though fear tactics and negative marketing. I suggested to Peter that he concentrate on his own value proposition rather than blaming it on the agents. It simply does not work because consumers are not fools. When offered choices they will choose the best option for themselves and Lawyers real estate will only ever be one of those choices…

    I dont think traditional real estate agents of Australia have any need for fear from this model. I even suggested that when the sale of all residential real estate by all lawyers (not just Lawyers Real Estate) reaches a market share of just a 0.5% I will shout him a beer. Till then.. the beers are mine 🙂

    I personally think there are far greater threats from within the industry than from the lawyers. Leave the conflict negotiation to the solicitors and the real estate sales negotiating to the real estate agents!!! There really is a difference.

  • David Meadowcroft
    Posted September 2, 2010 at 10:19 pm 0Likes

    Priceless! A lawyer who wants to become a Real Estate Agent – I doubt there are too many Real Estate Agents who dream of becoming lawyers.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 11:28 am 0Likes

    I must say, I never realised that my little firm would cause such upset among real estate agents. I note that when a new real estate franchise appears on the scene it’s like another hillbilly climbing into a bed packed with dozing buddies, but when a “stranger” arrives, everyone wakes up, diving for their shotguns.

    I have kicked open the door of your grubby little shack, and and I am shining light into all of the dark and dingy nooks. I have exposed the conflicts of interest, the secret commissions and kick-backs, the scams, the lies and the deceit. But best of all, I have demonstrated that there is a better way to sell real estate.

    I have generated anger, fear, loathing, panic and worry just by offering consumers something different. The only thing I have not generated from you all is cogent argument about the way real estate is sold, and the way it will be sold in the future.

    Your rhetoric and whinging is a gift to me. It indicates that my mere presence represents a threat that you cannot ignore. I see you all huddling together, reassuring each other that everything will be OK. You try to convince each other that consumers won’t go with the Lawyers Real Estate concept, “It won’t grow, it will fail, we won’t lose out to the discounters who try to follow Mericka.” You’re frightened – I can understand that. Greg Vincent worries that all of his study and CPD learning will go to waste. And who will want to attend his silly classes in the future?

    What you don’t realise is that I revel in all of the attention you’re giving me. It’s an acknowledgement that I am making a difference, and I am being noticed.

    Glen Vincent, thank you for putting so much time and effort into your posting. I have thoroughly enjoured it.

    For those of you who fear the arrival of Lawyers Real Estate and the changes it will bring to the industry, all I can add is BE AFRAID – BE VERY AFRAID!

    For any consumers who happen to read this – I am here for you, and you know where to find me.

    Cheers, Peter Mericka.

  • PaulD
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 11:32 am 0Likes

    Glenn, as usual an excellent summation. There seems to be some manic activity surrounding Mr Mericka. I guess another alternative, probably for bigger offices, is to employ a licensed conveyancer – goodbye Lawyers Real Estate.

  • PaulD
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 11:36 am 0Likes

    Peter, do you have your Prozac with ice or just straight ??

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 11:36 am 0Likes

    Paul, what would that do?

  • PaulD
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 11:43 am 0Likes

    You mean the Prozac , or the ice ??

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 11:47 am 0Likes

    Sorry Paul, you were too quick for me. I was asking about having a conveyancer employed by a real estate agent. I don’t know how that would assist either the conveyancer or the lawyer.

  • PaulD
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 11:49 am 0Likes

    Conveyancer or Lawyer ??

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 11:49 am 0Likes

    Paul, there’s no need for Pozac or ice. It’s just me being me. I posted that comment just to see a series of hysterical reactions pop up in response to it – guess I’m just feeling a bit playful on Friday.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 11:51 am 0Likes

    Sorry, it must be the effects of the Prozac (oops, didn’t mean to mention that). I meant to say I don’t know how if would assist either the conveyancer or the estate agent.

  • PaulD
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 11:57 am 0Likes

    ok, I guess that is a bit of fun, much like my Prozac thing. I doubt whether you will get too many hysterical responses, but there may be some people who take offence to some of the things you said, and I guess you would expect that. One thing I know (at least in NSW) is that there are more Lawyers in gaol than there are real estate agents. The other thing is that of the 9000 plus real estate agents in Australia, that probably 98% of them haven’t heard of you, and couldn’t care less anyway. So get on with whatever you intend to do regarding selling real estate and let the results speak for themselves.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 12:01 pm 0Likes

    Lawyers are easy to catch aren’t they. Real estate agents are much better at getting away with it. Is that what you were suggesting with that silly comment PaulD?

    Paul, I’ve been getting on with getting on, but you guys keep distracting me. How about you just ignore me. I’m sure Greg Vincent has more important things to do that to write nonsense pieces about a small law firm in Victoria that’s going nowhere and represents no threat to his industry.

    And yes, I must admit, I was being deliberately inflamatory with my remarks above, but it was all in fun – you know that.

  • David Willis
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 12:01 pm 0Likes

    Jeroen, you are right on the money there mate. Peter refuses to answer questions on a regular basis, IN FACT, I posted something on the LRE page yesterday morning and in the afternoon it had been deleted, so I re-posted it. I come in to the office this morning and lo; the post has been deleted AGAIN and I have been blocked from commenting or posting anything further on the LRE page and totally blocked from seeing his personal Facebook page at all! Peter, you’re a gutless “would be if you could be” real estate agent. If you was half good at running a legal practise, you would be, but now decide it’s better to be a wolf in sheeps clothing who is dining out on the fact that your a Lawyer (although a very ordinary and bitter one who suffers from little man syndrome!) As fas as fearing you? phaa!! You are no threat to me pal. We have Licensed Conveyancers in WA who do the job for a quarter of what you charge; I posted that on LRE wall yesterday and was promptly deleted and banned before anyone else saw it. I received a private message from a Mericka sympathiser yesterday, a very brain dead fellow who hasn’t since replied to my response. When challenged, these people retreat to their shells and clam up.

  • David Willis
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 12:09 pm 0Likes

    Here’s the message I received yesterday and my response;
    To give you a brief rundown, I had a seller remove a dishwasher from a house which he disclosed in writing will be staying after the sale.
    The full post is on my Facebook wall; http://www.facebook.com/david.willisremax

    Brett Jacques September 2 at 10:05am Report
    Hey after going through this recently .. I understand your dishwasher client’s frustration. Maybe not his actions or language but certainly his anguish which you fail to see. After paying a huge commission, failed promises and a way below bank value offer. This is most peoples blood sweat & tears and opportunity to move forward with little gain. .

    David Willis September 2 at 12:44pm Brett I don’t know who you are, you have failed on so many fronts.
    You don’t even have the decency to acknowledge my name; it’s David, not “hey”.

    You know nothing of the sale price,
    Nothing of the fee charge,
    Nothing of the services provided,
    Nothing of what any bank valuation may or may not have come in at and absolutely nothing about the background and what the seller disclosed.

    You’re also completely ignorant to WA property law (which I covered in detail), yet you dare send me a diatribe based on false perceptions and guesses of what you imagine transpired!!!!

    Before shooting “private” messages to people you don’t know, get your facts straight pal!! Oh and failed promises??? You obviously know more than I do, please enlighten me….

    Such is the small mindedness of agent haters jumping to conclusions.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 12:11 pm 0Likes

    Peter, is there any chance that you would like to share with us exactly how long you’ve been breaching realestate.com.au’s Acceptable Use Policy? As a lawyer I thought you’d have learnt to read the fine print.

    Interesting to see that you are predicting the demise of the real estate industry and then you go on to say “And who will want to attend his silly classes in the future?”…Well, I’m not sure if you’re aware Peter, but I teach online marketing, Social Media, etc so can I assume that you are now predicting the demise of the internet too?

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 12:25 pm 0Likes

    C’mon Greg, give us a smile. And wipe the venom off your lower lip, it’s unsightly.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 12:27 pm 0Likes

    David Willis, what an awful day you’ve had – hope it gets better for you. I find that watching old episodes of Seinfeld never fails to lift a gloomy mood.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 12:45 pm 0Likes

    Peter, I’m a smiling. In fact I’m laughing at how much time you’re spending avoiding answering the questions. 🙂

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 12:56 pm 0Likes

    I’m laughing with you Greg. And look, thanks again for the publicity. I would do the same for you and the courses you offer, but I do have an image to protect – you understand.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 1:34 pm 0Likes

    Peter,

    I take it that cross examination was not one of your strong points in your previous career? Let me offer you some advice that I tell new aspiring real estate agents;-

    Negotiate with your ears 🙂

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 1:42 pm 0Likes

    Thanks for that Simeon. Here’s one of my favourites: “When the sun sets over a saucer of milk, the cat shall sing to the cuckoo clock.” I think it was penned by another real estate agent who’s into cross examination. Feel free to use it when advising aspiring estate agents in the future. Greg, I’ll let you use it in your courses too – it’ll give you more credibility.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 1:48 pm 0Likes

    A fascinating insight into your world of cuckoo’s – are you sure there were not other mitigating circumstances that led to your third career move?

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 1:51 pm 0Likes

    Trouble with your plurals and possessives there Robert. Talk to Greg, I’m sure there an English component to his classes (if not, there should be – have to struggle through a lot of stuff written by estate agents, and it’s not easy).

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 1:53 pm 0Likes

    Look at the last set of comments on this thread – we’re a bitchy lot aren’t we.

  • Ryan O'Grady
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 2:51 pm 0Likes

    Questions need to be answered by REA. Every owner assisted/FSBO agency who uses REA is continually harrased by them to explain their business operations. Yet, REA have an arrangement in place where a business which provides a near identical service, is allowed to subscribe WITHOUT a real estate license.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 3:23 pm 0Likes

    Just when we’re having fun being silly on a silly posting, you had to go and spoil things Ryan, by getting serious. C’mon, it’s Friday. Replace the angry face with a smile.

  • David Willis
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 4:51 pm 0Likes

    I’m having a fantastic day actually Peter; there you go, more assumptions.
    Made an ass out of you, not me. I may be excluded from your “fanpage” Peter, but I still have friends there, lots of them and many that you would never have guessed, so enjoy blocking mate. My inbox and friend requests are on fire at the moment. Most congratulating me for standing up to your bullying and vindictiveness. Greg, I hear that the wheels of the Supreme Court of Victoria are starting to turn. Our Mr Mericka has an appointment for a Directional Hearing which is to do with him not having a licence to sell real estate. CAV have had enough, but to make things worse, he will have to answer to his unwarranted allegations of corruption against Bruce Atkinson, Enzo Ramondo and Dr Claire Noone of CAV – all unsubstantiated, I might add !!!
    Watch this space.

  • Bill Burdin
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 5:06 pm 0Likes

    Brilliant, a great way to end the week reading a very entertaining discussion. Congratulations to all.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 5:18 pm 0Likes

    Hi David,

    What a spin you have put on “the wheels of the Supreme Court of victoria” in your comment above. You make out as though it’s some revelation, coming courtesy of your own personal grapevine.

    I informed everyone on my blog at http://www.AustralianRealEstateBlog.com.au that I had succeeded in forcing the hand of Consumer Affairs Victoria, as they have corruptly avoided putting the matter before the courts for some years now. (Watch the videlo above, and you’ll hear me say that I had told them to “prosecute me as soon as possible” many years ago.)

    It was only when I accused them of corrupt conduct that they knew they had no choice.

    In the event that I am successful in demonstrating the lawyers are, and always have been, entitled to negotiate the sale of real estate, can I expect to receive a round of apologies from you, Greg and the rest of the crew?

  • David Willis
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 5:31 pm 0Likes

    Peter, in the event that you win, I will have no hesitation in jumping on the next plane out of Perth, flying over and kissing your feet mate.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 5:38 pm 0Likes

    I’ve got my shoes and socks off now David, and I’ll give you the directions to my office in due course.

  • Tatiana Mijalica
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 5:56 pm 0Likes

    LOL! Priceless! Thanks for a great FRI everyone!

  • Dylan Ansems
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 10:13 pm 0Likes

    Peter, obviously you love being the centre of attention, but honetsly it’s not very hard to get your license and then you would comply with the T&C’s of http://www.realestate.com.au (well most of them by the sound of your ads.) and also the REIV wouldn’t have any problem with you, so why not just get your license?
    As it stands you have no right to use realestate.com.au
    so go and find your buyers the same way private sellers do, but whatever you do, don’t put an ad in a newspaper because they don’t work according to your expertise and research (have you ever looked at the research conducted by the major newspapers to prove otherwise?)

    This will be the first and last time I waste anytime or enrgy on you, but the thread was just too funny not to add to it.

  • Dylan Ansems
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 10:19 pm 0Likes

    ps. Its getting late, sorry for the typo’s, just re-read it and my spelling was as bad as a lawyers lol

  • Kate Gall
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 11:24 pm 0Likes

    Peter, I am not sure who you think you are, but you are certainly not god. I don’t see a problem dealing with lawyers in real estate how ever if you wish to carry out a transaction and upload to realestate.com then just get your license. I would imgaine that lawyers are smart on paper so it should not be hard for you to get it.

    If you do need some help then feel free to give me a call and I will get my 5 year old to help you. He loves that sort of stuff.

    Good Luck
    Kate

  • Bob
    Posted September 3, 2010 at 11:58 pm 0Likes

    Hi Dave,

    By the sounds of it – the emperor has no clothes!!!

    “The Emperor needs some new clothes for his Directional Hearing” – however, looking back on this thread of comments, I think he will need more than just a set of new clothes to get himself out of this one.

    If he can’t convince us, what chance does he have of convincing a judge.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted September 4, 2010 at 2:18 am 0Likes

    Oh Peter, Peter, Peter! What were you saying earlier on? Wasn’t it something about that you “do have an image to protect.”???

    There I was thinking that you had removed the reference to http://www.SLOD.com.au from within your listings on realestate.com.au so that you would no longer be in breach of the Misuse of fields, Section
    4.1.6. of realestate.com.au’s Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) – Residential.

    I was impressed to see you making some progress so quickly by removing the reference from your current listings, but Peter you forgot about fixing up the Sold Properties.

    Haven’t you ever heard of attention to detail? I’d have thought that dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s was important for a lawyer, considering that you “have an image to protect”.

    I’m sure that you’ll be really pleased to know that there’s no need to share how long you’ve been breaching the AUP with me any more because I was able to find out for myself.

    I just had to look at your sold listings to find the answer. Thanks for that. (Finally I got an answer to one of my questions).

    On Wed 12th Nov 2008 Lawyers Real Estate uploaded a property as being sold at 32 Honeyeater Crescent, Taylors Lakes on realestate.com.au but back then you didn’t have a link to http://www.SLOD.com.au, instead back then the website address was http://www.eContracts.com.au.
    See the sold listing here…http://screencast.com/t/YjU2MmVkZj

    See http://www.eContracts.com.au here or a screen capture of it here http://screencast.com/t/MjQ5YTNhN

    The first reference I could see of http://www.SLOD.com.au appeared on the property you uploaded as being sold on Fri 16th April 2010 at 17 Bella Crescent, Hallam.
    See…http://screencast.com/t/ZjIwNGFk

    Prior to that sale, http://www.eContracts.com.au appears within all but 3 of Lawyers Real Estate sold properties featured on realestate.com.au & then http://www.SLOD.com.au appears in everyone of your sales after and including that sold property at 17 Bella Crescent, Hallam.

    Here’s a screen capture of just a few that you will need to remove the http://www.SLOD.com.au URL from http://screencast.com/t/YzA1YTcxN

    To save you some time Peter, I couldn’t see the http://www.eContracts.com.au reference within these 3 sold properties:-
    57 Calder Highway, Diggers Rest SOLD Thu 09-Jul-09
    99 Valentine Street, Ivanhoe SOLD Tue 21-Apr-09
    17 Oxley Way, Endeavour Hills SOLD Mon 23-Mar-09

    For some reason they don’t appear to breach the AUP.

    But as for the other 40 out of the 43 Properties Sold since Nov 2008 currently featured under the Sold Properties tab for Lawyers Real Estate on realestate.com.au, you’ll need to go in & change them.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted September 4, 2010 at 10:35 am 0Likes

    Peter,

    You have picked a few fights so lets see if you can win them now..

    But what amuses me most is that if you do not gain the approval to sell real estate without a real estate license will you get your license?

    You will be stuck between a rock and a hard place.

    If you get your license you will join the ranks of what you claim to despise. In fact since you tar all agents with the same brush all your rhetoric would now be targeted at yourself and you would be seen as a hypocrite of the highest order.

    If you don’t get your real estate license then you and your business will be the industry’s pariah and you will be the martyr for a cause as a real estate license is something you could easily obtain. You would get a credit for most of the licensing courses making the whole exercise virtually painless except for the embarrassment of it all as you became a member of the great unwashed!!

    The good news for the future is that the same battle would have to be waged with every state.

    So what will it be, the Hypocrite or the Pariah Martyr?

    Let me guess, you are that confident that you will win you wont even consider what you would do if you lose. Wouldn’t a good lawyer consider all the possible outcomes?

    I think the martyr is going to suit you best that way you can stand on your soapbox and claim that systematic corruption chased you out of the industry 🙂

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 4, 2010 at 12:08 pm 0Likes

    OK, OK. Stop shouting everyone, and I’ll provide a serious response.

