Agents and associations call for reform of ‘joke’ system

Industry educational standards have been blamed for damaging the industry’s reputation and holding down commissions.

Education has once again been in the news, with the Real Estate Institute of Australia declaring war on “quickie courses” and the Real Estate Institute of NSW threatening to launch a political party if the state government fails to address its concerns about training.

According to a recent poll on the Real Estate Business website, 48.1 per cent of respondents thought newcomers should need to achieve state-based units to qualify as an agent.

The poll also found that 22.6 per cent favoured nationally-recognised units as the minimum standard, 17.3 per cent nominated a TAFE course and 12.0 per cent wanted a university degree.

Raine & Horne Double Bay principal Ric Serrao said low barriers to entry are helping to damage the industry’s reputation.

“Where we are at the moment is a joke. Someone can come into the industry and start selling property and genuinely make mistakes and give agents a bad name,” Mr Serrao said.

“I think that’s one of the reasons why there are sometimes issues about things like under-quoting and over-quoting.”

McGrath Estate Agents training director Peter Malouf said it is unrealistic to expect somebody to be able to produce the best possible sale price for a vendor after just a few days of training.

Mr Malouf told Real Estate Business that newcomers should have to study for at least 12 months to qualify as an agent, although they would not have to spend all that time in a classroom.

The certificate of registration course omits “a lot of simple stuff”, such as how to register at an auction, capital gains tax implications and Foreign Investment Review Board approval, he added.

Mr Malouf also said a better-educated industry would deliver better service, which in turn would boost the industry’s reputation and make it easier for agents to justify their commissions.

Marshall White Armadale director James Redfern said he regarded the current barriers to entry as sufficient, although he thought the industry would benefit if newcomers did more than the bare minimum.

“When I started some time ago I did the full licence, which I thought was really good and is well-rounded for anyone who wants to take real estate agency practice seriously,” Mr Redfern said.

“I think the full licence is really important because it covers all aspects of building and construction, property law, finance and trust accounting.”


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