An anonymous agent has told SA Real Estate News of an instance earlier this week where the agent nearly lost a deal after a police officer on patrol made a comment to a buyer regarding an area they were looking to buy in.
The buyers had only just entered into their cooling-off period after a successful negotiation, and passed a patrol-car as they explored the suburb. They flagged down the officer and asked his opinion on the area, and he told them he “…would never move into that neighbourhood,” and that he was always called into the area for “…drugs or domestic violence.”
The buyers told the agent about the conversation with the officer, and asked for the agent’s response to the comments.
The quick-thinking agent (who lived locally in the area) was able to salvage the deal by directing the buyer to SAPOL’s own crime statistics, and said;
“When it comes to the local residents, we all know that varies street to street – house to house – suburb to suburb. It’s impossible to say if the suburb is ‘good, bad or otherwise’. When you spoke to the Police officer, you accessed the opinion of a person who spends a majority of time amongst all things unsavourable (sic). Naturally their view will be skewed.”
The buyer ultimately agreed with the agent’s comments, having reviewed the data on SAPOL’s website.
Brad Eckermann of Eckermann Lawyers told SA Real Estate News that if the buyer had cooled off on the deal;
“It would be very hard to make a complaint or claim loses against the Officer.”
Eckermann says that the vendor’s options would have been limited, however the vendor could explore the complaints process at SAPOL, but lacked confidence in the process, saying “…I’m not sure how far they might get with that.”.
In regards to losses, Eckermann was more optimistic:
“The Vendor could also seek legal advice from a Litigation Lawyer to see if they thought there might be a valid claim, obviously they would have had to have suffered some sort of loss before they could consider a claim (against the officer).”
(The data on crime statistics can be found here https://www.police.sa.gov.au/about-us/crime-statistics-map)
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