    I grew sick and tired of the nonsense yesterday, and so I had a bit of fun on this posting.

    What you’re all telling is that you don’t mind if I obtain a real estate agent’s licence and open up another real estate franchise like the rest of you. Presumably because you will be able to anticipate what I will do, and you know the parameters within which I would have to deliver my services. It would also ensure that I don’t rock the boat for the rest of you.

    OK, I get it.

    As most of you are probably aware, I could obtain an estate agent’s licence tomorrow if I wanted to, based solely on RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning), but I choose not to. Why? Because if I become a licensed real estate agent I will have to operate two businesses side by side, a law firm and an estate agency. It would be cumbersome, inefficient, and unattractive as a business proposition.

    So, I have combined the roles of real estate agent, conveyancer and lawyer into a single entity “Lawyers Real Estate” which provides a conveyancing service with a simple add-on in the form of marketing.

    Apparently, by providing a marketing component to my conveyancing service I have upset the applecart, and infuriate you all. Greg Vincent has gone to a great deal of trouble to “investigate” what I do, and to try to drive a wedge between Lawyers Real Estate and REA. Why? I can only assume that it is because he sees Lawyers Real Estate as a threat to the real estate industry as he knows it.

    It is disappointing to see Greg go to such lengths just to prevent me from accessing a service, in order to put me out of business. Again, I ask why does he do this? And again, I have can only assume that it is because sees Lawyers Real Estate as a threat.

    Why do you all insist that I must hold an estate agents licence, and why will you continue to tear at me unless and until l do? It can only be because you see Lawyers Real Estate as a threat.

    Glen Batten, you’re an industry stakeholder I respect. Why are you so emphatic about my having to obtain an estate agent’s licence? Why won’t you allow me to co-exist as a lawyer who sells real estate?

    If consumers want what Lawyers Real Estate has to offer, why should they not be permitted to access it? If they don’t want it, they won’t buy it.

    Glen, perhaps you can give me a genuine reason as to why you, Greg Vincent and other real estate agents see a need to stop me from delivering Lawyers Real Estate to Australian consumers. As I say, I’m not looking for a fight here, I really do want to know what the issue is.

  • Marko
    Posted September 4, 2010 at 12:40 pm 0Likes

    Geez Peter, next thing you know you’ll find Greg in your bedroom sniffing your underwear.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted September 4, 2010 at 1:50 pm 0Likes

    Peter, firstly on your Lawyers Real Estate website you say, “I invite all consumers, professionals, and real estate industry commentators to examine what we do and how we do it.” and this is exactly what I have done.

    Pardon me if I may have offended you by being a bit more thorough in my examination than others may have been in the past.

    Peter, if Iots of people decided that they thought that they could do a better job within any industry & let’s say they decided that they wanted to go out and start becoming plumbers tomorrow. Even though some may have the knowledge & skills to do the job, others won’t and we would end up with crap to clean up right across the country.

    For an example of what could happen, you only have to look at what took place recently within the insulation industry.

    Peter, I’m not sure if you realise this or not, but there are lots of agents who have joined this industry and who have gone out and got their license so they can do what they can to protect and help consumers from lots of the crap that can happen within our industry.

    Unfortunately for you, you have upset a lot of those agents who are passionate about helping their clients by generalising too much about agents and our industry.

    Peter, on another note, I’m sure that you’re aware that if I wasn’t a licensed real estate agent under the terms of our agency agreements my clients could claim back the commissions they have paid to me, plus they have the right to contest my fees.

    And I’m sure that if you were the lawyer representing them I’m pretty sure you’d do whatever you could to ensure that the agent didn’t get paid because they had breached the terms of the agreement.

    As a lawyer I’m sure you’re always on the lookout for anything that doesn’t comply or is a breach, that’s what good lawyers do.

    But by not having a real estate agent licence is in breach of realestate.com.au’s T & C’s and now when you say,

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted September 4, 2010 at 1:57 pm 0Likes

    Marko, after reading your previous comments on this thread I must admit I didn’t expect anything intelligent from you, but that is offensive.

  • Bob
    Posted September 4, 2010 at 2:07 pm 0Likes

    Marko,

    George Rousos provided you with some links regarding real estate agent qualifications – how about you take the time out my friend to learn what real estate agents have to now fulfill to be a licensed real estate agent.

  • Amused agent
    Posted September 4, 2010 at 2:12 pm 0Likes

    Peter,

    You don’t want a fight? You want to know what the issue is?

    It’s this….you promote your business at the expense of others. You put yourself out to be some sort of Neil Jenman incarnate, fighting the “nasty agents” with your goody two shoes image. Yet in the end, all you are is a failed copper – picking fights all over the place then having a big whinge when people have a crack back at you. You delete what doesn’t suit you from your blogs and Facebook profiles, you’re a coward and a fraud.

  • David
    Posted September 4, 2010 at 2:25 pm 0Likes

    Hi Greg,

    As an avid reader of real estate issues and a real estate investor, I am stunned that you said “…you may have to give back the commissions you

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 4, 2010 at 3:15 pm 0Likes

    Greg, let me address the “Marko” phenomenon first. I deal with “Marko” in my conveyancing practice every day. I don’t experience many “Marko’s” among lawyers or conveyancers. I note your attempt to keep him in line, but you cannot control the way he conducts himself when he’s dealing with consumers. When a “Marko” does the wrong thing by a consumer, I am the person they come to. And then, when I take “Marko” to task, he tells me I’m an agent-basher, that I should stick to conveyancing, and that I should not interfere with the way he does business. The Lawyers Real Estate concept is largely in response to the “Marko’s” in the real estate industry.

    OK, so I go out and get my real estate agent’s licence, become a member of the REIV, gain access to all of the facilities and privileges associated with being a member of the REIV, and start lobbying the REIV, of which I am a member, to start dealing with the “Marko’s”. I will also have access to http://www.RealEstateView.com.au. I would continue to operate my business in exactly the same way as I do now, but as a licensed real estate agent and member of the REIV, and I would challenge, in court if necessary, any attempt that the REIV made to stop me from providing consumers with a better experience.

    Is that what you want of me Greg? Or do you think that if I obtain a real estate agent’s licence I will be forced to act like the rest of you?

  • educator 2
    Posted September 4, 2010 at 3:45 pm 0Likes

    The question posed on this issue is whether LRE is breaking the law or not.

    This posting is quite good as it reflects both sides of the debate and each can have there say. As educator above notes, when other persons have commented on Peter Merickas’ own blog at LRE Peter Mericka “controls” the comment for his self serving purposes and when he gets asked the tough questions its not posted or he posts his own stating that your blog was offensive etc.

    Glen Batten rightfully pointed out that there is not much answers from Peter but plenty of questions. Peter states, in his response to enzo raimondo above, he is exempt from having a agents licence and refers to the “functions.” not been defined in the exemption or the act. It seems to me that a court would look objectively to the wording of the exemption and if the conduct was “in the course of the ordinary functions of a Lawyer” then he would come within the exemption. I would like to suggest that LRE being primarily selling realestate with conveyancing thrown in ( peter words it the otherway round stating he does conveyancing with marketing!!) and the fact that the majority of his income is for selling real estate then that conduct is not ” the ordinary functions of a lawyer’ and so he is not exempt. I totally aggree with enzo on this point.

    My second point to make here, which he has never posted on his blog is the following section from the estate agents act on advertising properties;

    38. Unlicensed person pretending to be licensed as agent

    Every person not being a licensed estate agent who keeps up or exhibits on or
    near his office house or place of business or anywhere else or allows to
    remain unobliterated any sign writing painting or other mark implying that the
    office house or place of business is that of a person licensed to carry on the
    business of an estate agent shall be guilty of an offence.

    Now apart from the very valid point made above by Greg Vincenet regarding not following the T&C of advertsing on real estate.com of which Peter has now complied with anyone can see by the today tonight video in this blog that the Real estate lawyers office shown in the video is more typical of an Estate agents office than a lawyers.

    So lets ask again is he breaking the law or not?

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted September 4, 2010 at 5:19 pm 0Likes

    Oh No! Peter, you said earlier in this thread “I have generated anger, fear, loathing, panic and worry just by offering consumers something different.”

    It’s interesting to see that on your Lawyers Real Estate Facebook Fan Page you’re also starting to have the same impact on consumers. http://www.facebook.com/#!/LawyersRealEstate?ref=ts.

    For example Amanda Lewis commented…

    “when will this site be about what you can offer your prospective clients, and not be about agent bashing? Getting more and more childish each time I read an update – far from impressed.”

    “No, I don’t as I am not an agent – but joined this group out of interest as I wanted to know more about your company – so far I haven’t learned much, just criticisms of what agents do.”

    “I agree and respect that, but also feel that there is an awful lot of personal attack happening…. I feel like I’m standing back watching a schoolyard bully – absolutely, address problems in general, but personally attacking certain agents and feeling it is ok to do that just because of your law background leaves a bad taste in the mouth of many, myself included, who have come across this page. It doesn’t command respect, but challenges other’s views of your ethics, as a person in general and also professionally.”

    If consumers are starting to see you like this I don’t know how you’ll go in the REIV?

    I can’t see agents or the REIV giving you a standing ovation or any need to take off your shoes in readiness for them to kiss your feet.

    Peter, do you believe in that ridiculous misnomer that any PR is good PR?

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 4, 2010 at 8:59 pm 0Likes

    Greg, please. Your last comment was simply a personal attack on me, and yet you seek to lecture me about PR? Spare me.

    You have inspired me Greg. You have issued me a challenge, and that is to finalise the establishment of the Lawyers Real Estate (i.e. lawyers selling real estate as lawyers, and without the need for them to hold a real estate agent’s licence), and then to become a licensed real estate agent as well.

    Greg, I accept your challenge. I will make it my business to eventually obtain a real estate agent’s licence, to join the REIV, and to lobby hard to bring change. Instead of remaining satisfied with being a lawyer who sells real estate, and being attacked by you and others like you, for not being a licensed real estate agent, I will become one – and I will show you what a licensed real estate agent should do, and can do when he is determined to reform the industry from within.

    So Greg, you don’t like me reforming the real estate industry from without – OK, at your invitation, I’ll come into your world as a licensed real estate agent and start reforming it from within. I expect you to confirm to all other real estate agents that this it is in the best interests of the real estate industry to have me enter the fold, and to take the credit for having invited me in.

    Enzo, start going through your membership criteria. You’ll have to find some good reasons to prevent my joining the REIV and holding you to account!

  • Peter Ricci
    Posted September 4, 2010 at 10:11 pm 0Likes

    Amused Agent – I will note that you failed to state your name behind your words which is kind of what you are arguing against – doesn’t make for a good point!

  • Educator 1
    Posted September 4, 2010 at 11:00 pm 0Likes

    Whether Peter Mericka is charging a “fixed fee” or “commission”, is irrelevant – under section 12 of the Estate Agents Act (Estate agents to be licensed) part (c) states that an individual shall not either by himself or as a member of a partnership-in any way hold himself out to the public as ready to undertake for payment or other remuneration (whether monetary or otherwise) any of the functions of an estate agent.

    In NSW commission” means remuneration by way of commission, fee, gain or reward for services performed.

    I would go so far as to say that Educator 2, Enzo and Bob are all spot on.

  • Educator 1
    Posted September 4, 2010 at 11:12 pm 0Likes

    Sorry, I forgot to give my answer to the following question –

    Are Lawyers Real Estate breaking the law ? Definitely YES.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted September 4, 2010 at 11:22 pm 0Likes

    Peter, actions speak louder than words. So, I’ll believe it when I see it. Until then don’t start telling me what you expect.

    Let’s get this straight so there’s no illusions. From where I sit I can see that you have strictly made a business decision.

    If your business decision then turns out that you can use some of your passion for helping consumers to create some positive reform that helps to make our industry better then I will applaud you. But till then, as I said actions speak louder than words.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted September 5, 2010 at 12:12 am 0Likes

    David, you say “Peter Mericka does not charge commission. This information is on the front page of his website.”

    Just because Peter has posted that on his website doesn’t mean that it is gospel.

    Lots of real estate agents charge Fixed Fees and they are still considered as commissions PLUS did you happen to see the pricing on his other website?.

    When you look at the Fixed Fee of $4,400 on his Lawyers Real Estate site and you discount the Lawyers Conveyancing component $770 incl. disbursements, searches & GST! from his http://www.LawyersConveyancing.com.au. site (which by the way links to the sellling part of his LawyersRealEstate.com.au site) there’s $3,630 difference which is the extra cost to help sellers market and negotiate the sale of their home plus other items.

    Even though there are 28 items listed with regards to what is included in there as per, http://www.lawyersrealestate.com.au/realestate/costs/default.asp#6 the $3,630 difference is the part that could come under question and be the subject of further interpretation by the powers that be, if any proceedings were to ever get that far.

  • Vic
    Posted September 5, 2010 at 7:39 am 0Likes

    Shouldn’t this thread be all about the consumer. The buyers who need to trust the representation details of a property they are about to purchase, the seller who needs to know that they will get market price for their property and not just an expeditious price to effect a quick sale.
    Surely this is “the industry” you should all be looking after.

    From reading this thread I am moved from amusement to anger as each comment is posted. This is not about you guys, it is about what is best for the consumer. It should not be about arguing about points of law it should be about whether Peter M’s business model is good for the consumer ie the industry. If Peter M is doing something wrong in the eyes of the consumer, then let the consumer take the action against him.

    Taking an overview position on this thread, all I see is many people too intent on taking a “potshot” at Peter M personally and missing the point.

    The question should be “Is Peter M doing for the consumer what the Agent fraternity should be doing?”

    I have personally bought and sold around 40 properties in my lifetime. I have always used an agent. I have in the main been happy with the outcomes..but that is because I have done my homework in the selection of the agent and throughout the process of the sale. But I have known some of my friends and relatives who did not have my experience and insight into the business that have been manipulated and sometimes cajoled into selling at prices that suited the agent.

    These are the people that must have choices in the way their properties are brought to the market. To simply argue that they have choices now between an agent or private selling(ie no Peter M model) is not helpful. Success rate in pure private selling is not high, and if, after trying it themselves, the only option is to then to go to an agent, the consumer is left disadvantaged. They have tried to sell, with usually a skill they do not possess, then exhausted they are easy prey to the agent who can market the property at a considerably reduced price.

    Options for consumers that bring a consumer into the process of the sale with the support of a negotiator and legal guidance, could only be a good option in the market place.

    For those agents who have the consumers interests at heart and abhor the predatory practices of the few within their ranks, Peter M’s model should be applauded.

    In regards to REA allowing Peter M’s listings. Surely we should be calling on REA to explain this. Why does Peter M have to explain?

    I do not know the ins and outs of the legality of Peter’s business- but I would think that this is not the issue here…let the law decide this and if the agents or consumers have legitimate beefs, then they know the course they should take.

  • educator 2
    Posted September 5, 2010 at 10:31 am 0Likes

    Peter

    so you now say to greg that you will go and get a licence? what about all that threast and demands on today tonight that CAV take you to court and pay your costs when they lose etc etc. where is the self appointed consumer advocate heading now?

    whats made the change of heart ? maybe as this blog allows ALL comments instead of your filtering you have actually read the comments and seen that you have operated outside the law. dont give in Peter we want to see you get those costs from CAV. otherwise you will lose the respect (if any) of those who follow your maverick style. Frank Penhallurick opened on sundays against the law and eventually the law changed but he did get fined or do some time I believe. dont cave in here because quality bloggers have pointed out your blindness.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 5, 2010 at 10:51 am 0Likes

    I think Vic has it in a netshell. If Lawyers Real Estate is doing anything illegal, then the courts (and not “Educator” or the real estate industry as appointed by Greg Vincent when he says, “You be the judge…”) should decide.

    As you all know, Consumer Affairs Victoria told me in writing that they would not take any legal action against me because they could not prove any wrongdoing, and so they have let me sell real estate unhindered for 8 years. It was only when I pressed them to prosecute, and accused them of corrupt conduct because they wouldn’t, that they are finally giving me my day in court to put the matter to rest with certainty.

    So, leave the legalities to the Supreme Court and not to the court of real estate agent opinion.

    Similarly, we are a market economy. So, let consumers determine whether or not Lawyers Real Estate should survive. Attempts by Greg Vincent to convince REA to withhold services from Lawyers Real Estate do not bring credit on him or the industry. If the industry is confident that it can offer what consumers want, then why not let consumers decide.

    Finally, just how much of the real estate market do you believe Lawyers Real Estate can consume? We’re not big enough, and probably never will be big enough, to take any more than a tiny sliver of market share.

    Question: Given the above, what is the problem?

    In response to Educator’s confused question above, I have not had a change of heart. I will still have my day in court, demonstrate that lawyers can sell real estate without a licence, and franchise Lawyers Real Estate. AFTER I HAVE DONE THESE THINGS I will then obtain an estate agent’s licence, join the REIV, and start reforming the industry from within. Greg Vincent has simply prompted me to add an extra challenge to my list, not to replace any.

