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A Hamilton estate agency has come under fire online after it shared an ad that promised an elderly salesperson ‘won’t be coming home’ after going on assisted living.
The advert, placed for a property in the Hamilton suburb of Dinsdale, originally read: ‘LEAVING to a nursing home, NOT coming home.’
The blunt wording was criticized after a screenshot of the original ad was shared on social media site Reddit.
The image was posted with the caption: “Your daily reminder that real estate agents are garbage.”
“I’ve come to understand over time that most real estate agents are in over their heads,” one commenter wrote.
“This one obviously thinks that line is a marketing genius, whereas most people with a brain would find it a little weird at best, and offensive at worst.”
Another said he would be horrified if a family member’s property was marketed in this way.
Others said the ad showed “reptile-level empathy” and was “vulture.”
Campbell Scott, of Harcourts Hamilton, the agency behind the ad, said officers did not receive any complaints directly, but were shown the Reddit feed.
Scott said the property was originally marketed with an entirely different, less direct approach, and the change was prompted by the seller’s family’s decision to sell the house.
“This script was their choice,” Scott said. “They were totally comfortable with it.”
He said after seeing the response online, they had decided to “soften” the wording but stressed that the elderly saleswoman was not at the end of her life, but had simply reached a stage where she was unable to care for herself safely in her own home.
The new ad omits the “not coming home” line, simply stating, “Went to a nursing home.”
He said the original wording was “confronting and blunt”, but estate agents were often accused of withholding or misrepresenting details and that certainly did not happen in this case.
Scott told the Herald he took issue with online comments suggesting the agency acted without the family’s permission, saying the seller was a ‘difficult old lady’ who fully agreed with the ad wording.
The house remains on the market.