Year in review: January to March

The first quarter of 2014 was a mixed bag for agents across the nation, with some doing battle in the courts and others devising ingenious ways to boost business.

The year started on a gloomy note, with the former director of a property group losing his bid to renew his real estate licence after being found guilty of breaching the Fair Trading Act.

In Queensland, an audit by the Fair Work Ombudsman found that 18 per cent of real estate industry employers had failed to comply with regulations on staff pay agreements.

However, the authorities looked kindly on a WA real estate agency, finding it not guilty of false and misleading advertising.

Free-to-list portal Homely revealed that more than 2,000 real estate offices had signed up, with 100,000-plus properties registered during the first two months of its existence.

SA’s government delivered good news of its own when it legislated to allow property transactions to be made electronically.

One Melbourne real estate agent also did something innovative, taking out a patent on a new method of sale that combines the flexibility of a private sale with the transparency of an auction.

More creative business tactics were displayed by agency Biggin & Scott Knox, which revealed that their entire sales team heads to a bistro every morning for two-hour prospecting sessions.

Finally, Brisbane firm Harcourts North Lakes attempted to rev up business by giving clients a post-settlement gift they would never forget – purchasing a Lamborghini for them to drive.

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