  • Vic
    Posted September 5, 2010 at 11:22 am 0Likes

    When Educator gets on here, he/she/it should make sure that at the least he/she/it makes sense and at the same time identify himself/herself/itself instead of sniping behind anonymity. Goes for some others on this blog, as Peter R said earlier “doesn’t make for a good point”!

    ps are Educator 1 and 2 the same person/thing?

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 5, 2010 at 11:30 am 0Likes

    I believe that “Educator” is actually George Rousos. George, are you “Educator 1” and/or “Educator 2”? A simple denial will satisfy me, as it’s a suspicion I’ve that carried over from comments on my blog.

  • educator 2
    Posted September 5, 2010 at 11:51 am 0Likes

    Dear Vic obviously if I am number 2 I am intending to indicate that I am NOT the other educator but am involved in educating people in this industry.

    sorry it didnt make sense to you vic but obviously Peter got it as he has now clarified that he intends to get his licence after the supreme court determines whether he needs one or not. He didnt indicate that earlier.

    Peters position having been told they wouldnt prosecute him is uncannily similar to the maric case with the LIV. The legal services board told her they wouldnt prosecute her for preparing section 32 statements but the LIV chose to (as they had the power then). Many in the conveyancing industry say the LIV persued her due to an article by Mr mericka in the LIV journal in 2004 and on his blog site that conveyancers were criminals. Needless to say Peter doesnt enjoy respect form those conveyancers, not sure how that impacts on his own clients but anyway the case started at the same time the Government conducted a review of conveyancers and brought in licensing of conveyancers which was passed by parliament on the same day the judge handed down his decision dismissing the injuction and awarding costs reputed to be near one million dollars after the LIV appealed and lost in 2008.

    So it could be an expensive exercise by either side and it will be interesting to see the result.

    I wonder why Peter doesnt employ or go into legal partnership with a licensed agent under either a multi disciplinary partnership or an incorporated legal practice surely then he can have the best of both worlds and earn respect rather than do it all alone…. or merley just get a licence.

    I wonder whether the consumers that go to LRE are concerned as to whether he will still be around when their settlement is due?

  • educator 2
    Posted September 5, 2010 at 12:30 pm 0Likes

    Peter

    I am not george roussos but in a similar field in a quasi goverment training establishment in both conveyancing and real estate areas my employer would not like me identifying myself for my connection with them and students. my views are mine alone and not that of my employer

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 5, 2010 at 12:56 pm 0Likes

    Hi Educator 2,

    I accept that you are not George Roussos, and I can understand why your employer would not want to be associated with your comments, as they lack logic and insight.

    You wonder why Lawyers Real Esate will not collaborate with a licensed estate agent. The obvious answer is that I don’t need to do this when I can do whatever “functions” you believe the licensed estate agent would be contributing to the process.

    Your question “I wonder whether the consumers that go to LRE are concerned as to whether he will still be around when their settlement is due?” simply doesn’t make sense, and reflects on you as an educator.

    Given that you are an educator in both real estate and conveyancing, perhaps you can answer a question for me. The Victorian Conveyancers Act states that although an estate agent can also become a licensed conveyancer, a dual-licensed estate agent cannot act as both estate agent and conveyancer in the same transaction. My view is that this is an example of profound stupidity, as an estate agent who can also complete the conveyancing transaction for a client would provide a one-stop-shop service for the vendor. Why on earth was such a stupid provision included in the Conveyancers Act?

    The Maric case is interesting, as it had unlicensed conveyancers attempting to convince everyone that no part of the conveyancing process is “legal work”. And now we have licensed conveyancers trying to convince everyone that they perform “legal work” and that unlicensed conveyancers are criminals. Conveyancers didn’t break the lawyers’ monopoly on the provision of conveyancing services, they were simply given a licence to join it.

  • George Rousos
    Posted September 5, 2010 at 1:20 pm 0Likes

    Hi Peter,

    No – I’m not Educator 1, but I love the fact I have people reading through some of that insightful information available on your real estate blog.

    It’s good to see none of that literature going to waste.

    Regards
    George.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 5, 2010 at 1:27 pm 0Likes

    My apologies George. You and the “Educators” seem approach statutory interpretation from the same angles, and that’s what made me think you were one and the same. Perhaps it’s something to do with the way real estate educators are trained.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 5, 2010 at 1:28 pm 0Likes

    George, can I get your response to the question above about estate agents being licensed conveyancers and performing both roles in the one transaction.

  • Vic
    Posted September 5, 2010 at 2:48 pm 0Likes

    Educator 2,

    How can we take you seriously, when by your own admission you are scared that your employer would not like to be associated with your comments. Does this mean that when you are teaching your employer’s lessons to students, that you don’t believe in those teachings: or does it mean that when you speak what you think, it is contrary to the teachings of your employer?

    Which ever way it is, I can see why you choose to be anonymous.

    Ps Sorry Educator 2 to confuse you with Educator 1 but, until you both come out from anonymity, the only difference between you two seems to be plus or minus one.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 1:40 am 0Likes

    Peter,

    You painted yourself into a corner by claiming you don’t need a real estate license. I think you figured that out pretty quick though 🙂 and you have now strategically tried to salvage your position by claiming now that you will get a license regardless of that outcome.

    Why did you paint yourself into a corner ?

    Lets say you are proven right and you don’t need a license then your continued realestate.com.au account is at risk obviously the real reason why you are going to get it now anyway.

    Some sites are real estate portals but realestate.com.au has always been different, it is a portal for real estate agents only. I dont think you can blame Greg for that because I am sure that as a lawyer you read the full terms and conditions before you signed on the dotted line. You knew exactly what you were getting in to and the risks involved.

    In essence you need to get a license whether you are right or not because if you cant list on realestate.com.au your value proposition evaporates. Obviously you realise this hence the shift in your position. Obviously you have to try and mitigate the hypocrisy and embarrassment so the strategy is to get that out early so it does not seem to be associated with the court case.

    So your new spin is that you are going to clean up the industry from within and thats why you want to get a license… but I am sure most people really understand what is going on here.

    You have alienated a lot of real estate agents because of your empty claims of systamtic corruption as part of your branding both on a personal and commercial level. Empty because the only evidence you have offered to back that up is anecdotal based on your dealings with a some bad apples. The reason why you probably see above your fair share of bad agents is because you actively promote to assist people in dealing with disputes for agents.

    I can’t speak for anybody else nor the industry at large but I personally don’t care whether you have a real estate license or not as the core issue. As long as you are carrying on business legally thats what I care about. But if you don’t have a license you certainly do not belong on realestate.com.au.

    I think there is a more important issue involved here and its still relevant no matter the outcome of whether you need or get a real estate license.

    As far as I can see there are four ways you could operate your business :

    1/ You are acting as a lawyer in the whole transaction

    2/ You are acting as a lawyer for part of the business transaction and a marketer for the balance

    3/ You are acting as a lawyer for part of the business transaction and a real estate agent for the balance but dont require a license because you are a qualified and practising lawyer

    4/ You are acting as a lawyer for part of the business transaction and a real estate agent for the balance and you do require a real estate license.

    Now since you assist in negotiations and a few other similar things I think we can comfortably rule out number 2.

    You receive half of your fee up front whether the property sells or not and that is to cover signage and internet advertising. That first section is certainly not a selling fee. As a lawyer or a real estate agent you have a fiduciary duty. Now if you are acting as a real estate agent you can’t profit from advertising and I reckon the law society would have something similar.

    Given your list of services I can’t see how you could say you are only ever acting as a lawyer in the transaction so I can only think you will fall under 3 or 4.

    So which one of the four do you suggest is how you operate or is it something else entirely? and how do you suggest that your first fee fits into that operation?

    So lastly if you are carrying on the duties of a real estate agent this is why I think you specifically need a real estate license…

    Lawyers do not fully understand every facet of the law. It’s way to vast for that to be possible. Lawyers certainly understand the basics and concepts of law and they develop skills to reasearch the law in the areas that they need to be able to advise clients but just being a lawyer is no way to guarantee that person understands any one particular section of law.

    In fact I have met a lot of lawyers who have a limited understanding of property law. Of course a lawyer has the skill set to be able to research the law and be able to advise a client on how it effects their personal situation but even that is no guarantee that they are an expert in the field of property law enough to be able to represent. A law degree means they could understand but it does not mean that they do understand property law.

    In contrast a real estate license confirms that the person has met the prerequisties and understands the legal requirements and procedures required to conduct the duties of selling real estate and a license provides formal approval allowing them to do that.

    Of course there is one way to tell that a lawyer understands and is an expert in one particular field of law such as property law (and many others) and that is specialist accreditations.

    So if you are an Accredited Property Law Specialist I would suggest your argument of not requiring a real estate license would be a lot stronger, but just being a lawyer does not cut it I am afraid. Even then I would suggest you still need to be licensed but the specialist accreditation would mean the license was just a formality.

    Are you an Accredited Property Law Specialist?

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 10:02 am 0Likes

    Hi Glen,

    You seem very confused on the issue, and you don’t seem to have read my previous comment. I will restate it.

    I have not changed my position at all. I have added to my position. Glen Vincent, you, Enzo Raimondo, and the other real estate agents who keep bleating about my needing an estate agents licence have challenged me.

    You are desperate to have me obtain an estate agent’s licence and to enter the industry as a licensed real estate agent. I have said that I will do this AFTER the Supreme Court has made a determination, and AFTER I have established my Lawyers Real Estate franchise.

    So, you want me in your industry, and you want me in the REIV, and I have said that I will do both of these things. However, Lawyers Real Estate will continue to operate as it does now.

    As for realestate.com.au, I think you’re being a little dishonest about your relationship with that portal. You say that realestate.com.au is for “agents only”. This suggests to me that you expect realestate.com.au to show some kind of loyalty to all real estate agents, to the extent that if you bleat loudly enough about me they will end my membership. However, you are all clubbing together to build realestateview.com.au to compete with realestate.com.au, in the hope that you will be able to displace realestate.com.au and domain.com.au with realestateview.com.au. So, on one hand, you demand some kind of loyalty from realestate.com.au, while at the same time you are relying on this loyalty to ensure that realestate.com.au cannot expand its client base, so that you undermine it and replace it.

    You also want me to become a real estate agent and to join realestateview.com.au.

    Glen, you don’t want me to operate Lawyers Real Estate as a law firm that sells real estate unless the Supreme Court confirms that I can. But somehow, I don’t think you will be satisfied if I do what I have indicated above, namely:

    1. To confirm that lawyers can sell real estate without having to hold an estate agent’s licence.

    2. To continue to operate Lawyers Real Estate as a law firm that sells real estate.

    3. To obtain an estate agent’s licence just for the heck of it, so that I can show you that I have one.

    4. To join the REIV and realestateview.com.au because I may as well, given that I’ve gone to the trouble of obtaining a licence.

    If I complete 1 to 4 above will you be satisfied? If not, what more would I have to do to satisfy you?

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 10:05 am 0Likes

    Can anyone give me a response to the question above about estate agents being licensed conveyancers and performing both roles in the one transaction.

  • Marko
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 10:50 am 0Likes

    “Some sites are real estate portals but realestate.com.au has always been different, it is a portal for real estate agents only.”
    “In essence you need to get a license whether you are right or not because if you cant list on realestate.com.au your value proposition evaporates.”

    Is this an admission that consumers pay a hefty commission to the real estate agent just for the priviledge to list on Australia’s best advertising medium? You guys know what will happen if private sellers are allowed to advertise on realestate.com.au, that is people will not see any value in getting a real estate agent to ‘sell’ their property. That’s why there’s a desperate attempt to build an industry portal realestateview.com.au, out of paranoia that realestate.com.au opens up its doors to private sellers, or anyone else who gives consumers an alternative. Realestateview.com.au is not about giving consumers a better product, it’s about protecting the real estate industry from outside threats.

    “You have alienated a lot of real estate agents because of your empty claims of systamtic corruption as part of your branding both on a personal and commercial level. Empty because the only evidence you have offered to back that up is anecdotal based on your dealings with a some bad apples. The reason why you probably see above your fair share of bad agents is because you actively promote to assist people in dealing with disputes for agents.”

    The very fact that real estate agents rank rock bottom on every honest and ethics survey must be an anomoly right? I’m sure it is.

    “Lawyers do not fully understand every facet of the law. It

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 11:01 am 0Likes

    Peter, just so that there isn’t any confusion around your decision to obtain your real estate agent licence.

    If you’ve decided that you will become a licensed real estate agent just because you feel that it will allow you to continue to advertise your listings on realestate.com.au, you may want to look at the service you currently provide your clients and ask realestate.com.au whether your current business model will comply to their latest General User Terms that I mentioned in the original article because they may or may not have some issues with how your current business model will comply with section 2.1 (e). which states…

    (e) you are providing the full range of agent services (as set out in our Private Listing Policy).

    Whilst there may or may not be an issue with their current Private Listing Policy http://www.rs.realestate.com.au/cgi-bin/rsearch?a=v&t=ao-wel&id=1466&cat=ao:Terms%20and%20Conditions&ag=&cu once you’re a licensed real estate agent, Section 2.1(e) and realestate.com.au’s Private Listing Policy is set to become an interesting issue within our industry moving forward.

    Whilst I’m not saying that they will change it or suggesting that they change it, it will definitely be something that both you and the industry as a whole will need to keep an eye out for.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 12:31 pm 0Likes

    Greg, you may as well tell me to read the instructions on the Weeties packet before I shake my Weeties into my bowl. Really, I don’t need your counsel on my relationship with realestate.com.au, and I’m sure they don’t either.

    It might make things a lot easier if you simply assume that I have the ability to discuss my relationships with my service providers without any input from you.

    Greg, as a real estate agent trainer, and someone who purports to have some insight into the real estate industry, can you offer an opinion as to why the Conveyancers Act prohibits a licensed estate agent who is also a licensed conveyancer from offering both real estate and conveyancing services in the one transaction? It seems that while estate agents are prepared to venture opinions on my legal position, none have the courage to express a view on what I regard as a profoundly stupid piece of legislation. Why can’t an estate agent act as agent and conveyancer in the one transaction?

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 12:57 pm 0Likes

    Try a conflict of interest in the same way that the Law Society in NSW requires that the same legal firm should not act for the purchaser and vendor on the same transaction within the same firm.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 12:58 pm 0Likes

    Marko, thank you for that lucid response to Glen Batten’s comments regarding lawyers.

    I’m promted to draw a comparison with the entry of ulicensed and unqualified conveyancers into the legal industry before the Conveyancers Act was passed. A person with no training, no experience and no PI insurance could operate a conveyancing business from their kitchen table. These conveyancers would provide legal advice, and would prepare Section 32 statements and contracts for real estate agents to use.

    Lawyers complained that these unqualified people were taking market share and were forcing conveyancing fees down, while they did not have the same overheads as lawyers by way of licensing fees, PI insurance costs and CPD costs (see similar complaints made by Greg Vincent above).

    The legal professional was told that conveyancing did not involve the performance of any legal work, nor did it involve the giving of legal advice. The Supreme Court in Maric’s case confirmed that a conveyancer did not necessarily perform legal work when preparing the Section 32.

    Thus, the legal profession watched as a group of lesser qualified individuals took market share, and there was nothing they could do about it. Today we have licensed conveyancers competing with lawyers for market share.

    Lawyers Real Estate is doing something similar, only in this case we have people with higher qualifications, more skills (in terms of being able to prepare the legal documentation required to effect a real estate sale), and more experience in negotiating the problems and disputes that arise in real estate sale transactions.

    Glen Batten and others say that lawyers can’t do what estate agents do, and that some lawyers don’t know anything about real estate sales. This is true, just as a gastroenterologist probably knows nothing about sports medicine.

    But what if property lawyers, whose knowledge of real estate transactions, gained from years of conveyancing work, interacting with real estate agents, real estate consumers, and other property lawyers, decide to take market share from real estate agents. What if, without the need to attend a TAFE course, the lawyer can satisfy all of the demands of the client, and all of the requirements of the law, in providing real estate sales services?

    Isn’t it interesting that real estate agents saw no issue with untrained, unqualified conveyancers entering the real estate market as “experts” (in fact the acceptance of conveyancers was largely driven by real estate agents), and yet they have difficulties when better trained and better qualified lawyers seek to share the real estate sales market.

    Glen, I would suggest that the ones to watch in the future are not the lawyers, but the conveyancers. In New Zealand they have already taken the next logical step. Not only are lawyers able to sell real estate, but conveyancers are now permitted to sell real estate.

    Having facilitated the entry of conveyancers into the industry (and promoting their use through the “client trafficking” bribery so prevalent in the industry, your pet conveyancers may soon turn their eyes to your lucrative market.

    I’ll finish with the same question I have been asking over and over – Why should a real estate agent who is also a licensed conveyancer not be permitted to provide both services in the one transaction?

  • Betty
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 1:05 pm 0Likes

    Ok, this is one long winded conversation,
    I for one am not threatened by Peter as I think anything that helps the consumer is a good thing. Every industry has bad seeds. My first job at a fast food place there was a kid steeling money from the till but that was one person not the whole team, does that make everyone else who uses the till a bad person with questionable ethics?? of course not.

