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Shonky Real Estate Agent Exposed

An article regarding a real estate allegedly doctoring photos for a sale listing on a unit in which the owner had died in for weeks before being discovered.



I have noticed that in Brisbane local new listings have real estate photos showing lush green (photo-shopped) uniform lawns…when in fact the properties have the same areas in the flesh as brown and dry.

I have often thought that it what buyers expect to see, not necessarily what is there in reality. These are misleading as well.

This may be the driver…

There are also youtube videos showing real estate agents how to change lawns to something more attractive.


Isn’t “Shonky Real Estate Agent” a tautology ?


That’s probably a grey area, in general.

Agent could argue that the photo of the lawn was taken a few months ago.

Relatedly, agents have been using fish-eye lenses in photos ‘forever’.

I picked an online property at random to look at the plan that is available on the web site and it contains the following disclaimers:

“Scale in metres. Indicative only. Dimensions are approximate. All information contained herein is gathered from sources we believe to be reliable. However we cannot guarantee its accuracy and interested persons should rely on their own enquiries.”

The vendor’s conveyancer will almost certainly use the same kind of language (“the purchaser should rely on their own enquiries”) in response to any questions that the purchaser or the purchaser’s conveyancer puts.

Given that kind of disclaimer, I don’t think we can argue too much about the colour of the lawn.

The representations that matter are the representations that are made in the contract for sale. (Once contracts are exchanged, the vendor has an obligation in general to keep the property in the state it was in at the time of exchange, until settlement occurs.)

To a large extent ‘caveat emptor’ still applies. If you buy a property sight-unseen and rely therefore solely on the photos and other information on the web site then you get what you deserve, in my opinion.


They could, but when the grass turns from say a patchy fine leave grass (like couch) in reality to a broader leaf grass (like buffalo) in the photos, this doesn’t stack up.

Why would someone remove a lush green buffalo type grass and replace it with a straggly couch one between photos and listing. Maybe they will try and argue the owners sold the lawn separately.


One of the few qualifiers I don’t have a problem with since our ‘quality builders’ struggle to make walls parallel or corners squared. A 3.1 meter dimension could be 3.0 at the far wall and 2.95 in the middle.


Not unique to modern houses if our very old cottage is a guide.

More broadly considered.
When a customer pays to have a house built, the plans, approvals and costs relate to the size of the house. Typically based on the nominal measured floor plan area.

It is also one of the key details relied upon by the banks valuer for determining loan values, and Centrelink for assessing second property assets.

It is also useful when performing a self assessment of insurance valuation, or a professional QS valuation is provided by a registered valuer for that purpose. The replacement value of a property and market value are not equivalent.

It is the one number that the real estate agents seem to never provide in the marketing material. And by our experience are reluctant to provide.

In comparison a photoshopped lawn would seem a minor quibble. It appears a mandatory treatment for all Politicians election posters. How misleading is the use in either instance?

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My flat on the northern NSW coast (circa 1974) was mostly constructed of adjoining trapeziums. Providing measurements would have been challenging.

The potentially ‘saving grace’ for the aggrieved neighbour (below) might be the water tank is apparently 0.2 sqm too large.

My plans show many such things. My house (1997-98 construction) resembles the plans but anyone taking a measure to confirm it against the plans, everything approved along the way, would not win the ‘match-the-numbers’ lottery. Are they far off? Not so much, and corners are reasonably well done. But if it was advertised whereby a measure was 3750 but was only 3747 it could cause significant grief in these times.

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An interesting article regarding some real estate agent having a dummy spit and threatening to sue a former tenant for defamation.

I wonder just what the former tenant said. Perhaps “Dear landlord, I disagree with people who say that your rented premises are not fit for pigs”

“They are”

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