Sellers, buyers, tenants and landlords – Why ‘us and them’?



Media at it again


Sellers, buyers, tenants and landlords – Why ‘us and them’? The answer is that it ranks more than the truth. Every time there is a story about real estate it is adversarial. Chanel 7 this week trotted out their old favourite – agents’ dirty tactics. As usual, there was no evidence except a reporter holding papers, she claimed were complaints.


At EWRE we are unhappy that these one-sided negative stories about our industry are used as rating grabbers. These stories are mostly unsubstantiated and are almost always in an ‘us and them’ format that should be called out.


Sellers versus buyers


The media loves to create a villain rather than objectively explain what the story is about. The sellers are almost always greedy, privileged, or unscrupulous. That is unequivocally wrong. Sellers have an asset that is legally transactable and wanting the most for it is universal. Real estate agents are actually employed to act for sellers and that should not be portrayed as unfair to buyers. Channel 7 used a buyer’s agent to complain about selling agents creating another us and them. The us and them is a winner the media uses because it ranks.


The idea that every sale that transacts is predominantly weighted in the favour of the seller is wrong.


The truth is;


  • Purchasers employ conveyancers and solicitors to protect their rights and ensure they get the best deal. Clearly, they don’t pay a professional to be kind to the seller.


  • The parties generally do not know each other and this is called an ‘arm’s length transaction’. There is no obligation for either party to help the other. Buyers are just as motivated to get what they want as sellers are.


  • The media portrays all buyers as novices but most buyers have purchased before. Most buyers exploit the market and market conditions when they negotiate as much as the sellers do.


  • Sellers lose many opportunities because of other awful parties that the media neglects to highlight. Buyers that can afford to place several deposits down and delay sellers whilst they look for other properties. Buyers who use dirty tactics at public showings attempt to dissuade other potential buyers. Solicitors, conveyancers and banks that are slow, non-responsive, or arrogant also delay sellers. The real estate platforms double dip for fees when a seller sells the same house but with a different agent. The list is extensive but only the sellers are identified as a villain.


  • Gazumping is a term used to describe a greedy seller accepting an offer verbally but selling to another higher bidder. This is extremely rare now because most buyers either buy at auction where the sale is open or they place a small non-refundable deposit that actually prohibits the seller from selling to anyone else. If anything, that is terribly weighted against the seller because if the buyer does not complete the seller has lost potentially weeks off the market or a sale they would like to proceed with. Moreover, as this is a transaction between two strangers the property should always be left on the market until it is exchanged.


  • Finally, buyers become sellers and to date, no seller has started a movement to correct the wrongs buyers allegedly endure. Seemingly the now sellers willingly accept the very methods used to get the highest price for their property when they sell.




Tenants verse Landlords


The coverage currently is that tenants are at the mercy of greedy landlords. Or that tenants trash the place and landlords have no rights. Again this is extremely offensive to many great tenants and landlords – a balance would be greatly appreciated.


The truth is:


  • Landlords are facing bank rate hikes and they are hurting too. The cost of the increase on the mortgage is larger than what they can pass on and landlords cannot increase rents monthly like banks are currently.


  • The media is not demonising banks almost daily to stop increasing rates and that there should be an interest rate cap. This greedy landlord media coverage that started almost exactly when the interest rate hikes began is not a coincidence.


  • The vast majority of tenants and landlords have successful arrangements. Tenants are currently struggling but landlords are not what is causing the problems. Banks, government and the economy are the big contributors but are hard targets that the media cannot easily demonise. Even the Greens – that are a great political party – are exploiting the weakest group of landlords – they know capping rents is unproven but it’s easier to argue that than build houses. The Greens need votes quicker than these buildings can be built!!!!


All business contracts have the potential to go bad. The sale of land and tenancy agreements are arm’s length transactions between two parties that begin in good faith. Laws are created to ensure that the parties have equal access to remedies – there is no bad guy good guy. However, the underdog stories sell and media companies have the big players as customers. Banks and real estate platforms buy advertising space, governments need their messages out so the media cannot exactly bite the hands that feed them.  Individual sellers, landlords, tenants and real estate agents are not generally media clients so they are always the target. Well EWRE will keep providing the other side.