    My only complaint is that Peter seems to be dumping on every agent and that is not what this industry needs. Sure lets tighten the rules I am all for that but you will never stop that one bad apple or the one who finds a way around the rules. As a Lawyer I would think Peter understands this very well.
    Bending the truth and the rules is a daily job for most Lawyers I know. (Yes I know a lot of them in fact 7 of my family members practice Law and 1 is a Judge.)

    Also everyone is assuming that consumers are stupid well here’s a tip…they are not… most people (and I mean most not all, cause there are some people who will be taken in by the con man, be that RE agent or Lawyer) are quite able to decide for themselves and these days there is enough accessable information out there on the web.

    C’mon people you must have better things to do than stir each other up although I say thanks cause I have had a good laugh at most of this thread.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 1:48 pm 0Likes

    Hi Betty, motherhood statements don’t take the debate any further. Perhaps you’d like to address a real issue. What do you think of a law that says a real estate agent who is also a licensed conveyancer cannot act as real estate agent and licensed conveyancer in the same transaction?

    So far I have been unable to get anyone on this thread to respond to this question.

  • George Rousos
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 2:00 pm 0Likes

    Peter – I’m not too sure if this is the answer your looking for, but am thinking the reason why real estate agents who are also licensed conveyancers cannot provide both services in the one transaction –
    is due to their being a conflict of interest, where the agent acting for the vendor on the sale of their property would be placing their own interests in conflict with the client

  • Vic
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 2:25 pm 0Likes

    Betty,

    If I put up an anonymous post, I would claim to have 10 judges, 15 realestate agents and 24 conveyancers in the family. Oh and the president of US is my first cousin -:).

    But I do agree this has been a record amusement thread.

  • Vic
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 2:40 pm 0Likes

    Peter M,

    I see the point of your question (I think)

    I can see a conflict if the agent who is also a conveyance does the conveyancing for a buyer of the property sold by the agent.

    I cannot see a conflict where the Agent sells and conveys for the same client. I see that he is acting at all times as in the interests of his client in both cases.

    That laws have been passed to the contrary does not make it “correct”.

    My humble view.

    Now would love to see the considered views of others, rather than diving into regulations, statutes etc just to prove how good you are at reading.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 3:01 pm 0Likes

    Vic, I agree with you entirely. Sure, there is a conflict of interests where the real estate agent does the conveyancing the purchaser. On that issue, it should be noted that real estate agents regularly “act for the purchaser” whenever they prepare a purchaser’s offer, particularly when they insert special conditions on behalf of the purchaser.

    However, when the real estate agent acts for the vendor only, in performing estate agent functions (whatever that may mean) and completing the conveyancing transaction, there is no conflict of interests whatsoever.

    Now, that brings us to the question as to why the legislators saw fit to prohibit a common-sense approach to real estate sales/conveyancing. Would anyone like to hazard a guess on that one?

    One possibility is that they could see what was brewing in New Zealand, with conveyancers being permitted to sell real estate, and wanted to prevent any calls for similar advances here on the mainland (no I’m not trying to antagonise our NZ brethren, it’s just a joke based on the Mainland
    Cheese ad).

  • Vic
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 3:28 pm 0Likes

    Peter, you know the answer to your question. You just want some real estate agent to say it.

  • George Rousos
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 3:47 pm 0Likes

    Guys,

    I think it may have been legislated because of playing both roles could possibly corrupt the motivation for an act in the other.

    Playing different roles can certainly provide an incentive for improper acts in some circumstances.

    What’s interesting though, in NSW – an agent alone can not even enter into agency agreements in respect of the purchase or sale of land, if the performance of services under the agreement results in him or her acting for both parties at the same time.

    Peter, I would like to get an opinion from you regarding the first two paragraphs, if I may.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 3:47 pm 0Likes

    You’re right Vic, because then we can start peeling away some of the stupidity that pervades this industry. If I can get real estate agents and others to understand that this is just one example of stupidity, they will be open to examining the rest.

    Vic, I’m not here to give real estate agents an education. I have been criticised for not knowing the law when I have attempted to demonstrate that there is something ridiculous about a lawyer with more training, experience and the qualifications to perform all aspects of a sale transaction being prevented from doing so.

    I have drawn attention to this single example of legislative stupidity in an effort to demonstrate that the law, as the real estate agents understand it, contains problems that need to be addressed.

    Greg Vincent, who sees non-existent problems with Lawyers Real Estate selling real estate, fails to see the patent defects in laws that prevent real estate agents from operating one-stop-shops. I’m demonstrating the irony of this.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 3:51 pm 0Likes

    George, my opinion on those two paragraphs is that they defy comprehension. Assume that I’m too dumb to understand what you’re saying and explain it in more detail.

  • George Rousos
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 4:45 pm 0Likes

    OK Peter, say if the agent is acting for the vendor, but slackens off in their normal duties as a licensed real estate agent – to perform his normal duties as a licensed conveyancer.

    I would think the performance of services under the agent’s agreement could have resulted in him or her putting their interest in front of their clients interest.

    Regards
    George

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 5:57 pm 0Likes

    Sorry George, but I just don’t understand what you’re trying to say. I’m not trying to be rude, but I just can’t comprehend it.

    Are you suggesting that an estate agent who is also attending to the conveyancing aspects of a sale transaction would inevitably neglect some of the tasks required as part of the real estate agency component of the sale? For example, the estate agent would spend so much time doing the conveyancing that she wouldn’t have time to arrange for the sale board to be ordered? (If I’m on the wrong track it’s because I’m trying to work with my understanding of your comment.)

  • George Rousos
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 8:10 pm 0Likes

    Yes Peter, you are definitely on the right track !!

    Here is another way of looking at it – the vendor has not been provided with any feedback what so ever on the sale of his property at 22 Smith Street Charlestown.

    The agent apparently is attending to other matters relating to conveyancing work – this being another arm to his business.

    This agent should be out and about chasing up buyers,reviewing and monitoring his marketing strategies and performing the real estate services agreed to under his agency agreement.

    So in closing – the performance of real estate sales services under the agency agreement has now resulted in the agent putting his own interest in front of the services he should be providing to his own client vendor.

  • Marko
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 8:46 pm 0Likes

    George that sounds like bad time management, and not conflict of interest.

    How can corruption in pursuit of financial gain arise from that situation? Me personally I don’t see it.

  • Glenn Rogers
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 8:48 pm 0Likes

    Just saw this and didn’t see the videos but my understanding for decades has been that you cannot sell real estate for a third party and charge commission unless you are licensed.

    End of story.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 9:19 pm 0Likes

    Peter, I can understand why a Conveyancer may want to become a real estate agent, but can you explain to me the benefits as to why a Licensed Real Estate Agent worth their salt would even want to contemplate becoming a Conveyancer in the first place? There is more than enough red tape that a licensed agent has to comply with now.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 9:21 pm 0Likes

    George, if you’re someone who trains real estate agents, and Greg Vincent is someone who trains real estate agents, and Glenn Rogers has the attitude of most real estate agents, then I think my contributions to this thread are at an end.

    Peter Ricci, thanks for forum and for the opportunity to interact with some of your contributors. I have benefited from the experience.

  • Glenn Rogers
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 9:31 pm 0Likes

    “Glenn Rogers has the attitude of most real estate agents,”

    My understanding was that is tha LAW not my attitude, I’ve come in on this late so I’ve probably misssed a lot and I havent read throjugh 200 ppsts I just addressed the main issue.

  • Glenn Rogers
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 9:32 pm 0Likes

    124 posts but a lot non the less.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 9:50 pm 0Likes

    Peter,

    There are some simple questions you have dodged by deflecting to Marko.

    He always pops up like an automatic defense system! Now you were the one who said ” I deal with

  • George Rousos
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 10:40 pm 0Likes

    Sorry Marko – I thought you new what I was aluding to when a Licensed Real Estate Agent / Conveyancer is engaging in a conflcit of interest that affects the vendor. The agent could favour one conveyancing transaction over the other for financial gain,or it could be an internal bribe (inside the business) to obtain a personal benefit or even some form of collusion internally with another member of staff. As I mentioned in a previous post I think it may have been legislated because of playing both roles could possibly corrupt the motivation for an act in the other.Playing different roles can certainly provide an incentive for improper acts in some circumstances, but hey, lets not look too much into otherwise will do our heads in.

    Cheers
    George

  • George Rousos
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 11:05 pm 0Likes

    Yeah good point Glenn!

    Who is Marko ? Is he a conveyancer that you know Peter.

    Come out come out where ever you are, the little person who snipes from the shadows – I’m afraid thats not what social media’s about.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 11:20 pm 0Likes

    George, I think you’ll find that Vic was right. Peter knew the answer he just wanted to hear agents talk about conflict of interest, etc.

    I think you’ll find that the conversation was being deflected that way either to show that Lawyers Real Estate may find it difficult to operate as a Licensed Real Estate Agent as well due to conflict of interest OR if not, Peter is probably keen to get the Conveyancing Law changed so that he can expand his concept Nationally because Conveyancers might be more open to the concept than lawyers would be.

  • George Rousos
    Posted September 6, 2010 at 11:54 pm 0Likes

    Greg,

    Yes I actually agree with what Vic was saying, but after talking with fair trading supervisior today and other lawyers in NSW – there seems to be an issue on both sides with this.

    On another note Greg and when you find some time, you should endevour to read this. It came from a legal academic and revised back in 1996 on the future directions in conveyancing.
    http://members.ozemail.com.au/~danok/ConveyancingCh7.html

    Finally congratulations on a wonderful insightful article, you should be commended for your efforts and it wouldn’t surprise me if we broke some kind of record on this long thread of comments.

    Cheers
    George

  • Vic
    Posted September 7, 2010 at 9:08 am 0Likes

    George, Greg and Peter M,

    I’m always looking for a fair and balanced debate on issues. Seems like this one has still a way to go. From Greg’s initial post we have finally got to the crux of the matter. It seemed to start as a direct crticism/questioning the legality of Peter Ms business model and his “misuse” of REA and, as a consequence, degenerated in a slanging match.
    Clearly Peter M has a right to defend his position and in doing so has brought some very pertinent issues about the wrongness of some laws. Laws which no doubt would if were independently assessed may never have seen the light of day.

    And by the way, who cares who Marko is. Anonymity should not be rewarded by the continued references to them- says me who continues to put them down when they come on.

    The motivation for these pieces of legislation and the lobby sources need to questioned and debated….not Peter M’s business model which will be tested in the courts.

    Glen R, your late intervention proves to me a point that some bloggers come to this forum with preconceived opinions. It would have helped the debate if you had taken the time to read the thread.

    Petr M good luck with your court case and your proposed franchise model and Greg V thanks for starting off what has been a very stimulating session.

  • Vic
    Posted September 7, 2010 at 9:09 am 0Likes

    Sorry, the comment on Marko, should have been at the end of my spiel.

  • educator 2
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 8:41 pm 0Likes

    RE Peter M’s question I would have thought teh conflict of interest or potential clearly covers it. In nearly every dispute between contract and settlement the debate will be about what the agent said at the time of sale. Rightly or wrongly some people just misunderstand have bad memory or in some cases agents do say the wrong thing ( the bad apples) I belive the potewntyial for the agent then to be acting for the vendor would put the purchaser and their representative in an unfair position of disadvatage even if only perceived by the purchaser. I would hav ethough that th Allen report which conduted the victorian review into licensing of conveyancers would explain the reason why agents were banned for acting in these circumstances. I agree with above threads why would an agent want to do it but there were some agents priot to act that held an interest in conveyancing companies and pushed clients to their own conveyancers and conflicts of interest which lawyers are bound by more regulation than conveyancers or agents could potentially hard consumers. I think a lawyer is better trained in conflcits as they have rules specific about acting for both vendor and purchaser and also in family law and certain other conflicts are totally banned. Conveyancers insurance companies do not cover such arrangements unless notices signed by both parties are completed. wise best practice is not to act on both sides. adding in an agent could just raise the issue higher. perhaps someone could look at the Allen Report here is the link.

    http://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/CA256902000FE154/Lookup/CAV_Publications_Reports_and_Guidelines/$file/Conveyancing_Final_Report.pdf

    Vicno disrespect to you and you even acknowledge that you attack new people but you only sign in under vic anyway?

    at one stage I thought you were Peter!!!

    I dont why that peter would be affected by the conflict rule even if he did get an agents licence as the conveyancing act refers to licensed conveyancers and peter is exempt and in fact ineligible to apply for a conveyancing licence. He is exempt from obtain a agents licence and thus when he does get one he could continue to provide a conveyancing service. unlike an agent who also has a conveyancing licence who has to comply with the conveyancers act.

    Peter care to comment on the last paragraph?

  • educator 2
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 8:42 pm 0Likes

    apologies for forgetting to spell check above!!!!

  • educator 2
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm 0Likes

    Sorry again to all I should stop the red wine. My last paragarph should read ” He is NOT exempt from obtaining an agents licence.

  • Vic
    Posted September 8, 2010 at 10:46 pm 0Likes

    Educator 2

    You can click on my name and find out all about me, but I don’t know who you are.

  • educator 2
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 6:46 am 0Likes

    Thanks Vic the click only took me to waterside propety sales (nice sedgway) and I even tried contact us but no profile on you.

  • Vic
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 7:02 am 0Likes

    educator 2

    Everything about us and how to contact us is on our site and available for all to see. Click on ABOUT US.

    And what is “sedgway”? Cant find it in any dictionary.

  • PaulD
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 10:47 am 0Likes

    He definitely should have used the spell checker – try “segue”. Or he could have meant that two wheeled thing that the people at Google run around on called a segway – do you have one of those Vic?

  • educator 2
    Posted September 9, 2010 at 9:16 pm 0Likes

    hey Vic

    I finally clicked on “about us” at your web site still no go.. I tried “contact us” but still nothing on you mate. so I eventually tried “our philosophy” under that i found a blurb on you and also this statement… “He is a graduate of the Melbourne University Business School of which hold membership”

    Now that you are so good at picking on my blog typing how about going back and fixing the above… then come out of your glass house and apologise…
    Im just trying to add to the debate if you keep on picking on me I will sook like Peter Mericka and never return.

  • Vic
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 11:53 am 0Likes

    Thanks Educator 2.

    Good pick up. What is a sedgway? 🙂

  • educator2
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 5:33 pm 0Likes

    Thanks Vic couldnt resist could you having a final shot but you were not first. You can amend your website but I cant reedit my posting 🙁 sorry if you havent worked it out by now it was meant to be segueway. but someone puts the keys on my keyboard in the wrong spot. Have a good weekend and when Im ready to sell my two properties on hamilton island I know who to call.

    cheers

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted September 10, 2010 at 7:18 pm 0Likes

    Peter, I noticed on your Lawyers Facebook Fan Page that you said “”Problem number one is that to become a Realtor, you first need to get a real estate license; which isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. A well trained monkey can get this license. I know because I have one….a license that is; not a monkey.”
    http://screencast.com/t/NjI5NmJhOTQt

    Does this mean what I think it means? Or is it just a play on words?

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted September 11, 2010 at 10:18 am 0Likes

    I may be a monkey amongst other things however as a real estate agent I have never worked for peanuts. When all you can value your business at $4,400.00 all inclusive I can see where Peter has become not only deluded but confused.

    I think what he may have been trying to say –

    If you offer peanuts ($4,400.00) – you get monkeys

  • PaulD
    Posted September 11, 2010 at 11:01 am 0Likes

    Hey educator – I hate to be pedantic but – you need educating !! “segueway” is not a word. Phonetically it’s like saying seg way way. The word is spelt “segue” and pronounced “seg-way” – only one way.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted September 11, 2010 at 12:54 pm 0Likes

    Robert, it’s interesting when you compare what Lawyers Real Estate charge and provide against the likes of ForSaleForLease.com.au, etc (a site that I’ve previously had issue with via this blog).

    And then as Glenn pointed out earlier, Lawyers Real Estate also have a questionable Cancellation Fee.

    Their pricing page also says something that I found quite bizarre “It is necessary to review and monitor the progress of a sale, and to determine its viability in changing market conditions You may wish to consult your valuer if the property hasn’t sold after 3 months.”

    Most valuers are very conservative, especially since the GFC because they remove the emotion away and base their pricing on something that they can substantiate if the valuation ever brought before the courts. Basing the asking price of a property around a registered valuation is a dangerous practice & has the potential to cost consumers thousands & thousands of dollars.

    Have you seen Lawyers Real Estate’s explanation of an agency agreement Robert?

    “The effect of signing the Exclusive Sale Authority is best summed up as follows:

    “The estate agent becomes a part-owner of the property being sold, usually to the extent of 2% of the value of the property. In order to convert his share of the property to cash, the estate agent must bring about a sale; any sale at any price. It’s never hard for an estate agent to get an offer. The hard part is in having the vendor accept the offer. The Exclusive Sale Authority assists the estate agent in forcing a vendor to accept the unacceptable by ensuring that every alternative is costly, and every exit is blocked.””

    If you are now in fact licensed Peter, I’m curious, will you be getting your clients to sign up exclusively or do you think an open agency would be better for the client?

