Trio’s sale fail

Sale fail: The Slope Hill Road home

Three realtors from one Queenstown agency have been pinged for unsatisfactory conduct over a single bungled sale.

A committee of real estate watchdog REAA has found against the BayleysLocations trio – including Real Estate Institute of New Zealand board member Gail Hudson.

It says they acted unfairly and breached their own company’s policies.

It’s now considering the punishment for Hudson, Grant Coburn and Will Clews.

But it’ll be little relief for the potential buyers, who missed out on buying the multi-million dollar Slope Hill Road property, which was pulled from the market.

BayleysLocations big boss David Gubb apologises to complainant Michael Thomas for the “stress and inconvenience the whole experience has caused for him”.

Hudson says they’re considering an appeal – “I think it’s an ill-informed decision.”

The agency won’t appeal Coburn’s decision, however. Hudson adds: “We’ve spent quite a bit of time with Grant Coburn since.”

The committee says listing agent Coburn, who’s got 23 years’ experience, breached Bayleys-Locations’ rules on multi-offers.

He also didn’t promptly disclose a soil contamination report.

The committee’s decision says Thomas made an offer last May through Clews, who then passed it to Coburn.

But before Coburn took the offer to the owners, he sought interest from another potential buyer.

Presented with both offers, the owners decided it should be a multi-offer process – despite Thomas not agreeing in writing beforehand.

The committee’s decision, issued last week, says Coburn “demonstrated either a blatant disregard for a policy which was based on sound principles of fairness or reflected a lack of skill and competence in understanding his own agency’s policy”.

Thomas bumped up his offer to $2.13 million, which was accepted. But two days later, Hudson passed on another offer from the unsuccessful bidder.

The committee says Hudson, BayleysLocations’ Queenstown boss and an agent for 16 years, breached company policy by not getting written agreement for a multi-offer situation and for presenting an offer by phone.

Not getting written confirmation for multi-offers is a “fundamental failing”, the committee says.

“This process was then undermined further by her decision, after conducting a multi-offer process, to allow the unsuccessful purchaser to make a further offer.”

Hudson says she phoned in an offer because the owners were in Auckland.

“I haven’t lost any sleep over it because I don’t believe I did anything wrong.”

She says Thomas was aware of the multi-offer because of a text message, which he acknowledged. Thomas points out acknowledgement isn’t the same as a written agreement.

Hudson says she felt duty-bound to present the final offer as the sale hadn’t been signed off. She took legal advice beforehand – although the committee says it was never presented.

The committee says Clews didn’t get written agreement for multi-offers and also failed to disclose the soil report.

Gubb says: “We are mindful of best practice and we have robust processes and procedures in-house so that we do follow best practice. We do take on board what has happened.”

Thomas, a well-known photographer, says for three agents in one agency to be found guilty of unsatisfactory conduct is “not a good look”.

He says the win shows it’s worth people complaining if they think they’ve been mistreated by agents.

As for the punishment, Thomas suggests the agency make a donation to the Wakatipu High School Foundation.