Time to make changes to off-the-plan contracts in NSW

Estate Agents Co-operative (EAC) along with other industry stakeholders met with Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, Victor Dominello, on Friday 23rd October 2015 to discuss better protections for purchasers in regards to off-the-plan contracts.

Off-the-plan contracts contain within them a Sunset Clause, a mechanism allowing the contract to be terminated if the development is not finalised within an agreed time frame or if the promised property cannot be delivered to the standard agreed.

Most sunset clauses’ allow the vendor or developer to rescind the contract if the construction runs over expected completion time.  The NSW Government has stated that it would appear some developers are using the sunset clause in order to cancel the contract and re-sell apartments at higher prices.  These clauses’ are also usually constructed in favour of the vendor/developer.

To determine the extent of the issue the government  held a consultation period of 3 weeks for the public to raise their concerns over these issues.  During which the department received close to 650 responses and in a large percentage of these responses the developer had triggered the sunset clause.

This issue is being largely driven by current market conditions which have seen housing prices rise rapidly, in turn we are now seeing developers using unwitting property purchasers’ deposits to fund building works and are then intentionally slowing works in order to rescind contracts and then resell to gain greater profits,

I think it is great to see the Minister taking action to eliminate this practice  and I suggest that you will see changes early in 2016,

In attendance at today’s meeting were representatives from NSW Land & Property Information, Estate Agents Co-operative, Urban Development Institute of Australia, Law Society of NSW, Owners Corporation Network, Australian Bankers Association, Australian Institute of Conveyancers, Urban Taskforce, and HIA.

Underquoting reforms set for early 2016.

Victor Dominello, the Minister for Better Regulation, has said that reforms to rules surrounding underquoting would provide “clarity” for agents, vendors and buyers.

NSW Fair Trading defines under-quoting as making “a statement in the course of advertising a residential property for sale that is less than the agent’s true estimated selling price as recorded on the agency agreement”.  Currently penalties for engaging in underquoting are fines of up to $22,000.

Estate Agents Co-operative (EAC) has been working with and provided advice to the Real Estate and Property division of NSW Fair Trading on the new reforms.

The new reforms, which have been introduced to parliament and are expected to commence in early 2016, will see stricter rules for agents in regards to the estimated selling price in their agency agreements.  Agents who do not adhere to this estimated price in advertising will face losing fees and commissions.  Further to this, phrases such as “offers over” or “offers above” or any similar phrase will also be prohibited in advertising.

The proposed underquoting reforms will ensure any estimated price communicated to vendors and prospective buyers represents what an agent actually expects a property to sell for.

Under the proposed reforms, an agent must:

  • Include their true estimate of a property’s likely selling price in the agency agreement (also called the sales agreement).
  • Record the evidence that informed this estimate and provide it to the vendor in writing.
  • Ensure a price range is no greater than 10% of the bottom figure (eg. $500,000-$550,000).
  • Record all price estimates (quotes) provided while a property is marketed.
  • Ensure their price estimate remains realistic by updating it and advising the vendor in a timely manner if they are aware – or should reasonably be aware – of evidence or circumstances that changes it. The agent must advise the vendor of their revised selling price estimate and the evidence on which it is based in writing (eg. email) and amend the agency agreement. They must also update, as soon as feasible or practical, any marketing of the property that reflected the old estimate with the new selling price estimate.

Agents will not be able to:

  • Provide any price estimate less than what they have assessed a property is worth (as recorded in their agency agreement with the vendor). This applies whether the agent is advertising the property or in any communication with prospective buyers about the property’s likely selling price.
  • Advertise vague price information, including any statements such as “offers above” or “offers over” an amount, or “plus” a particular price (eg. $500,000+), which could misrepresent or obscure a property’s estimated value. Also, an agent must never indicate a selling price estimate that does not match the agent’s true estimate.
  • The reforms will introduce stronger penalties to deter underquoting. This includes fining agents up to $22,000 if they breach the new requirements. Agents could also have to forfeit their commission and fees if found guilty of underquoting. These commissions and fee payments will go towards the Property Services Compensation Fund, which supports consumers who have experienced financial loss as a result of property agent misconduct.

Mr Dominello’s office has also made clear that there have been 263 complaints about underquoting in the past two financial years.  With 63 of these complaints being made in March 2015.

In light of a volatile market agents should be reviewing their estimates and any marketing to reflect any change to the price estimate as a result of market or vendor feedback. We welcome the reforms announced by the Minster and feel they will make clear to agents as well as to consumers, the responsibilities when making these estimates.