  • George Rousos
    Posted September 13, 2010 at 11:07 am 0Likes

    Hi Paul,

    Here are some example sentences using “segueway “,apparently it’s a new word without a clear definition.

    http://www.wordnik.com/words/segueway/examples

    However, you can find a definition for this under a different spelling http://www.thefreedictionary.com/segue (To move smoothly and unhesitatingly from one state, condition, situation, or element to another, was about the best definition found).

    cheers

  • PaulD
    Posted September 13, 2010 at 12:28 pm 0Likes

    Thanks George, wow, there’s a lot of ways you can use those words. They would be a good standby if you had a gap in a crossword.

  • educator2
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 8:31 am 0Likes

    Thanks George you are a geat educator and Paul D apology accepted

  • PaulD
    Posted September 14, 2010 at 8:46 am 0Likes

    I didn’t realise I had apologised. check out http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/segueway

  • Vic
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 9:32 am 0Likes

    Agree, Paul D, there is only one way to spell segue. By the way educator 2, what is a “geat”? – sorry, can’t help myself. 🙂

    If and when you are ready to sell your Hamilton Island properties, will be happy to have them on our site, through an agency listing.

    Had a great weekend by the way, my daughter’s wedding on the beach at Elwood.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 12:27 pm 0Likes

    C’mon guys. Enough is enough. Heaven forbid if this sort of carry on went on every time there was a spelling mistake on Business2. 🙂

    Rather than talking about spelling mistakes, I’m more interested to see why Lawyers Real Estate is still able to upload onto REA. Is Peter now a licensed real estate agent? Does his business model provide the full agency service that REA’s terms spell out?

    I’m starting to wonder whether Peter Mericka might have been given some special exemption? Could this be the reason why he won’t comment about his agreement with REA? If so, what sort of precedent could this set for others?

    I think the real estate agents who upload listings onto realestate.com.au and pay subscriptions deserve some answers. Is Mericka currently in breach of REA’s terms or not? Or is REA at fault?

  • Vic
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 1:22 pm 0Likes

    Hi Greg,

    The Peter M horse has been flogged to death. I would seriously like to know why you want to keep it going?

    You’ve posted a great article that had a variety of responses, and some good repartee amongst it’s commentary. Then you come in like a school teacher and tell the naughty boys not to have fun.

    I agree, enough is enough and if you want answers ring Peter M or go to REA.

  • PaulD
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 2:13 pm 0Likes

    I agree with Vic. There are infinitely more important issues that that. Greg, why don’t you interview Glenn Stevens, and ask him why he is mucking around with interest rates to the detriment of this country? If you want to start a crusade – make it worthwhile. While you are talking to Glenn Stevens ask him how come the inflation rate is around 3% when everything we use or consume is rising at a much faster rate than that, and also – how come home mortgage rates in the rest of the world are SO much lower than they are here. And how come the banks are crying about the cost of funds – and making multi BILLION dollar profits. And why won’t we let some other banks into this country to compete with the big 4. Also – how come the homeowners of this country have to carry the burden of Govt. stuff ups via monetary policy EVERY time. — That should do for starters

  • Ryan O'Grady
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 11:40 pm 0Likes

    I agree let’s forget about Peter M. And focus on REA and how they’re fooled the industry with their updated T&C’s while sitting back and continuing to collect subscription fees from traditional agents, non traditional agents (owner assisted sites) and now businesses who aren’t even agents.

  • Vic
    Posted September 18, 2010 at 9:36 am 0Likes

    Ryan,

    REA- isn’t this the crowd who have been threatened by the “Industry” portal going national. Has therefore the “industry” (ReVIEW) changed the rules and REA is simply looking to protect their business/market share.

    Would be great to hear Enzo Raimondo’s take on this REA change of operation. I would be thinking that he would be rubbing his hands with glee to know that when the reality bites in, that REA is no longer “Agent exclusive”, agents will be looking to reconsider their future REA subscriptions.
    In fact, if it is true that REA have changed terms and conditions, without proper notification to their subscribers, it could be that agents could have a case to break with their subscriptions prior to completion of their contracted term.

    As I previously stated.. it is not up to Peter M to explain why he has been accepted by REA, but for REA to do the explaining.

  • Ryan O'Grady
    Posted September 18, 2010 at 11:36 am 0Likes

    Vic, I agree Peter doesn’t need to explain anything this is an issue for REA.

    In relation to REA subscriptions. I know one prominent Sydney agency who are dumping HUBOnline and moving to MyDesktop, once their new site is launched they’re 95% certain they’ll dump REA and run with Domain as the sole subscription based portal.

    This trend will continue as long as REA keep damaging their relationship with agents.

  • Vic
    Posted September 18, 2010 at 1:00 pm 0Likes

    Ryan,

    Interesting about Hub on Line. We waited for 6 months for their revamped up loader, then came on board only to find that they are charging their agents to feed to each new portal. Not a good approach after being offline for so long. Would have thought that a re-entry strategy would be to give strong market support to their agent clients who have been loyal for so long.
    MyDeskTop do not charge and encourage agents to use the portals that have garnered to their site. MDT also do not just take any portal, there is a criteria for their acceptance, which includes having at least 20 mutual clients, whereas HOL takes anyone. Makes MDT a more credible support unit in they do their homework and avoid/ minimize the fly by nighters.
    My experience with the tech support from MDT is far superior to HoL. I would say that, the Sydney agent transferring to MDT, will get better and more timely support.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted September 18, 2010 at 1:50 pm 0Likes

    I agree Ryan, If REA don’t get this sorted out then why can’t the likes of BuyMyPlace.com.au upload their 1739 listings onto REA like they did on Domain?

    I think REA have some explaining to do, as to how this happened in the first place and how Peter’s current business model complies with 2.1e of the T & C’s ie. “(e) you are providing the full range of agent services (as set out in our Private Listing Policy).”

    Paul, I’d love to fix up interest rates. Plus, now that we’ve supposedly dodged the GFC, I’d like to see the major banks pass on the .25% interest rate that they didn’t pass on to their clients. (probably the greatest theft to our economy that has ever been witnessed in Australian history). But that’s not what this article is about.

    Real estate agents are an easy target for the likes of Peter M to crusade against and then profit from. I’m sorry if you think that I should just sit back and let people like Peter M open fire on our industry en mass.

    As I said to Peter M within previous comments, actions speak louder than words. It looks like he might be finally doing something about getting his real estate license. “Going over real estate agency training materials developed by CAV and VETASSESS. Estate agent training is joke! (@ Kofi Beans)”. (via twitter.com/LawyersRealEst).

    If he gets his license and brings about constructive change then I will applaud him. If he doesn’t get his license and is allowed to remain on REA then agents who are subscribed to REA deserve an answer as to why they are making exceptions and what sort of impact this could have to who is allowed to upload listings onto their site?

  • Ryan O'Grady
    Posted September 18, 2010 at 2:02 pm 0Likes

    Hubonline try to be the one stop shop for a real estate agency and refuse to work with other real estate software companies.

    Mydesktop on the other hand, realised a few years ago this business strategy was flawed. They stopped building websites and real estate applications, instead focusing solely on maintaining and improving their system. Their system manages properties, performs exports, has a CRM, can create marketing material and performs Trust Accounting.

    They work with a number of 3rd real estate software companies who build web applications like agent websites, individual property websites, mobile phone sites, iphone applications and the like.

    Because they are not trying to perform everything means they can easily support their client’s needs. Hub on the other hand, can’t effectively support all of their clients because they don’t have the resources to do this. If you ask any agency why they left Hub, more often than not it is because of their Custom Service.

    Interesting what you say about Mydesktop’s criteria for adding a new portal. I’m working with a new portal at the moment and when i asked this question during the week i was given the exact same answer. Are they feeding to your portal? If not lets chat offline as i may have a temporary solution.

  • Vic
    Posted September 18, 2010 at 4:27 pm 0Likes

    Ryan,

    We are listed with HoL and with MDT. We got onto MDT through the support of a Tasmanian franchise of some 40 agencies. Then we identified other MDT clients and invited them to process through us.
    MDT set up their tick box for http://www.watersidepropertysales.com.au so that only properties on or near the water are sent to us.

    Of our 400 plus agents and 7000plus properties to date, I think some 200 agents and 3000 properties have been fed to us from MDT, in this manner.
    None from HoL excepting for some mutual clients using our manual uploader.

    There seems to be only one person handling this side of HoL’s business, nice guy,but he seems to be that snowed under that he does not answer his phone respond to emails nor phone messages these days.

    If the way we are treated is symptomatic of HoL/REA then they have a cancer creeping in that may see further dissatisfaction amongst their agent clients.

    I will ring you early next week for a chat.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted September 22, 2010 at 3:24 pm 0Likes

    Here’s the latest on this topic by The Age journalist, Simon Johanson… “Lawyer sued over flat-fee house-sale work” ~ http://www.theage.com.au/business/property/lawyer-sued-over-flatfee-housesale-work-20100921-15lhg.html

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted September 22, 2010 at 5:55 pm 0Likes

    The really funny thing about this is that Peter has now admitted that he intends to get a Real Estate License regardless of the CAV case and how it pans out. To me that is tantamount to an acceptance that he expects to lose out of this no matter the ruling.

    But… think about this… If he loses the case I wonder if he is going to be found to be of suitable character to hold a real estate agency license in Victoria after selling 200 properties without a valid license. It might turn out to be too little too late.

  • educator 2
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 8:33 pm 0Likes

    I know we are over Peter M on this blog but I noticed he has removed from his own blog, his defamatory and derogatory blog on consumer affairs where he called the Director of CAV and the member of Parliament corrupt. He also said that CAV would pay his costs when they lose the case in the Raimondo clip earlier in this blog. With such arrogance from a self appointed consumer advocate asking them to take him on he has got what he asked for and I hope he has plenty of money. At the end of it all Im not sure either the Real estate Industry or the Legal profession want him.

  • educator 2
    Posted October 12, 2010 at 8:41 pm 0Likes

    Hi all Further to my blog Peter Mericka has now posted an apology to Dr Noone head of Consumer Affairs and her Chief Lawyer Steven Devlin

    About Time Peter got some legal advice and acted responsibly.

  • Chris O'Neill
    Posted November 10, 2010 at 12:43 pm 0Likes

    Robert Simeon:

    “I may be a monkey amongst other things however as a real estate agent I have never worked for peanuts. When all you can value your business at $4,400.00 all inclusive I can see where Peter has become not only deluded but confused.”

    You’re right Robert, one day Peter will realize that his business will not work without activity conditioning. Then he’ll have to put up his price to cover the cost of that conditioning just like normal agents do.

  • bp bear
    Posted November 16, 2010 at 7:56 am 0Likes

    How annoying is Peter Mericka? goodness gracious! Someone said earlier in this conversation that he’s a self appointed consumer advocate, indeed he seems like a carbon copy of Neil Jenman! and like all carbon copies they’re not like the original. someone’s gonna punch Peter’s face in one day, just like Jenman got beat up but that’s how it is for people rallying for a supposed cause. I read where Peter M wrote “why would a vendor pay an agent $30,000 when they can pay me $4,400” umm peter that’s a stupid point of argument, why do we have quality hotels like hyatt and then we have travellodge? you can sleep at both but one’s gonna give you bedbugs! since when did cheap equate to quality?

  • bp bear
    Posted November 16, 2010 at 8:03 am 0Likes

    oh and lastly @ Peter M, you rubbish all real estate agents and paint all with the same brush, i agree there are many greedy cheesy agents who should be run out of the industry however at the same time you speak about lawyers like they’re the pride of society. Haha please try and clean up your own back yard first, the legal profession is full of scum bags too!

  • Queenslander
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 9:17 am 0Likes

    If we return this discussion to it’s core fundamentals its about whether a Solicitor properly admitted to practise law in Victoria is able to act for a client in a property transaction where the client also instructs the lawyer to advertise the property for sale. It’s this function of the lawyer placing an advertisement or series of advertisements on instructions from a client that seems to be somewhat contentious.

    I assume that everyone accepts that a lawyer can act for a client in any commercial or property matter in relation to negotiation of price as well as terms and conditions relating to the transaction so any discussion around that seems redundant. Please correct me if I am wrong or if you think I have oversimplified that issue.

    It seems clear that the relevant Victorian legislation does not require a Solicitor to have a Real Estate Agrents Licence if they are performing the usual functions of a lawyer. So by necessity, this discussion of “Functions” should be the key area. Surprisingly, no-one has really gone into much detail on it despite the voluminous exchanges on this thread. It has been mentioned that the legislation does not pick it up specifically.

    So, a lawyer can be instructed by a client who wants to sell property to negotiate the terms and conditions of sale and communicate to the buyer or the buyer’s lawyer what price is required for the property. The lawyer can draft the contract and do what is necessary to effect a transfer of title in accordance with the client’s instructions and the terms of the contract. A lawyer can instruct a valuer to undertake a proper valuation of the property so that the most appropriate selling price can be detirmined and can certainly discuss with the client the commercial reality of not starting a negotiation from the point at which you wish to eventually arrive.

    Why does everyone assume that a lawyer cannot, upon instructions from a client, place some advertisements notifying potential buyers that the property is for sale? (a side issue is also why so many contributers seem to think that there is such a mystic art to the drafting of such copy particularly when the style of real estate advertisements is frequently the subject of widespread and comedic derision, but I digress).

    A lawyer must place advertisements for Probate purposes. A lawyer places advertisments on instruction from clients for any number of reasons associated with the normal functions of the lawyer – liquor licensing applications, compliance with requirements of any number of applications clients might be making in which a lawyer’s assistance is sought etc.

    Why does the placement of advertisments in association with a property transaction suddenly mean that the lawyer is no longer performing the normal functions of a lawyer?

    What function, apart from this contentious placing of advertisments, is asserted to be one which is a Real Estate Agent’s function that is outside the normal service offered by Solicitors for hundreds of years?

    It is my understanding that if a Government intends to remove the rights someone previously or currently enjoys, that needs to be done quite specifically. The Victorian legislation, rather than specifically removing any rights, quite clearly preserves those rights in the case of Solicitors.

    I understand the emotion behind the debate, much of which stems from Peter’s strategy of highlighting what he sees as shortcomings in the Real Estate Industry, but when you dispassionately boil it down to the key issue, I fail to see what all of the fuss is about. The REIV have let this go on for 8 years because they know full well that, at law, Peter is right and no doubt they have advice to that effect or they would not, after investigating LRE, have issued a statement in writing that they would be taking no further action. The back flip on that position is because, I assume, Peter wants clarity and certainty about his business operations moving forward, a publically unimpeachable platform and has relentlessly ridiculed the ridiculous disparity between the REIV’s public position and their written statements to Peter in order to get them to take action so their claims can be properly ventilated and decided upon in Court.

    It’s a courageous move that I cannot help but respect. It appears to be born out of a confidence and conviction that the LRE position is right and that LRE offers a solution that should be in the mix when Joe Public decides how they want to sell their house without having it derided, denigrated and defamed by the incumbents in the real estate industry. No everyone gets their day in Court.

    I somehow fail to see how the REIV is going to convince a Judge that the legislation prohibits a Solicitor placing advertisements on instruction from a client as part of a legal process just because the process relates to the transfer of real estate.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 11:41 am 0Likes

    The system doesn’t appear to be accepting my comments any more.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 11:47 am 0Likes

    “Estate agents are permitted to do no more than fill in the blanks of specified documents. They are not permitted to write any additional terms or conditions into any contract. Only the lawyer is permitted to perform all of the legal work associated with real estate transactions.”

    Who wrote this piece of estate agent heresy? None other than the law firm that represents most of the real estate franchises in Victoria!

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 11:51 am 0Likes

    I’ve worked out the problem, the system won’t allow the link to be uploaded.

    To see the article, go to the website of Mason Sier Turnbull, and do a search on “Agents Beware of Special Conditions”

    It’s a must read!

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 12:17 pm 0Likes

    You are getting paranoid Peter. 🙂 There are spam filters activated on most blogs and your comment have obviously activated those filters. Nothing sinister

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 1:02 pm 0Likes

    And that’s your response to my postings is it Glenn?

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 1:07 pm 0Likes

    Here’s a little conundrum to which Greg Vincent may wish to direct his sharp legal mind.

    If MST are right, and estate agents are prohibited from inserting special conditions into contracts, does that mean that the REIV has engaged in acts of misleading a deceptive conduct by encouraging its members to commit criminal offences against Section 2.2.2 of the Legal Profession Act by providing them with a set of special conditions specifically for the purpose of inserting them into offers prepared for unsuspecting purchasers? And where does Peter Lowenstern, the Corporate Solicitor for the REIV stand on this?

    And if a real estate negotiates a contract, and inserts special conditions, would that not put the estate agent in breach of the Conveyancers Act? And who enforces the Conveyancers Act in Victoria? Oh yes, that’s right…

  • Tatiana Mijalica
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 2:06 pm 0Likes

    Peter, congratulations on your new real estate licence!

    https://online.justice.vic.gov.au/cav/bla-estate-agent-partial-extract?orgnum=104625&mode=E&result_page=1

    You raise some interesting questions!

    Just wondering whether you will be looking to join the REIV now and take these issues up with Peter Lowenstein/REIV directly as a member of the institute?

