New industry body to tackle key issues

A new professional body for the real estate industry has been launched, promising to bolster the standing of the industry and help deliver the long sought-after goal of an industry-owned national listing website.

Certified Practicing Real Estate Agents (CPREA) is currently embarking on a membership drive across the country, foundation chairman Geoff Baldwin has announced.

“Two subjects that are constantly discussed by real estate people throughout Australia are the public perception of our industry and the seeming lack of will to develop our own (industry-owned) national real estate website,” Mr Baldwin said.

“We all like to think of ourselves as being members of a ‘profession’ and there is absolutely no logical reason why we can’t continually lift our actual and perceived standards along with our public perception.

“These will not be achieved, however, unless a completely different and far reaching approach is introduced and adopted by a majority of Australian agents.”

My Baldwin, who is also the CEO of RE/MAX Western Australia, said it had taken 18 months to get CPREA off the ground. He said a steering committee that would provide representation for each state and territory had been formed.

“We invite interested agents to contact us to discuss [their involvement],” he said. “A very significant investment has been made in getting this project to the point of launch. However, its ongoing growth and success will rely on progressive real estate people coming on board as members.”

The new body would also launch a new national listing website - - with CPREA members gaining free access for the first year, followed by "a small monthly subscription fee ... a fraction of that being charged by the major portals" after that.

“Importantly, it will progress to total ownership by industry participants, without a controlling shareholding by any individual, real estate group or company,” Mr Baldwin added.

The plan for a new industry-owned listing website follows complaints by some industry professionals about the high cost of some listing websites. Last year, changes to subscription fees by owner REA Group sparked a fresh barrage of complaints from agents and property managers, many of which also called for an industry-owned portal to be created.

Mr Baldwin said CPREA would be a body that recognises the experience and or educational efforts and accomplishments of agents, salespeople, property managers and other professionals directly involved with real estate.

“Many RTOs (Registered Training Organisations) have already come on board across the country and this growing list of RTOs along with other accomplished, respected non-RTO presenters, trainers and speakers will be approved to provide training to CPREA members,” he said.

“Put quite simply, members will need to achieve a specified level of training to maintain their professional membership status and to be recognised by the public as a CPREA member. We have no doubt that in the very near future prospective sellers will be seeking out CPREA members to look after their business."

Just over a year ago, a poll undertaken by Real Estate Business revealed that most agents saw the benefit in having continuing professional development (CPD) as part of the real estate industry.

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