PHOTO: Nick Hoogwerf has been found guilty of disgraceful conduct by the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal. Photo / LinkedIn
A real estate agent engaged in fraudulent conduct by fabricating a property valuation, even going to the extent of employing a legitimate company’s letterhead to give credence to his purchase of a house at an auction.
Nick Hoogwerf failed to appear at a hearing before the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal in Auckland, where he faced charges of misconduct. The tribunal ultimately found Hoogwerf guilty of these charges, which pertained to his attempt to purchase a property in Mt Eden in late 2021.adidas promo code custom basketball jersey nike air jordan 1 low adidas shoes sale nike air jordan high tops custom cheap jerseys custom jerseys best sex toy for couples adidas yeezy sneakers cheap lace front wigs blonde wig customize jersey cheap nfl jerseys custom jerseys custom jerseys
In October of that year, Hoogwerf inquired about the property via text and visited it on October 24. Subsequently, the property’s vendors consented, two days later, to his involvement as a realtor connected to their listing agent, either through professional or personal ties, allowing him to “acquire an interest in the property.” Essentially, this enabled Hoogwerf to participate in the property’s auction. However, for this consent to remain valid, he needed to provide the vendors with an official property valuation.
On the same day he acquired this consent, Hoogwerf successfully won the property at auction. The following month, he emailed the vendors a valuation report, which, regrettably, contained multiple inaccuracies. Hoogwerf sent a total of four emails with erroneous information, including incorrect property photos, inaccurate vendor and agency details, missing certificate of title information, and an incorrect reference number.
It was alleged that Hoogwerf personally fabricated the valuation document and utilized the letterhead of a reputable property valuation company. This company, whose identity was kept confidential by the tribunal, asserted that Hoogwerf never approached them for a valuation and that they had never provided one for the property in question.
The listing agent for the property initially raised the issue with his manager, but it was the valuation company that ultimately lodged a complaint with the Real Estate Authority.
When questioned by NZME for a statement, Hoogwerf admitted, “I was young with not much experience at the time.” He expressed sincere remorse for any harm his actions may have caused and acknowledged the gravity of his mistakes.
Sarah Farnell, the lawyer representing the Complaints Assessment Committee prosecuting Hoogwerf before the tribunal, stated that he submitted the false valuation in an attempt to convince the vendors that he had engaged a third party to conduct it. Farnell pointed out that Hoogwerf had told the authority during questioning that he “took it upon myself to produce a valuation that may be acceptable” and later claimed, “I wrongly consulted a report I had paid for previously of a size and value similar to the subject property.” However, Farnell deemed this explanation “implausible” because the erroneous valuation he sent did not contain his name or the agency he was affiliated with.
Text messages between Hoogwerf and the listing agent revealed increasing pressure on him to obtain a valid valuation. Farnell argued that the manipulated valuation reports supplied to the vendor constituted disgraceful conduct for a licensed real estate agent.
In the fabricated valuation report, Hoogwerf valued the Mt Eden property at $1.4 million, a figure lower than what he ultimately paid at auction. Farnell contended that Hoogwerf excluded certain pages from the valuation document to support the lower figure he selected.
Despite having requested an adjournment the day before, Hoogwerf did not provide a reason for his absence from the tribunal hearing. The tribunal would release its comprehensive decision, along with any penalties, in writing within the next month.