  • Queenslander
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 2:08 pm 0Likes

    I’m a potential Queensland Master Franchisee for Lawyers Real Estate, hence my interest in this topic. I should get that out there early I suppose. I am also an individual and my personal approach my differ from Peter’s even though we are sympatico on the important areas. I relaise the legislation the system will operate under up here is different, but I am limiting my comments to Victoria for now, although I am of the opinion that the same broad arguments will apply in this jurisdiction.

    The ONLY function in a real estate transaction that the real estate agents and their representative bodies seem to take issue with is the advertising – however what is being done is an exercise in semantics. I say Advertising and Negotiation, they say Marketing and Sales. A Donkey wearing a pretty straw hat with a flower in it is still a Donkey.

    The REIV would have you believe that the exorbitant commissions charged by real estate agents are justified by some mystical and exclusive skills they possess to the exclusion of all others. These hard won and rare abilities enable an agent to acheive the highest possible price for a property and protect the interests of consumers like a walking, talking Swiss Army Knife of Skill and Respectability. And yet how many times have sellers been told when confronted with a disappointing response to a listing that you “have to meet the market”? Agents are very clear that the market will only pay what the market will pay. And yet, when it suits them, they would have you believe that they have access to some sort of Jedi Mind Tricks that enable them to achieve feats of selling genius mere mortals (who have not had what one poster in this thread admits is pretty basic and easy training) could never hope to acheive.

    So, although an agent has no special skills that distinguish them from the average competent commercial/property lawyer, they do have some rather glaring limitations. Estate agents are permitted to do no more than fill in the blanks of specified documents. They are not permitted to write any additional terms or conditions into any contract.

    And as Peter has pointed out, this is the advice of an emminent Victrorian Law Firrm who advise people in this industry. I too will be interested to see how the REIV respond to this apparent conundrum for them in distributing their “How to Break the Law” kits to agents in Victoria.

    Only the lawyer is permitted to perform all of the legal work associated with real estate transactions. So consumers are paying a premium in the real estate agents’ commssion for what special skills or ability exactly? Please explain it to me again.

    Surely you’re not suggesting that this magic ingredient that means I need a Real Estate Agent’s License is the retention of professional photographers and the writing of copy that makes most people snort coffee over their keyboards when they are overcome by paroxysms of laughter at the cheesy and ridiculous hyberbole in most real estate agent drafted ads? Is that the “function of a real estate agent” that I’m not permitted to perform without a license? Art direction and Creative writing?

    Real Estate Training is more about winning listings (by hook or by crook), obtaining advertising budgets out of your clients (to promote yourselves and your brand), conditioning sellers to accept offers that are less than the “appraisal” you gave them in order to “win” the listing in the first place etc (and don’t get me started on real estate agent “appraisals”). The rest of it (about trust accounts, negotiation skills, ethics, the legal aspects of the transaction, running the office etc) is something I think us property and commercial solicitors have covered pretty well thanks. How does this training and the associated licensing apply to me as a Lawyer acting on the instructions of my client?

    Being a real estate agent seems to require that REIV members drink the Coolaid and blindly buy into the self-serving mantras that have supported and protected your sheltered workshop for so many years.

    Seriously, all of your angst and self righteous indignation are just pointless. As a Lawyer, I can place ads for a client, I can negotiate a contract for a client, I can advise my client on commercial aspects of a transaction including on price and related issues and I can draft and conclude the transaction and effect the transfer of ownership.

    It really is that simple. I don’t need you. I don’t need to BE you. I’m all the ME I need to be. The Victorian Supreme Court is the key, just wait and see 🙂

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 2:12 pm 0Likes

    Hi Tatiana, don’t tell anyone will you, it’ll cause too much trouble.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 2:22 pm 0Likes

    Queenslander,

    Maybe you need to speak with Peter Mericka a bit more as he now has his real estate agents license. I assume he did not do it just to pass the time of day. Maybe a law degree does not give you license to do everything!

    Why are you remaining anonymous. Peter often mocks anonymous posts. Surely you are prepared to stand by your comments rather than commenting from the shadows?

  • Queenslander
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 2:30 pm 0Likes

    Peter is a smart guy. The only reason I would get a License if I was Peter would be to break this silly lockout by http://www.realestate.com.au. I would only use it for that purpose and I would otherwise conduct my business as a solicitor as I am legally entitled to do. But Peter can comment himself on his intentions.

    I am posting anonymously because I do not want to draw the crabs just yet. The launch of LRE is in the planning phase in QLD and is not ready for that just yet. Patience grasshopper. I am not doing it to conceal my identity so as to protect myself from being associated with posts that are malicious or which personally attack anyone etc. I would like to think my posts address the key issues and attempt to draw out what I see as the errors in logic and resoning that are coming from the other side of the debate. I am entitled to commercial confidentiality and trust that the content of the posts is allowed to stand on their own merits.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 3:36 pm 0Likes

    Glenn, I had to get my estate agent’s licence because Greg Vincent had created such a fuss over my membership of REA (see above) that they wrote to me threatening to cancel my membership.

    You guys sure know how to apply the pliers to the fingers and toes of suppliers in order to prevent fair competition.

    I will not be relying on it to sell real estate.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 3:37 pm 0Likes

    Peter Ricci, I assume that there is nothing wrong with your blog and that the reason why my comments will not allow me to add hyperlinks like everyone else has something to do with a glitch, rather that moderation. Can you look into it please, as it is most inconvenient.

  • Coastal Agent
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 4:33 pm 0Likes

    Is someone actually suggesting that lawyers can negotiate??? Not from what I’ve seen in the last 18 years!

    As far as NSW is concerned, the whole real estate transaction would be much faster and painless if the lawyers were left out of the loop; instead they interfere far too much and try to show how vital they are but simply stuff the whole exercise up.

    Sorry, just stating facts!

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 4:46 pm 0Likes

    Hi Coastal Agent, you’ve come in on this too late in the discussion. But your comment does confirm the general mentality out there.

  • Queenslander
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 5:04 pm 0Likes

    Coastal Agent, you’re not stating facts, you’re stating opinion. And frankly it is at best a dubious opinion driven by what would apparently be a desire to ram contracts through for your commissions regardless of the interests of the parties. A well accepted red flag on any transaction or party is the attempted circumvention of a proper examination and vetting by a parties’ lawyer.

    It has been my experience that when a property transaction is more complicated than a paint-by-numbers childrens exercise, 99% of agents are hopelessly out of their depth, get panicky, apply too much pressure, show no finesse and become quite counter-productive by clearly being interested only in securing the payment of their commission despite having usually done little more than “win” a listing and place a few ads. The sense of entitlement can be galling. It usually aggravates both sides of the transaction who are trying to work toward a mutually acceptable outcome. By negotiating. And the things that need negotiating will always have legal implications, so that’s a bit of an issue for an agent who isn’t educated or trained to deal with those implications. Those negotiations also need then to be reflected accurately in the drafting of the contract and be worded so that they are in fact binding and not uncertain or ambiguous. We are all in agreement that the agent isn’t allowed to do that bit at all, but how do you really, sensibly, separate it from the negotiations that give rise to the agreement that is being documented?

    If its a simple transaction with no tricky bits and no special conditions the agent can, ususally, manage to get the contract mostly right. Beyond that, forget about it.

    I don’t have a lot of confidence that your style of negotiation would impress too many experienced commercial and property lawyers either by the way.

    And lastly, perhaps you have found that a lawyer might “stuff the whole exercise up” where “The Whole Exercise” means whatever ridiculous stunts are required in order to ensure the timely payment of a commssion to the agent without regard to the interests of either the buyer or seller.

  • Queenslander
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 5:25 pm 0Likes

    OK, I have asked a lot of questions along the way, but they were in the middle of lots of paragraphs with some big words so I will summarise those questions below and look forward to reading your collective and individual responses:

    1. I assume that everyone accepts that a lawyer can act for a client in any commercial or property matter in relation to negotiation of price as well as terms and conditions relating to the transaction and that lawyers are, in any manner of other transactions and scenarios, authorised to place advertisements on behalf of clients in relation to those transactions, applications, processes etc, so any discussion around that seems redundant. Please correct me if I am wrong or if you think I have oversimplified that issue.

    2. Why does everyone assume that a lawyer cannot, upon instructions from a client, place some advertisements notifying potential buyers that the property is for sale?

    3. Why does the placement of advertisments in association with a property transaction suddenly mean that the lawyer is no longer performing the normal functions of a lawyer?

    4. What function, apart from this contentious placing of advertisments, is asserted to be one which is a Real Estate Agent

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 5:37 pm 0Likes

    Ooh! Peter. It’s great to see that you’ve finally got your real estate licence but I’m interested to hear you say that you won’t be relying on it to sell real estate.

    Does this mean that you won’t be providing the services that realestate.com.au normally require under their User Terms?

    If that is so, and if REA now feel that Lawyers Real Estate is allowed to continue with an REA subscription under the business model that you were operating at the time of this initial post, then I must say that the attention within this debate now should be focussed more on how REA are setting and policing their User Terms and how they define an agent providing a “full service”.

    After all this, it would be a shame to see you becoming a Licensed Real Estate Agent (something that you obviously despise) only to find out that your business model doesn’t comply with REA’s user terms, especially with your plans to franchise Lawyers Real Estate out with Queenslander and others…

    PS: I tried to warn you about this before Peter but for some strange reason you said that you didn’t want my input…

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 6:02 pm 0Likes

    Hmm.. interesting Peter..

    REA have terms and conditions in place and you you still seem to blame agents conspiring against you that you have to actually follow the rules in place. Maybe I missed the clause that said Lawyers are exempt.

    You do realise that there are thousands of people in and associated with the industry who read this blog including senior management at all the major portals.

    Why should you be exempt and everybody else have to follow the rules that are put in place….?

    I trust that you feel that just because you now have a real estate license that even though you will not use it you are now in compliance to REA’s full terms and conditions are concerned?

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 6:16 pm 0Likes

    Queenslander,

    Are you an Accredited Property Law Specialist?

    If not, why should the public accept that you are specialist at real estate law when your own law society does not?

    If you have a license to act as a real estate agent then you have proven that you have satisfied the Governments criteria set down to sell property. If you want the standards raised, petition the government but claiming that they dont apply to you or any other lawyer because you have a law degree is just silly when your own law society recognised property specialization.

    As has already been raised in this thread there are plenty of lawyers out there who know very little about property law.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 7:36 pm 0Likes

    Glenn, there is a latent hypocrisy in your question of Queenslander. Are you suggesting that ALL real estate agents are qualified to the extent that they are the equivalent of a property lawyer, and an Accredited Specialist in property law at that?

    Let me take you up on that Glenn. I firmly believe that a law degree should be the minimum educational requirement for anyone acting as a real estate agent, and accredited speacilists should be accorded special recognition. This would ensure that consumers are not fleeced by law-persons who pretend to have expertise in areas of contract law, tort law and the other areas of law that affect real estate transactions.

    Let’s get the lay-people out of the industry and back to selling mobile phones and whitegoods.

    Let me know when you’ve become an Accredited Specialist in property law Glenn. In the meantime, please get out of the way, and let me advise my vendor clients on their legal position, the legal rights of purchasers, and the the best way to ensure that their sale can be enforced through the courts.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 7:43 pm 0Likes

    Greg, put your pliers and bolt-cutters away, and stop intimidating poor old REA.

    REA has shareholders who will benefit from an influx of new members, while real estate agents are busy building RealEstateView so that they can abandon REA and Domain in favour of their own portal.

    Lawyers Real Estate has always complied with REA’s requirements, and we have gone out of our way to satisfy them.

    Your self-interested attempts to prevent lawyers from becoming members of REA is not in the interests of consumers, REA, the REA shareholders (of which I am one) or the industry itself.

  • Queenslander
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 10:27 pm 0Likes

    Glenn Batten,

    At University I got a Credit in Property Law and a Distinction in what was then called Land Contracts, which was basically Conveyancing. I thought that was pretty good considering I was also working full time in a law firm. I was working as a 5 Year Articled Law Clerk, so from 18 years of age I worked in a law firm and was studying 3 nights a week at QUT in the CBD. I am now 40 and am really more of a corporate/commercial/IP guy these days, hence my intention of being a Master Franchisee up here rather than a Franchisee. I was, however, supervising the conveyancing paralegal in the City office of the firm I was articled to and also ran the conveyancing practise in our suburban office when we still had a scale of fees that increased with property value. At 19 I was taking a LOT of local real estate agents to lunch 3 times a week at a very well known local Hotel and even then the things they tried to influence someone they thought was young and malleable to do was hair raising. I’d go and tell the partners and they were like “Oh yes, you need to be nice and not give offence but keep your head about you or you’ll never get admitted. Learn diplomacy.” In my own practise even 5 years ago I supervised our conveyancing paralegal and developed our practise management software to handle the conveyancing process just so I wouldn’t have to worry about how it was run. I have not bothered to become an accredited speciallist because there is no economic return or client benefit in me investing the huge time committment required. I’m pretty sure though that my degree, covering Property Law, Land Contracts, Commercial Law, Torts, Civil Procedure, Trust Accounts, Accounting and Masters level Trade Practices law etc and the decade or so of exposure to this industry from the age of 18 together with a continued high level supervisory role out of necessity and involvement in more than a few extremely nasty real estate related bun fights probably equips me to run rings around whatever TAFE quailifications and Sales Guru seminars you’ve dragged yourself through before you started filling in a few contract forms and telling people its a renovators dream.

    The vast majority of lawyers who know very little about property law don’t do anything involving property law. It doesn’t seem to stop most agents.

  • Queenslander
    Posted November 30, 2010 at 10:34 pm 0Likes

    Oh, I should mention I was also a Partner in a National Firm until a couple years ago when I started my own practise, in their Property and Commercial Services Group, then the Corporate Advisory section. Very few of the lawyers ever bothered with “Specialist Accreditation” but it didn’t seem all that important to the listed clients we acted for. It seems to impress people with a very low threshold of personal education and skills far more than sophisticated buyers of legal services who can discern real expertise and experience without a spiffy little logo like the Woolmark on the letter head.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 1:47 am 0Likes

    Peter you are always entertaining with your liberal dash of paranoia, contradictions and foot in mouth.

    You have gone and waved another big red flag for REA to look into now. You can’t blame Greg for what comes out of your own mouth/keyboard!

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 1:57 am 0Likes

    Queenslander

    So the short answer was a … No!

    A lot quicker to type if you did not want to get all defensive about it. 🙂

    You dont have to justify to me that you know your way around property law. Thats what RPL is for in the licensing process

    If you are just going to hold the master franchise you probably wont need a license like Peter anyway. Should be all pretty easy with all those sellers jumping over themselves to deal with a lawyer instead of real estate agent.

    Care to share what a master franchise in this business opportunity is going for?

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 5:26 am 0Likes

    Glenn, an example of paranoia is real estate agents panicking at the thought that better qualified people may enter their industry, creating a genuinely competitive environment and thinking that it spells the end.

    A further example is bringing pressure to bear on service providers in an effort to prevent them from offering their services to competitors (anti-competitive behaviour is generally frowned upon in most quarters, and there are even laws against it).

    Big red flag? REA conducting a CIA-like investigation perhaps? Glenn, come back to earth.

    What do you think of my proposal that a law degree should be the minimum educational standard for anyone who will be representing consumers in the legal transaction of negotiating the sale or purchase of real estate and the preparation and execution of real estate contracts?

  • bp bear
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 6:57 am 0Likes

    Peter why don’t you try and live in peace? You’re an old man now, do you really want to be tapping out all this nonsense all over blogs, facebook, twitter and other social media for the rest of your days? Like most lawyers you sure love a good fight! I suppose that good fight culture goes hand in hand with billable hours!

    If you want to be a activist then don’t offer your services because it makes you look like an opportunist.

    If you want to be a business man then learn some business skills, like, don’t rubbish any people because it reflects poorly on you and your company. Upgrade your website to a professional standard with professional photography, thereby presenting your client’s homes in the best light (presentation presentation presentation). Basic stuff Peter. Gosh the time you spend spouting all your rubbish, clocking up lengthy replies all over the internet could be spent building your brand, and trailing a path from quality results rather than utter utter nonsense. Get A Life Bro!

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 10:14 am 0Likes

    Panic..? A genuinely competitive environment…? CIA like investigation…?

    The sad thing is you really believe these delusions of grandeur which makes it all the more amusing. Agents don’t meet in a secret brotherhood to plan your demise. You have been reading too much Dan Brown.

    This may come as surprise for someone with your level of hubris but some agents pity you, some laugh at you, some probably despise you, most have no clue who you are but I don’t know there is too many who fear you.

    I can’t speak for anybody else but I have been well entertained by your fumbling antics especially your last foot in mouth episode after the hypocrisy of gaining your real estate license.

    Best of luck with Lawyers Real Estate and let me know when you earn that beer I promised 🙂

  • Queenslander
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 10:27 am 0Likes

    Glenn – “RPL in the licensing process”? Really? I bet that is some serious brain bending stuff hey. Yeah, you know it all now. You’re all over it like white on rice. Like a fat kid on a cupcake.

