Real Estate Rort9 Mar 2010
Rort: to cheat, rip off, beat, defraud, hack or scam.
Talking with one of my ‘Facebook friends' the other day, I was advised of an Australia wide real estate agency that offers a service that assists people with disabilities, find a suitable rental home or property purchase.
Initially I thought, wow, what a great idea, finally someone has thought about how difficult it is for disabled people to find suitable affordable housing and decided to help.
However, when I looked into it further, I was shocked and horrified to learn that for this real estate agency to look for a suitable house for a maximum of 27 hours, it will cost a disabled person $2,200 for a rental property and $4,400 for a property purchase!
I thought, surely this would be refundable or there would be government assistance available, but no, when I called the real estate agency to check all the details, they said that the price is not negotiable, it is not refundable and there is no help from anywhere.
When I asked what this large fee was for, the agent simply said, “It's for our service.” The service she was referring to is finding a suitable property, organising any small modifications and applying for the property, once the application has been approved, payment is needed before the customer can occupy the premises.
I don't know if I'm over-reacting, but I think this is a blatant case of a successful company taking advantage of someone who is in desperate need.
As I have been in the situation of trying to find a suitable rental property many times myself, I know how difficult and frustrating it can get trying to find somewhere to live. Not to mention when you have real estate agents who don't seem to give a damn about your needs and are just interested in who's offering the highest price, you can never get them to call you back or give you a straight answer about whether a property has wheelchair access or not, I can say I would've been very tempted to use a service like this but could never have afforded to pay this much.
Not only does the real estate agency charge this much, but they also charge by the hour if they can't find a suitable property in the allocated 27 hours. The hourly rate works out to be almost $82 per hour! I don't think I even know anyone who makes $82 an hour, so how can they justify this price??
On their website, it states that they have helped over 100 disabled people successfully find a suitable property. Could you afford to receive this assistance?
If you have any thoughts on this service or, if you have used a service like this, please share your experiences. Also, please share your general experiences of trying to find a property suitable for someone with a disability.
If you would like to know more about the real estate agency I am referring to, please contact me.