Agents are getting mixed messages with one government department cracking down on over and underquoting, while another aims to reduce qualification standards for auctioneers.
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) proposes that auctioneers only require three units of qualification; however the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) is calling for a minimum of 12 units.
“Auctioneers don’t just call the numbers at the front of an auction. They’re not trained actors. They play a significant role in the sale of a property,” said REIA president Ms Pamela Bennett.
“Under the RIS proposal, auctioneers miss out on vital learning, including minimisation of consumer and agency risk and interpreting legislation.”
Award-winning auctioneer Damien Cooley agrees, adding that training must remain a focus for new and existing auctioneers.
“I really believe that the more qualifications an individual can have, whether that’s to be an agent or an auctioneer, the better. I say that to genuinely protect the consumer,” he told Real Estate Business.
“The more steps we can take to protect the consumer, and the more steps we can take to be the best at what we do, the better.
“As an auctioneer it’s very different to an agent, even if we are licensed agents. The physical role of conducting an auction is very different to the agent’s legal responsibilities during the sales process.
“So from our point of view, it’s about turning up and conducting an auction in such a manner that the regulations for each state are observed. I think national licensing is a great idea, because it’s difficult as an auctioneer to travel to different states and have to adapt to such different laws and regulations.
“However, I believe from a training point of view that training is imperative because everyone needs to be up-skilled.”
Just two weekends ago, the NSW Office of Fair Trading remanded eight agents after launching a blitz of Sydney auctions, targeting professionals who were underquoting home prices to potential buyers or overquoting to vendors.
While just last week the South Australian government also admitted to cracking down on auctions.
Ms Bennett urged the government to support the highest levels of qualifications for all real estate professionals to avoid hurting consumers.
“Why would the government dumb down the credentials of the person handling the sale of your biggest asset?
“It’s madness, the consumer would be at risk for minimal savings with the RIS stating that the expected average cost saving of COAG’s proposal would be around $74,000 per state/territory per annum.”