    Lets not bother discussing whether Lawyers or Real Estate Agents are better educated, trained and skilled in the legal aspects of a real estate sale. Really, its a moot point.

    Focus, rather, on answering the very clear and specific questions I have set out above. Those are the key issues here.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 11:16 am 0Likes

    BP Bear, you ask, “Peter why don

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 6:41 pm 0Likes
  • Peter Mericka
    Posted December 1, 2010 at 7:06 pm 0Likes

    And which part of that article was of interest to you Greg, the article itself or my comment immediately beneath it?

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted December 2, 2010 at 9:17 am 0Likes

    Who on earth (maybe a lawyer) would take on a franchise for $4,400.00 per deal?

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted December 2, 2010 at 11:43 am 0Likes

    Greg Vincent, if a lawyer cannot negotiate the sale of real estate, then equally the lawyer cannot negotiate the purchase of real estate either. Who should represent the purchaser?

    Should every real estate transaction involve a vendor’s agent and a buyer’s agent just to get the negotiations done, before the lawyers shuffle their papers, with the clients being referred back to their respective estate agents for further and ongong negotiations?

    Or is there someone in this foursome that the vendor or purchaser can eliminate in order to save costs?

  • George Konidaris
    Posted December 2, 2010 at 12:58 pm 0Likes

    The Real Estate industry should take Lawyers Real Estate on the chin, so to speak, as did the lawyers, when conveyancers with no (or considerably less) legal training/qualifications, were permitted to operate in direct competition with lawyers who once had a monopoly on conveyancing. Whilst the lower conveyancing fees through comeptition against less qualified competitors, has helped most consumers in reducing conveyancing fees, it did little to increase the services provided to them especially by lawyers as many lawyers found it uncommercial to devote proper time to their files based on their cost structures. Consumers also often failed to understand the difference between the conveyancers service as opposed services provided by lawyers. The services offered by Peter Mericka seem to me to not be the same as a real estate agency. For example, Real Estate agents have a particular expertise in valuing, marketing and selling properties through their marketing campaign which appears beyond the services offerred by Lawyers Real Estate. It seems that Lawyers Real Estate offers a service more focused upon legal services and leaves much of the leg work and price fixing to the vendors. What is particularly telling is that Lawyers Real Estate advises their vendors to obtain an independent valuation. Something which an estate agent would very seldomly do when seeking to fix a price for a property as the price fixing or valuing, is considered as part of an agent’s role. As to whether a consumer is better or worse off going to an estate agent or to Lawyers Real Estate, will be debated until the end of time however a consumer should be free to choose which service suits him or her best. I would have thought that Lawyers Real Estate, in order to avoid all the controversy, would have obtained its full estage agents licence but Peter Mericka seems confident that he is not in breach of the estate agents licensing rules/legislatoin and does not need an estate agent’s licence. It will be interesting to see whether the Vic Supreme Court agrees with him.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted December 2, 2010 at 2:19 pm 0Likes

    Hi George,

    You won’t placate the real estate agents easily, because they know more than you do about my sale process, and they fear what will happen when lawyers demonstrate that real estate sales can be done openly and honestly.

    For example, your comments on valuations (you call it “price fixing” which is something quite different) is rather naive. I criticise real estate agents for valuing their own clients’ properties because of the conflict of interests involved. A person who has a pecuniary interest in their client’s sale should not enter into a time-critical agency with that client and then purport to advise the client as to the value of the property and whether or not an offer is worth accepting.

    I would have no problem with a rule stating that a real estate agent must have an independent real estate agent (i.e. one from a competing real estate agency) providing the appraisal, but real estate agents would be most upset, because they know that their brethren would fiddle with the valuation. If such a law were introduced you would see real estate agents rushing to insist that vendors should obtain independent valuations!

    The ability of real estate agents to “market” property is another myth. REA and Domain took that role away from estate agents yonks ago. Any real estate agent who is not on these portals is an ex-real estate agent (just like the famed “Norwegian Blue parrot). Marketing beyond that is simply advertising the agent at the expense of the client.

    What you’ve failed to pick up on George is the fact that real estate agents know that they have nothing to offer in response to lawyers who can do more for less, and do it better and quicker.

  • George Konidaris
    Posted December 2, 2010 at 4:09 pm 0Likes

    Hi Peter, thanks for your response. My use of the word “price fixing” did not mean to have any sinnister connotation and it was an innappropriate use of the term. What I meant was that the Real estate agent as part of the service, is obliged to provide a vlue or price range when filling out the sale authority and to advise a vendor as to what the agent believes to be a a fair and reasonable market price. We all know the problems with over and under quoting to secure listings and or to attract interest in a property etc which I was not intending to address, but I was simply making the point that you do not seem to provide this “commercial” advice which is distinctly different from what agents do.
    You seem to suggest that because you don’t provide this advice, that you will achieve a better price than what an agent will. I am not sure this is proposition is correct.
    All brokers, whether they be stock brokers, business brokers and estate agents etc mainly charge a fee/commission for sales as opposed to charging a service fee irrespective of the outcome. This practice is quite entrenched in commerce and has been for a long period of time. To say that this practice is intrinsically a conflict of interest as you claim, means that you are trying to turn on its head, years of what has been considered commercially acceptable practice.
    In my view, the success and fairness of the system boils down to the agent acting ethically and having the right experience ans skills, as do most professions and services.
    You seem to suggest that agents are unethical on the whole and condemn an entire industry because of your perception of the general ethics (or lack thereof) of estate agents.
    A vendor is always free to seek an independent valuation if they don’t trust the agent but ultimately, it comes down to a vendor feeling that the agent is doing the right thing by the vendor. Just because there are some bad apples, does that mean the system is intrisically or systemically corrupt?
    It seems that you believe that selling a property is simply a matter of placing an ad on line and showing potential buyers through the property and the property just sells itself. You may be right but many will disagree with you. You don’t seem to place any value at all on the skill and lengths that agents go to in order to market, negotiate and otherwise facilitate a sale.

  • Robert Simeon
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 9:49 am 0Likes

    Peter – I have to agree with you and you are absolutely right!

    When you charge vendors the discounted fee of $4,400.00 all you could expect is some luck from Domain and REA marketing campaign.

    You really know very little about the machinations of what it takes to work in a highly successful and respected real estate agency. Australia’s pride themselves on their ability and we certainly don’t need to attract vendors looking for the cheapest option.

    Rather the best option to achieve the highest possible result for the vendor. I just looked at our sales in 2010 – we set 16 new street records (in a difficult market). Our online business is $2,000,000 short of recording $1 billion in database sales and we posted the highest and second highest recorded sales in 2010. As well as the highest sales recorded in 2009 and 2008.

    So don’t talk about how easy it is to sell real estate by listing on two portals – your an embarrassement when you try and think as you moonlight in real estate and a long way off (in my opinion) from being even remotely close to being acknowledged as the real deal

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 10:14 am 0Likes

    George Konidaris and George Simeon, how do you respond to the question I posed for Greg Vincent on 2 December 2010 above?

  • George Konidaris
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 12:15 pm 0Likes

    Peter, as you know, the Estate Agents Act Vic does not require a lawyer to be licensed under the Act provided he/she is carrying out the “ordinary functions” of a lawyer (s5(e). In my opinion I agree with you that this extends to negotiating any contract including contracts involving real estate as long as the “negotiation” arises from the ordinary functions of a legal practice or legal practitioner.
    So to answer your question, I believe a lawyer is within his or her rights to negotiate a real esate contract (including price), or any other contract for that matter, without having a Real Estate Licence provided it arises from a lawyer carrying out his or her “ordinary functions”.
    On the other hand, the Estate Agents Act’s objective is to regulate persons carrying on a real estate ‘business’ and it sets out what that business entails in the definition of what an estate agent does.
    Whether the exception of s5(e) extends to a lawyer being permitted to carry on what appears to be a mixed real estate business and legal practice by way of a one stop shop, I feel is not clear from the Act as it appears to me, that the Act’s purpose is to regulate a real estate business, and not to in any way, restrict a lawyer from performing what is ordinarily considered as a lawyer’s “ordinary function”.
    But you are mixing the two businesses. So does your negotiating real estate contracts arise from the “rdinary functions” of a lawyer, or does it arise from conducting an estate agency business? My inclination is that it arises from the latter. You will need to convince a court to apply a very broad definition as to what the “ordinary function” of a lawyer means to extend to negotiating contracts arising from a mixed estate agency and legal practice business, and in effect, to read down the objective of the Act to regulate estate agency businesses to avoid falling foul of the Act.

  • George Konidaris
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 1:08 pm 0Likes

    Peter, further to my post above, the Act also seeks to, among other things, apply to a person who holds himself out to the public of undertaking the business of selling or disposing of real estate on behalf of another person. Your mixed business seems to include the performance of this function. It will be a pretty long stretch for this conduct to be considered as the “ordinary function” of a legal practitioner for the purpose of s5(2)(e).

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 1:28 pm 0Likes

    So George, given that it is my proper function as a lawyer to negotiate the sale of my clients’ properties, can you nominate the functions for which I must have an estate agent’s licence? Is it the function of uploading photos to web portals? the function of answering telephone calls? or perhaps the function of ordering signage?

    I see the negotiation as the only function that requires special expertise, with the rest being merely clerical functions.

    Are you suggesting that the need for an estate agent’s licence arises upon the “mixing” of the clierical functions of ordering signs and uploading photos with the crucial legal function of negotiating the sale that makes all the difference?

  • George Konidaris
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 4:00 pm 0Likes

    Peter, I think you are missing the point, or maybe I am as you have examined the relevant Acts no doubt more thoroughly than I have.

    On my cursory examination of the Act, as to whether you require a licence under the Act, you need to determine whether what you are doing is characterised as being an “estate agent” or carrying on the “business” of an “estate agent” under s4 of the Act. If you do satisfy the definition and you charge a commission for your services, or hold yourself out as carrying on an estate agent’s business, or act as an estate agent, then under s.12(1) you need a licence unless an exemption applies.

    Part of your business appears to fit within the definition of estate agent’s business so I would say it triggers the definition of estate agent.

    Insofar as to your function to negotiate a sale as a lawyer is concerned so as to exempt you under the Act, arguably that exemption arises provided that activity or function arises only in performing an “ordinary function” as a lawyer.

    If it arises from your function say as an estate agent or from your estate agent’s business, then the exception arguably won’t apply to you.

    However, there are other functons which you carry out in your estate agent’s business such as the act of selling someone’s home on their behalf for commission. This distinct function I would say is not a function of a lawyer.

    But of course, it boils down to what meaning you want to give the word “function”.

    If your position is that the function say of selling a home for someone else can be broken into smaller clerical, “functions”, and therefore each of these “functions” equates to the function of a lawyer, as lawyers perform clerical services also as do many other professions, then you may succeed in satisfying the s5(2)(e) exemption of the Act. But do these clerical functions arise “for the purpose only of carrying out the ordinary functions of an Australian legal practitioner”? I am not so sure.

  • George Konidaris
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 4:21 pm 0Likes

    PS – But then again Peter, if conveyancers are permitted to compete with lawyers for conveyancing services without having a proper understanding/training in property, contract, planning, environmental, construction, tax law etc as a lawyer is expected to have when dealing with property transactions, then perhaps the courts may take a similarly broad view when it comes to lawyers wishing to carry on the services of an estate agent.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 4:46 pm 0Likes

    George, interesting that you raise the issue of conveyancers. (As an aside, I wonder when CAV will tell me that I’m not allowed to perform “conveyancing functions” because I am not a licensed conveyancers.) But I digress.

    Let’s look at what the Act actually says:

    “estate agent or agent means any person (whether or not he carries on any other business) who exercises or carries on or advertises or notifies or states that he exercises or carries on or that he is willing to exercise or carry on or in any way holds himself out to the public as ready to undertake the business of-

    (a) selling buying exchanging letting or taking on lease of or otherwise
    dealing with or disposing of;

    (b) negotiating for the sale purchase exchange letting or taking on lease
    of or any other dealing with or disposition of;

    (c) collecting rents for-

    * * * * * any real estate or business on behalf of any other person;”

    Note that Section 4 does not confine itself to negotiating the sale of real estate, but also includes negotiating for the purchase of real estate.

    If we accept your assertion that this means that “negotiating” is a function of the estate agent in the context of a sale, then the same must hold in the context of a purchase.

    So, if negotiating for the purchase of real estate is a function of the estate agent, who can a purchaser rely on to negotiate on their behalf? You would have to conclude that real estate negotiations cannot take place unless a real estate agent is negotiating only with the purchaser directly, or the purchaser has engaged another estate agent as a buyer’s agent to negotiate on their behalf. Absurd!

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 5:03 pm 0Likes

    I should add, licensed conveyancers do not enjoy any exemption under the Estate Agents Act. This means that if negotiating, where for vendor or purchaser, is a “function” of the estate agent for which a lawyer must rely on the exemption under Section 5, then licensed conveyancers cannot negotiate on behalf of their purchaser clients.

    Can you imagine lawyers’ offices and conveyancers’ offices across Victoria having to tell purchasers, “Sorry, I know I drafted the special conditions for you, but I’m not allowed to negotiation their insertion into the contract – you’ll have to do that yourself or engage an estate agent.”

    And what would the Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee have to say about a lawyer who referred their purchaser client to an estate agent, only to have the estate agent negotiate terms that were unenforceable, causing loss to the purchaser, resulting in a claim being made against the lawyer for negligence?

    And there are still plenty more rabbits to chase through this warren!

  • George Konidaris
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 5:40 pm 0Likes

    Peter we are in heated agreement that a lawyer can negotiate a sale on behalf of a purchaser or vendor as long as it arises from his/her ordinary function as a legal practitioner (as opposed to acting as an estate agent or business broker etc).
    If it arises say as a function of another business (such as an estate agent), then the exemption (arguably) won’t apply.
    Also, I feel your carrying out the function of selling real estate for your clients (which includes the negotiation of the sale price but also advertising etc), is not an ordinary function of a solicitor as contemplated by the Act. But I may be wrong.
    So I think you may have some problems there but I am looking forward with interest to the outcome of the CAV’s case.
    I think the word “only” in s5(2)(e) of the exemption means something.
    As for conveyancers, don’t get me started there Peter.
    As for agents amending/completing contracts of sale of real estate, sale of business agreements and leases, they do so at their peril.
    Most often problems with contracts are either to expensive to fight over and so they sail through one way or the other or the client is oblivious that he or she has been dudded but some problems in contractual problems do stick and end up in claims.
    Agents should ensure they have their professional indemnity liability dues paid up especially if they engage in contract preparation.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 7:25 pm 0Likes

    George, let’s make it even more basic. As a lawyer, I am instructed by my client to order a “For Sale” sign and to instruct the contractor to erect it on the client’s vacant land. Am I required by law to refuse to accept such instructions?

    Similarly, my client instructs me to post a listing on the internet to attract attention to her property. Am I required by law to refuse to accept such instructions?

    My client instructs me to receive telephone calls from potential purchasers, and to relay to her the content of these clls. Am I required by law to refuse to accept such instructions?

    My client instructs me to approach the lawyer to negotiate the contract – we agree that the law does not require me to refuse this instruction.

    Of the above instructions, which am I required by law to refuse? Why does the law require me to refuse to follow my client’s instructions and to advise her to incur a massive commission liability from a real estate agent.

    What happened to my client’s right to instruct me, and to my right as a lawyer to comply with my client’s instructions? Why must a TAFE trained estate agent interpose between me and my client?

    Is this the way the legal profession is headed? Or are we already at this point?

  • George Konidaris
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 10:50 pm 0Likes

    Peter, if a client instructs you to sell a property and to market it etc, and you are running a legal practice, not a mixed legal and estate agency business, then your conduct is more likely to fall under the exception of s5(2)e. However, as soon as you tout your services and market them as a real estate agency and you are perceived as running an estate agency, and people come to you for real estate services, then you are less likely to fall under the exception. I am not saying that’s fair but that is how I interpret the Act.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted December 4, 2010 at 7:45 am 0Likes

    George, your reasoning is flawed. First, you have to determine those “functions” that are clearly “functions of an estate agent”. Until you can identify such “functions” you cannot talk of “mixed business”.

    There is only one “function” that is specifically mentioned in Section 4, and that is “negotiate” and we both agree that negotiation is a function of the lawyer. So what is left?

    I have pointed out to you that the only “functions” left are clerical tasks, for which one needs no special qualifications.

    What is the essence of a real estate business? What is the funadmental “function” of the real estate agent?

  • George Konidaris
    Posted December 4, 2010 at 5:50 pm 0Likes

    Maybe it is flawed Peter and for your sake I hope it is.

    I don’t see how you have determined that section 4 prescribes one function only as I see several. For example a person in the business of collecting property rents on behalf of another seems to be a function (c). A person buying or selling or disposing of property on behalf of another seems to be another function (a). Then (b) prescribes the function of ‘negotiating’ which I believe is the one which you are referring to.

    As I said before Peter, I have only had a cursory look at the Act and no doubt you have examined it together with any applicable case law more thoroughly than I (and have probably obtained counsel’s advice on this issue aswell). I am looking forward with interest to the outcome of your case and wish you well.