The new legislation is currently in Parliament and would appear to be held up by opposition to some of the changes. Personally I believe the proposed changes can only assist the industry in being more professional in dealings with consumers both vendors and potential purchasers.

Apple iOS 9 has is now available for download

Apple iOS 9 has is now available for download. Apple will tell you it all new but they are very good at marketing. Expect a different look and feel. There are several new and cool features especially for the iPad and you can expect better battery life on my recent devices. To give you an idea the download is 1Gb on my iPhone6 and 1.1Gb on my iPad Air 2. For more information see http://ow.ly/SmugY

KTM Adventure 1190 Build

Late last year after a motorcycle tour to Vietnam I decided to take get into more adventure style motorbike riding. For some years I had a road bike and a dirt bike and with work and other commitments didn’t really get the time to ride either as much as I would have liked. I decided that I would look for a bike that would would allow me to do both and without compromise. After doing much research on the internet and riding several bikes I settled on the 2014 KTM Adventure 1190 EDS. All I can say is what a bike, no wonder it has been described as the best all around motorcycle in the world.

This video gives you some idea of the technology that the bike has.

On road the bike is amazing and to give you an idea of the performance the bike does 0 – 100 km/h in 2.7 seconds andthe quarter mile in 10.6 seconds. This video will give you some idea of the performance on road.

I was somewhat sceptical of the off road abilities and have only done some fire trails at this stage and even on the Trail Attack II tyres which are more road orientated the bike handled above my expectations. To give you an idea of the off-road capabilities while this is the R version it gives you some idea. I will be fitting Continental TKC 70 tyres shortly.

Taking Delivery

KTM were running a special when I purchased the bike and I received a touring screen, heated grips, touring panniers and crash bars at no extra cost.


Before the bike even left the dealer it had its first modification in the form of a Uni-Filter Performance filter kit to give me the necessary protection in the dirt.

The build begins…..


R&G Racing Bar End Sliders for the road


R&G Racing Fork Protectors

R&G Racing Frame Plugs – I still need to put the cover on


Touratech Brake Fluid Reservoir cover


Stoneguard Paint Protection


Radiator Guard by Rad Guard


B&B Off Road Bash Plate – painted black



Quick-Lock GPS Mount by SW-Motech


Waterproof and shockproof iPhone 6 case by SW-Motech


Strike Genius BT GPS with Hema Maps


R&G Racing Easy Grip Tank Traction Pads


Barkbusters VPS Handguards


AGV AX8 Dual Evo Helmet



Wings Short Titanium Exhaust with carbon fiber heat shield – in addition to adding a great note one of the main reasons for the exhaust was a 4 kg weight saving.



Wings Carbon Fiber heat shields – one of the know issues with the KTM Adventure 1190 is the heat that flows up onto your legs and these were the fix.


Off Road 

Touratech Mudguard riser raises the height of the front guard for better clearance in mud.


Side Stand Base by SW-Motech


Continental TKC 70 Tyres

Continential-TKC70-front-ktm-adventure-1190 Continential-TKC70-rear-ktm-adventure-1190


SMH-10R Low Profile Motorcycle Bluetooth Headset & Intercom


KTM Tinted Tall Screen


Rear Rack from SW-Motech


Rotopax Fuel and Water Cells



Estate Agents Co-operative and Real Estate Institute of Australia have once again hosted the NSW heats of the Australasian Auctioneering Championships. 10 of the top auctioneers in the state fought it out for a place in the National Championships.

The competitors in this year’s heats included:

Andrew Cooley – Cooley Auctions
Briannan Crawford – Cooley Auctions
Clarence White – McGrath Estate Agents
Damien Cooley – Cooley Auctions
Edward Riley – McGrath Estate Agents
Gavin Croft – Bresic Whitney Estate Agents
Joshua Larsen – McGrath Estate Agents
Leon Axford – Axford Auctions
Lucas Cannan – Think Real Estate
Will Hampson – My Auctioneer

The winner in this year’s final was EDWARD RILEY of McGrath Estate Agents (pictured) with the runner up DAMIEN COOLEY of Cooley Auctions.

Edward and Damien will now go onto the National Championships in the hope of securing a place at the Australasian Championship in Melbourne 1 – 3 September 2015.

“Both Edward and Damien I’m sure will do NSW proud at the National Championships,” said Dale Whittaker, Chairman of EAC. “The absolute best in NSW auctioneering came to compete today, so Edward and Damien should be very proud and I look forward to watching them compete in Melbourne.”

