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BuySell Cyprus replies to report

Last month we reprinted an article from the Cyprus Sunday Mail on a dispute between Supertrust Estate Agents Ltd (BuySell Cyprus) and Mr Mike Skierka, the British owner of a house in Peyia.

Last month’s article made it clear that the Sunday Mail was quoting Mr Skierka’s views and that it was unsuccessful in obtaining BuySell’s side of the story when their reporter called its main office. We have now been given the opportunity to print BuySell management’s side of the story from Mr Demetris Demetriou.

Mr. Mike Skierka signed a sole agency listing agreement with Supertrust Estate Agents Ltd (BuySell). BuySell spent thousands of Euro advertising this property to thousands of potential buyers and produced over 40 showings for this house. Through the sole efforts of BuySell, a buyer was found, but Mr. Skierka tried to cheat BuySell out of its commission.

Below are just some of the false and misleading information contained in the article.

1. Supertrust Estate Agents Ltd (BuySell) was taken to court for not having a license.

a. This is not true. BuySell is a registered estate agent with registration number 482. BuySell has never been convicted of any crime in its 8 years of operation so far.

2. The article states “… due to the lack of results through BuySell…”

a. BuySell has completed 41 showings of Skierka’s house, a number that is about 8 times the average number of viewings any house in Cyprus receives, something that shows the efforts of BuySell. Attached are all 41 viewings that show the date, name of clients and their comments.

b. BuySell advertised the property in its magazine which was delivered to more than 260,000 homes in Cyprus and included Mr. Skierka’s house with photos, full street address and a location map.

c. BuySell advertised the property on its website.

d. A BuySell for sale sign was placed on the property.

e. A newsletter to over 50,000 potential buyers was sent by BuySell informing them about this property.

f. An advertisement was placed on the window of the BuySell shop in Coral Bay.

No other agent in Cyprus or in the UK does so much advertising or produces so many viewings for any property.

3. The article states “…the final sale of [the] property had had nothing to do with BuySell…”

a. BuySell advertised the property in its magazine, website, and office window with the full home address of the property and a map showing the exact location of the property, as part of a sole agent agreement signed by Mr. Skierka. Thousands of home buyers saw this advertisement, some of which came to BuySell and requested to see the property and some who went directly to Mr. Skierka. But the fact remains that all clients found the property through the advertisements of BuySell.

4. The article states “[The owner] had a large banner made up advertising his property for sale and attached it to an upstairs balcony.”

a. A picture of the property of Mr. Skierka clearly shows the banner all tangled up and placed in a less conspicuous place than BuySell’s For Sale sign. The banner is also a smaller size than BuySell’s professionally designed sign. Any buyer passing by would have definitely noticed the BuySell sign first.

5. The article states that the employee at BuySell “refused to listen to any questions, never mind answer them.”

a. The employee at BuySell was very accommodating and polite and tried in his best of knowledge to answer the reporter’s questions. But the reporter was asking legal questions for which the employee did not know.

b. No matter how rudely a BuySell employee might have responded to pressing questions from a reporter, that reporter ought to have asked to speak with a manager at BuySell before publishing the article.

6. The report also hints that sole agency agreements are something that Mr. Skierka or other clients are not used to.

a. As a matter of fact, sole agency agreements are the norm everywhere in the world and especially the UK where Mr. Skierka comes from. When you advertise a property with the address and map (as it’s the case overseas and something that BuySell pioneered in Cyprus), sole agency is the only option, otherwise no agent would ever get paid.

Furthermore, there are other vitally important facts that prove that Mr. Skierka was trying to cheat BuySell of its commission.

1. On 11/03/2009, BuySell produced a willing and able client who put in an offer for Mr. Skierka’s house. Mr. Skierka however turned down the offer saying he does not want to sell as he wants to use it for two weeks during the summer and that his wife wants to hold onto the property until the end of the year.

Thus not only BuySell has produced results, but even found a buyer whom Mr. Skierka turned down for dubious reasons.

After this response by Mr. Skierka in February, Mr. Skierka avoided most communication from BuySell, something that created suspicions that Mr. Skierka might be trying to fraud BuySell.

2. Then Mr. Skiera called BuySell asking to take the property off the market claiming he had rented it out for a year which was of course a lie, amongst many others. The house was not rented out to anyone! So why was Mr. Skierka afraid to tell BuySell he had sold the house, if he didn’t know what the agreement said.

3. Thus BuySell kept a close eye on the case and eventually discovered that Mr. Skierka had sold his property and had not informed BuySell in an attempt to fraud BuySell and not pay the commission he agreed to pay when signing the agreement.

4. BuySell also discovered that Mr. Skierka, after he sold the property and he tried to hide it from BuySell, changed lawyers because his original lawyer consulted him that according to the signed agreement, he must pay the owed fee to BuySell.

BuySell followed the procedures as defined by Cyprus law in order to ensure payment of its fees.

Editor’s comment

I have no wish to enter a debate on this particular case and the rights and wrongs of those involved.

But it is vital that anyone thinking of buying or selling property takes legal advice from a source that is independent from anyone else involved in the transaction. And it is essential that you do not sign any papers or hand over any money until you have done so.

As this case clearly demonstrates, attempting to save money on professional fees by cutting corners is a false economy that can result in severe problems at a later date.

For your convenience, the British High Commission publishes a list of lawyers on its website and I recommend that you visit their website for the latest issue.

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