    I am curious Peter, is it simply a matter of principle that you refuse to obtain your estate agents licence or is there another reason apart from the expense and inconvenience of completing the course and getting it.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted December 4, 2010 at 7:03 pm 0Likes

    George,

    He did get his real estate agents license! Peter is what he claims to despise.

    https://online.justice.vic.gov.au/cav/bla-estate-agent-partial-extract?orgnum=104625&mode=E&result_page=1

    Despite his first claim he would never get a license and his second claim that he would only get a license after winning the case he was actually obtaining his real estate license anyway. His rhetoric was contradictory to his actions. There is a word for that isn’t there ?

    I don’t think he counted on us finding out about it 🙂

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted December 4, 2010 at 9:29 pm 0Likes

    Glenn, you’re spoiling what was an interesting discussion. Please go away.

    George, you’ve failed to examine the situation in a dispassionate manner, and you haven’t considered all of the implications of your argument.

    As I have pointed out to you, what applies in relation to an estate agent who acts for a vendor applies equally to an estate agent who acts for a purchaser. Therefore, you have to examine the “mixed business” of acting as lawyer for the purchaser and acting as buyer’s agent.

    Now, try to distill from whatever it is that makes a buyer’s agent a buyer’s agent, remove the functions of the lawyer, and examine what’s left.

    Well, George, what is left?

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted December 4, 2010 at 10:06 pm 0Likes

    ha ha ha…. It’s always kind of fun to remind you of your own hypocrisy. This time it had the added benefit of bringing George up to speed. It must be frustrating you can’t get him to agree with your way of thinking because now you have started your derogatory remarks to him as well. I knew it would not take too long.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted December 5, 2010 at 9:36 am 0Likes

    Glenn, you can heckle all you want when the serious discussion is over, just control yourself for a short time. I want to keep George on point and keep the discussion flowing.

  • educator 2
    Posted December 5, 2010 at 10:41 am 0Likes

    Interesting Peter that you returned to this blog. Is it wise to be discussing your case and your arguement when the matter is before a Court? I think not. Also if you are so sure about your view that you do not need a licence why have you taken out a licence? Like Glen batten has shown.

    is it just insurance for you if or when you lose.

    and also if you have an agents licence how can you do conveyancing I thought that was not permitted under teh conveyancing act?

    really isnt the argument here in teh wording of the exemption “the ordinary functions of a lawyer” ???? wouldnt it be that when a ordinary lawyer gets involved in negotiating for a party in a contract the other party already exists? or has come forward. That is different to advertising for a client who wants to sell out to the open market by whatever means and it is your advertsing as such that finds the other party to commence the negotiations.

    That is the crucial difference here that means teh exemption doesnt apply to you and that is why not one other lawyer has an office that looks like an agent nor sells or advertises real estate to the market openly in search for a purchaser and then begins to negoatiate.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted December 5, 2010 at 11:14 am 0Likes

    OK, on the issue of the estate agent’s licence, I enquired into what estate agents have to know in order to operate as estate agents. As a result, I found that I could satisfy ALL of the training units on the basis of RPL – no study necessary because as a lawyer I already knew more than any estate agent needs to know.

    It was then just a matter of applying for the licence. The licence looks pretty (it even has a picture of a kangaroo on it), but it’s of no use to me because my practising certificate covers everything.

    So now, if Greg Vincent or Glen Batton or other estate agents say that having an estate agent’s licence means something I can confirm that I have one and that it really doesn’t mean much at all. Why doesn’t it mean much? Because it does not allow me to negotiate contracts (I need my lawyer’s practising certificate for that), and it doesn’t authorise me to order signs or to take telephone calls (any dummy can do those things). The only thing it allows me to do is to charge massive commissions pursuant to the Estate Agents Act, and I don’t want to do that.

    As for the matters before the Court, I am not discussing the Court matter at all. I am discussing Consumer Affairs Victoria’s approach to enforecement and why I feel that it is a little one-sided.

    To get the discussion back on track, let’s examine the question I have put to George:

    “Distill from whatever it is that makes a buyer

  • educator 2
    Posted December 5, 2010 at 11:30 am 0Likes

    and the response to your ordinary functions as opposed to the “ordinary functions of a lawyer” could you answer that part too or do you coneveniently divert from that one too?

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted December 5, 2010 at 3:03 pm 0Likes

    Educator 2 you have no credibility in this discussion. First, you remain anonymous – a cowardly way to participate in a discussion. Second, I should not have to educate someone who claims to be an “educator”. Your reference to my providing conveyancing services while hold an estate agent’s licence confirms that you do not have a grasp of the basic legislation.
    You’re in the same category as Glenn Batten, a mere sidelines heckler. Please stay out of the discussion as you’re only spoiling it.

    I am participating in this discussion because it is interesting. However, the constant “background noise” created by you, Glenn Batten, Robert Simeon and Greg Vincent has a dampening effect on it, rendering it boring and pointless.

  • educator 2
    Posted December 5, 2010 at 8:17 pm 0Likes

    thank you again for another positive contirbution. when I or Glenn or robert or greg get you into a corner, show your hypocrisy, put you under scrutiny you come up short and turn to abuse.

    re conveyancing and estate agent read this section form the conveyancers act;

    Licensee not to act as conveyancer and estate agent

    50. Licensee not to act as conveyancer and estate agent

    (1) A licensee must not carry out any conveyancing work in relation to a
    particular transaction if the licensee is acting, or is to act, as an estate
    agent for a party to the transaction.

    Penalty: 240 penalty units.

    (2) A client of a licensee is not required to pay any amount in respect of
    anything done by the licensee in contravention of subsection (1).

    also please comment on this section of the estate agents act;

    38. Unlicensed person pretending to be licensed as agent

    Every person not being a licensed estate agent who keeps up or exhibits on or
    near his office house or place of business or anywhere else or allows to
    remain unobliterated any sign writing painting or other mark implying that the
    office house or place of business is that of a person licensed to carry on the
    business of an estate agent shall be guilty of an offence.

    Now Peter M please respond to the questions I posed as you have asked others in this blog.. no more rhetoric please from you its just dampening boring and pointless… answer the hard questions.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted December 5, 2010 at 9:35 pm 0Likes

    Sorry, but Educator 2 but you remain anonymous; and this, in combination with your rudeness and ignorance of the law, is just intolerable.

    I will leave you guys (Educator 2, Greg Vincent, Glenn Batten and Robert Simeon) to continue this thread on your own.

    George, I am keen to hear your response to the question I put to you above if you don’t mind, as I value your input. Can you please email me at peter@lawyersrealestate.com.au or ring me at my office on 03 9726 2702 or my mobile 0438 82 1963.

    Anyone else who would like to discuss the issues in a constructive way is also invited to contact me on the email address or telephone numbers above. Alternatively, please feel free to comment on the Lawyers Real Estate Facebook page.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted December 5, 2010 at 10:05 pm 0Likes

    George, thank you for your input into this discussion it has been very interesting.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted December 6, 2010 at 1:38 am 0Likes

    Thanks George, you showed he could not stop his bad manners even from another lawyer when they did not 100% agree with his opinions.

    In this subject I think he is too emotionally and financially invested in this to see it with the clarity he should.

  • George Konidaris
    Posted December 6, 2010 at 12:39 pm 0Likes

    Thanks gentleman for permitting me to discuss this issue on your forum and thanks Peter for the exchange of ideas and argument.

    It has been interesting and I do wish you all well.

    Since Peter has now obtained his licence and is now subject to the Estate Agent’s Act licensing provisions, it will be interesting to see whether CAV will continue with its prosecution.

    Peter probably, among other things, enjoys “stirring the pot” so to speak and no doubt, honestly believes that what he is doing in offering his one stop shop services to the public, does (or did) not offend the Act when he operated without an estate agent’s licence.

    Morally, I can appreciate Peter’s argument and position that he should have every right to carry out the services of a one stop shop estate agency/legal/conveyancing practice given his legal training, experience and qualifications without an estate agent’s licence, but whether he has breached the licensing provisions of the Act in doing so, morality and/or fairness for that matter, may not be considerred all that relevant.

  • Glenn Batten
    Posted December 6, 2010 at 1:27 pm 0Likes

    George,

    My argument is that through the licensing process he had to prove he had that experience to justify the license. If he was found lacking then he would have had needed to do additional training.

    Now according to Peter he was able to satisfy all licensing requirements through the RPL process. I doubt that surprises anybody. I am sure most people believe that he personally has the technical skills to satisfy the license.

    Peter’s position is always about himself but there are other lawyers out there that have had no experience other than the subjects they studied at university. Giving a blanket acceptance of all lawyers the right to act as an estate agent to me is wrong as why should a lawyer thats never been involved in real world property transaction at any level be given automatic rights to act as a real estate agent?

    As Peter as proven, if you have the skills and experience gaining a license is a relatively simple matter.

    You must know many lawyers that have never ever been involved in property matters. Would you trust that every one of them had the skills to sell your home? When you bought or sold your own property did you use an agent or one of these lawyers ?

  • educator2
    Posted December 6, 2010 at 1:45 pm 0Likes

    Im not sure how Peter can say im either rude or ignorant as i used his own words to me in the previous blog. secondly im not sure how I could be ignorant when I have cut and pasted the law on two issues in my blog.

    Peters credibility (if he had any) falls away firstly by getting a licence he says he has only got to keep listing and secondly when any one corners him on an issue and it gets too hot in the kitchen he backs away.

    I guess we will all watch and wait the outcome of his case. Thanks for the qld input George.

  • George Konidaris
    Posted December 6, 2010 at 2:11 pm 0Likes

    You make a good point Glen and prudence would suggest that anyone whether he/she be a lawyer, conveyancer etc, who wishes to open an estate agency business or one stop shop business, should also obtain an estate agent’s licence for the reason you have suggested.

    But no system is perfect and most licensing systems rely upon the integrity of each person who accepts the license or enters the profession (as the case may be) as does the legal profession.

    In fact a lawyer takes an oath when entering the profession to act ethically and fulfill his or her duties to the client and court etc.

    A lawyer who has a practising certificate is entitled to give legal advice and act in all areas of legal practice including areas of law where that lawyer has no expertise or experience at all.

    But a lawyer before accepting a client’s matter, needs to ensure that he is capable of discharging his or her duty to the client to the standard required.

    A lawyer acting ethically generally, ought not engage in the practice Peter has engaged in, if he or she lacks the relevant knowledge and or experience and if he or she does, then he/she is expected to fulfill that duty at a competent standard and will be held or expected to meet that standard.

    This requirement is usually enough incentive for most lawyers not to engage in an area of legal practice without proper experience and expertise.

    Peter’s business model varies in one important aspect to the model of most estate agency business and that is, he does not give nor purport to give property value advice when it comes to a vendor setting a price. In fact it is the setting of the price function by agents which is usually the most controversial aspect of estate agent’s practice and where agents come under most scrutiny and criticism.

    This is an important distinction from what most agents do. Whether Peter’s business model is THAT different to a typical estate agency business so as to obviate him or his franchisees from holding a licence will be ineteresting to see.

  • Vic
    Posted December 10, 2010 at 11:55 pm 0Likes

    Greg,

    What did you start here?

    I have a real problem with lawyers believing that the only requirement to represent a vendor in selling their property is to have a knowledge of the law. Some of the long winded responses and legal hargy bargy by both you Peter and Queenslander, would have me run fast to a plain speaking real estate agent.

    Peter, I previously argued in your favour on this blog because I believed that you seriously had something principled to offer. You lose me when you say that you just got your real estate license simply to meet REA’s criteria. You have sold your soul to partner with one of the sharks of the industry that you purport to abhor.

    Marketing in this industry is more than Sales and Advertising as any good professional would tell you. Maybe spend a bit of time with Glenn B (who I believe has offered to have a beer with you) and Robert S before you launch nationally. You may learn something about marketing.

    ps by the way I concur with your comments to educator 2- sorry E2 🙂

  • Cindy Cooper
    Posted September 27, 2011 at 5:34 pm 0Likes

    There is tabled a change that will allow all legal practitioners to sell real estate; it is expected soon.

    It’ll make all this discussion redundant.

    A long overdue change, too. Like in other countries: exemption and recognition of status.

    Same exemption as for migration agents etc.

    Just a question of timing now.

    Worth thinking about, you see. Why not.

  • Greg Vincent
    Posted September 27, 2011 at 10:58 pm 0Likes

    Cindy, it won’t be redundant whilst the major portals require the person uploading listings to be a licensed real estate agent.

    That’s the main reason why PM chose to become something that he is so passionately opposed to.

    Granted there is a Paradigm Shift unfolding and change is inevitable but for the moment the T&C’s of the major portals will continue to have an impact on the way real estate is sold. (ie: for now anyway)

  • George Rousos
    Posted October 1, 2011 at 11:31 pm 0Likes

    Hey Greg,

    My office received a letter from the NSW Minister for Fair Trading on August 25 and you might like to know, that the National Occupational Licensing Task Force will be considering as part of its deliberations on national licensing for property agents, that lawyers be permitted to sell real estate in their capacity as lawyers and not as real estate agents.

    They are also busy harmonising conduct requirements for real estate agents in respect to auctions, commissions, agency agreements and price disclosure.

    And it gets even more interesting, that the workgroup who are looking at harmonising the conduct requirements are also considering introducing independant valuations in lease and sale contracts aswell.

    National Licensing long term may even endup being controlled by ASIC, because of the different state laws and juristictions, and the fact it will be another mish mash to start with !

  • suburban lawyer
    Posted December 9, 2011 at 3:52 pm 0Likes

    well the chickens have come home to roost

    mr mericka had his two days before judge Sifris on 6th and 7th December 2011 being prosecuted by Consumer Affairs

    cant wait for judgement

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted March 14, 2012 at 6:54 pm 0Likes

    Those of you who have been salivating at the thought of seeing me before the Supreme Court on judgement day are cordially invited to attend: http://reic.com.au/blogs/australian_real_estate_blog/archive/2012/03/14/consumer-affairs-victoria-v-peter-john-mericka-ors.aspx

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted March 14, 2012 at 6:56 pm 0Likes

    That includes you Benji – but this time, look me in the eye when I speak to you.

  • PaulD
    Posted March 14, 2012 at 7:37 pm 0Likes

    So who pays the costs ? – It must have mounted up. And if you win – has it all been worth it ? – just interested that’s all, the decision will have no impact on my life whatever.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted March 14, 2012 at 9:16 pm 0Likes

    Hi PaulD, it’s cost us around $500,000 so far, and we’re mortgaged to the hilt.

  • Ryan
    Posted March 19, 2012 at 6:34 pm 0Likes

    Yawn…..
    How privileged are we, invited to attend a public court by Mr. Mericka…. I couldn’t help but wipe the tears away as I read his latest blog posting. Ohh the injustice, the outcry of support, the public advocate who is being bullied….. Normally I am joining in with Mr. Mericka’s rants, frothing at the mouth and my fist thumping on the desk…

    GET REAL

    Judgement will be delivered, Mr. Mericka will be ignored and the wheels of the real estate industry will continue to roll on. There is no outcry from the legal profession, why, he is a lost cause. Mr. Mericka now has now ever so slightly changed his tune seeking sympathy; crying poor, staff leaving…. reality check in isle 4 please…

    1. Mr. Mericka picked a fight,

    2. Picked a fight with the State Government, (lots of money, plenty of resources)

    3. The Director of Consumer Affairs called his bluff, gulp

    Now a lawyer should understand when you pick a fight you would assume all possible situations should be assessed. Especially what happens to the people around you. Feeling sorry for the people who worked in his business would be a good start. What about his client’s if the matter is found in favour of Consumer Affairs, where will that leave them?

    $500,000 in costs…… hmmmm if it goes Mr. Mericka’s way I’m sure a taxing master would love to see the breakdown.

    However it goes to Consumer Affairs I’m sure any corrective advertising if so ordered will play on Mr. Mericka’s mind. I’m sure many local agents could assist Consumer Affairs out chipping in a few bucks to keep any adds running…

    I wonder which agent will pick up the listing for the mortgagee sale? sniff sniff… what’s that smell…. oh that’s just a bit of irony…

    Sorry Mr. Mericka I was late getting my RSVP in the mail to attend the judgement, I can’t make it… I have property deals to do that day…

    Ryan

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted March 30, 2012 at 4:58 pm 0Likes

    Peter Ricci, please remove this thread, and any other thread relating to me and the Supreme Court matter completely and immediately.

    Please ensure that you have accurate records of the publishing of both articles (i.e. date first published, and date removed).

    Thank you.

  • Peter Mericka
    Posted March 30, 2012 at 5:26 pm 0Likes

    Peter Ricci, I have provided the warning I was advised to provide. You should now seek your own legal advice, as should anyone who has contributed to either of the two threads.

  • city lawyer
    Posted May 12, 2012 at 5:04 pm 0Likes

    Hello Peter Ricci and Glena and Greg

    has Peter Mericka followed through with his threats in the last two posts in this thread and the other thread

    or is that just more misleading conduct????

  • Enact Conveyancing Brisbane
    Posted September 3, 2015 at 9:48 pm 0Likes

    It’s gud about Lawyers Real Estate rule to know.

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