Real estate ethics

My father’s first response to me when I informed him that I was planning to become a real estate agent, was “Wayne, I think you’re too honest for real estate”. He died last year but did get to see how my ethics and real estate agency can be combined.

To be completely frank, I’m delighted that my industry is extraordinarily improved since the bad old days. The professionalism, integrity and competence of my fellows is admirable and past poor practices with auctions, inaccurate price descriptions and dishonesty, in general, have virtually disappeared. We have a lot to be proud of, but we should be vigilant about calling out unedifying behaviour.

Lately, I’m peeved about two things.

Firstly, the publicly listed company McGrath Ltd recently announced that it had delivered a big turnaround in profits – just over $19 million for the 2021 year, on revenue that had increased by 34%. McGrath also revealed that they received $1,491,000 in JobKeeper payments for the 2020 financial year and $3,231,000 for the 2021 FY, a total of $4,722,000. The directors chose to not make any voluntary (re)payment to the Commonwealth.

A condition for applying for JobKeeper support was that the business expected to experience a decline in revenue of more than 30%. I, like most business owners feared that COVID would seriously impact my business. However, with property management income and a pipeline of sales, I did not qualify for JobKeeper and like McGrath, we actually delivered a profitable year. I’m peeved that a major competitor can now use $4.7 million to compete against me and my other peers who also did not ask for, and receive, JobKeeper largesse.

Secondly, on a smaller scale, we were selected to take over the rental management of a property. We communicated this decision by the owner to Belle Mosman and we, along with the owner, were surprised to be informed there was a six-month termination clause in the Management Agreement. After waiting the required period, we finally collected the keys earlier this month. It was my first experience of such a long notice period – they are typically between one and three months. Good ethics would suggest that an unhappy client should be able to be free to move in a more reasonable timeframe.

Use this link to listen to the ABC broadcast regarding McGrath.

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