Real Estate Agent


Following a recent ruling by a Real Estate Authority complaints assessment committee, two Harcourts real estate agents, Jobi Smith and her supervisor Richard (Greg) Powell, were found to have engaged in unsatisfactory conduct. Their misrepresentation of a property’s subdivision potential resulted in fines, mandatory training, and compensation payments. This case underscores the significance of accurate property representation and the repercussions of failing to meet industry standards.

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The Misconduct in Detail

Jobi Smith, a licensed agent with Gold Real Estate operating as Harcourts Gold in Christchurch, and her then-supervisor Richard (Greg) Powell, currently with Prime Realty, came under scrutiny when a property was sold with misleading information regarding its subdivision possibilities. Despite a covenant on the title prohibiting subdivision until 2025, Smith conveyed to the buyer the potential for subdivision, which later turned out to be contested. Although Smith suggested consulting with the council, which hinted at a chance for subdivision, she had been previously informed about the restriction. This oversight led to the buyer being misled about the property’s potential, prompting the complaint that brought the issue to light.

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Findings of the Committee and Imposed Penalties

The committee of the Real Estate Authority concluded that Smith and Powell failed to demonstrate the required level of skill, care, competence, and diligence, deeming their conduct unsatisfactory. Smith’s failure to thoroughly examine the property’s record of title, particularly the restrictive covenant, and Powell’s lack of oversight were significant factors in their assessment. Consequently, both agents were fined $1,000 each, instructed to cover half of the complainant’s costs, and mandated to undergo further training. Smith is required to undergo training on subdivisions and selling off plans, while Powell must complete supervision training.

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Implications for Real Estate Professionals

This case serves as a warning for real estate professionals regarding the paramount importance of conducting thorough due diligence and maintaining transparency in property transactions. Misleading clients, whether deliberately or due to negligence, not only tarnishes professional reputations but also carries substantial legal and financial consequences. The penalties levied against Smith and Powell underscore the industry’s commitment to upholding high standards of conduct and emphasize the ongoing necessity for education and vigilance in property representation.

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The repercussions of this case extend beyond the individuals involved, prompting broader contemplation within the real estate industry about the need for rigorous training, meticulous review of documentation, and clear communication with clients. As the market evolves, adherence to ethical practices remains critical in preserving trust and integrity in real estate transactions.