Controversial reforms hailed as ‘exciting new era’

Queensland’s peak body has thrown its support behind the state’s new real estate rules, which include a ban on price guides for almost all residential auctions.

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) said the state entered an “exciting new era” on Monday, when the Property Occupations Act 2014 came into effect.

Other changes include removing the requirement for agents to disclose their commission, and deregulating the maximum commission rates.

The new Act also replaces seven separate agent appointment forms with a single standardised form.

REIQ chief executive Antonia Mercorella said the new industry-specific real estate laws would cut red tape, simplify transactions and increase transparency.

“The laws eliminate a lot of costly paperwork that’s been hampering agents, and they feature practical reforms which will simplify real estate transactions in Queensland,” she said.

“These reforms will help agents to get out of the office and back into the field, where true success lies.”

The reforms have the industry divided, however, with some believing certain moves are retrograde steps.

News Corp's head of real estate sales, Tom Panos, said earlier this year that abolishing price guides would make it harder to sell homes, because “buyers hate not having a rough idea on price”.

Harcourts Queensland chief auctioneer Mitch Peereboom said he didn’t expect the change of legislation to have much impact on his job.

“The seller gets the transparency and determination from the buyers, and the buyers get transparency as they are able to come forth with their best offer of what they believe the property is worth without any inhibiting from the seller in terms of what they are looking for,” he said.

Mark Jamieson, director of online auction platform Exchange House, said the reforms would be good for the industry.

“The government clearly wants to limit subjective and opinionated price guides and information which could inadvertently mislead the buyer,” he said.

“It is possible for real estate agents to provide objective, meaningful and accurate information to buyers, within the new Act’s guidelines. It is all about the auction process and framework.”

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