A recent poll on Real Estate Business found that 43 per cent of respondents think their state association does a poor job of representing their interests.
Another 40 per cent said their association does an excellent job, while 17 per cent said it does a reasonable job.
Real Estate Institute of Victoria chief executive Enzo Raimondo said people sometimes hold negative views about associations because they don’t understand the restrictions they face.
Mr Raimondo told Real Estate Business that associations have limited budgets, which makes it impossible for them to be all things to all people.
Another problem is that it can sometimes be difficult to understand how challenging and time-consuming an association’s operations can be.
“My experience is that the people who have the least connection with an association are the ones who will complain the loudest about it not doing anything for them,” he said.
Mr Raimondo said one thing associations do well is lobbying – but that this is “seldom appreciated because members don’t know how much work goes into preparing submissions and consulting with government”.
Agents can also underestimate the intellectual property that goes into the forms and contracts that associations provide, because they’re priced so cheaply, he said.
Mr Raimondo said associations need to work hard to understand the priorities of members, which he said had changed over the years.
“The days of just doing lobbying and advocacy and training and forms have long gone,” he said.
“We need to provide value-added products and services to help them run their businesses efficiently, to help them improve their service delivery, to help them differentiate and to elevate the real estate industry to a profession.”