Real estate agent fined for selling woman’s home to family friend at low-ball price

The Real Estate Institute of South Australia (REISA) will expel a real estate agent reprimanded and fined by the District Court of South Australia for selling a house belonging to an elderly woman who suffered a mental impairment at “significantly below the fair market price”.

Daniel Christiaan Overduin, who traded as Daniel Christiaan Real Estate in Tennyson, was reprimanded by the District Court of South Australia and fined $14,000.

The fine and reprimand was for his “failure to act in the interests of the vendor, a potential conflict of interest given the involvement of a family member, and, at the very least, a serious neglect of his duty” after he sold the three-bedroom house on Bosanquet Avenue in the “low one hundred thousand dollars” in 2008 at a price “significantly below the fair market price”.

The house was sold to a developer, a friend of Overduin’s brother, referred to as “Mr Bergamaschi” in the court judgement.

“While the seriousness of the defendant’s departure from the standard required is such as to potentially require the suspension or even disqualification of his registration, I have been persuaded that the protection of the public, will, in the circumstances of this matter, be achieved by proceeding by way of reprimand and a significant fine. Accordingly there will be a formal reprimand and a fine of $14,000,” said Judge Soulio in his March 21 judgement.

The discounted sale was only discovered following a routine building inspection by the Eastern Health Authority six months later, which placed the woman in the care of the Guardianship Board and rehoused her.

The sale was subsequently reversed and the house later sold by the Public Trustee in 2010 for $491,000. The developer was refunded his $20,000 and Overduin forced to repay his $2,000 commission.

Speaking on ABC Radio in Adelaide, REISA president Greg Moulton said Overduin would be subject to a fit and proper test by the institute, with the end result being that he will “most certainly be kicked out of the real estate institute”.

REISA chief executive officer Greg Troughton described Overduin’s actions as “simply not acceptable”.

“I have requested an urgent meeting with him to discuss his membership as I am furious and outraged to hear of any conduct which is against the best interests of a client,” Troughton told Adelaide Now.

Overduin declined to comment when contacted by Adelaide Now.

This article first appeared on Property Observer.

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