“I would like to thank all the competitors for their entry into this year’s competition, I wish you all the best and I think that it is great to see the number of high quality entrants in this year’s heats,” said Neville Sanders, President of REIA.

EAC and REIA would also like to thank the major sponsor of the NSW heats, AON. AON is a sponsor of the REIA and was recently announced as the Insurance Partner for Estate Agents Co-operative.

New South Wales top auctioneers are now set to find out who will be the top auctioneer in 2015

Entry to the New South Wales Heats of the Australasian Real Estate Institutes’ Auctioneering Championships has now closed.

This year sees Gavin Croft who took out the NSW competition for last two years  as well as the runner-up from the 2014 Clarence White back to try to take out the title for the chance to join the other winners from around Australia & New Zealand at the finals which are being held in Melbourne on the 1-3 September 2015.

Gavin Croft from Bresic Whitney Estate Agents  said “Both the NSW heats and the Australasian Championships are always fiercely contested. By the quality of this year’s entrants, it appears 2015 will be no different.”

The entrants in this year’s heats include:

Alex Pattaro – LJ Hooker

Andrew Cooley – Cooley Auctions

Ben Horwood – LJ Hooker

Briannan Crawford – Cooley Auctions

Clarence White – McGrath Estate Agents

Damien Cooley – Cooley Auctions

Edward Riley – McGrath Estate Agents

Gavin Croft – Bresic Whitney Estate Agents

Joshua Larsen – McGrath Estate Agents

Leon Axford – Axford Auctions

Lucas Cannan-  Think Real Estate

Will Hampson – My Auctioneer  Sydney

The CEO of REIA, Amanda Lynch, said: “NSW has a strong and proud history of auctioneering reflected in the record weekend auction clearance rates. One of the finalists could very well be the auctioneer who snatches the Australasian trophy from New Zealand this September as Scott Kennedy-Green did for NSW in 2006.”

Personally I would like to thank all the competitors for their entry into this years competition, I wish you all best and I think that it is great to see the number of high quality entrants in this year’s heats.  It would be good to see a New South Wales Auctioneer make the finals or even better take out the title at the Championships in Melbourne this later year.

We would also like to announce a new major sponsor for the New South Wales heats this year AON. AON is a sponsor of the REIA and was recently announced as the Insurance Partner for Estate Agents Co-operative.

2015 NSW Awards for Excellence Date Announced

Estate Agents Co-operative Ltd (EAC) and the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) is pleased to announce the New South Wales Awards for Excellence recognising the real estate industry’s top performers from the NSW Affiliate Council Members of the REIA.

The 2015 awards will be held on 27th of October 2015 in Sydney.

The awards are a brilliant way to recognise the professional efforts of agents and property managers.  The awards allow award winners from NSW to also be recognised and compete at the National Awards.

Details on entry to the awards will be released in the coming weeks.

NSW Fair Trading to release data on consumer complaints

Last year NSW Fair Trading received over 40,000 complaints about traders across various industries including retail, motor vehicles, telecommunications, travel and real estate.

Consumers in NSW will soon be able to make more informed choices with Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Victor Dominello today outlining plans to establish a consumer complaints register using data held by NSW Fair Trading.

“This data is currently under lock and key within the bureaucracy and we want to change that by amending the Fair Trading Act 1987 to give the agency the power to publish its complaints data for the first time,” Mr Dominello said.

“Consumers should have the right to know which traders have high numbers of complaints against them so they can take this into account when purchasing goods and services. We want to create a fairer and more competitive marketplace through open data.”

The proposed register would provide information regarding the number of complaints received about individual traders and is expected to act as an incentive for businesses to improve the way they deal with consumer issues and I believe that this is a good idea.

Open data is a key feature of the NSW Government’s ICT Strategy which encourages public sector agencies, where appropriate, to make high-value datasets available to industry and the community. Later this year this will include the Property Sales Information provide to many third parties including Estate Agents Co-operative.

The proposed register would provide information regarding the number of complaints received about individual traders and is expected to act as an incentive for businesses to improve the way they deal with consumer issues.

The Minister will establish a stakeholder roundtable to consider what form the complaints register will take, how regularly it will be published and how the information can be best utilised by consumers, traders and the media.

CHOICE, the Australian Retailers Association and the Business Council of Australia are among the industry groups which will be invited to participate in the roundtable.

Mr Dominello said a Bill would be introduced in the new Parliament which would create a statutory power for NSW Fair Trading to publish its complaints information.