Industry leader John Cunningham says the education and training standards for the real estate profession are “inadequate” and in desperate need of an overhaul to help prevent illegal activities.
Mr Cunningham, who is the president of the Real Estate Institute of NSW, said trust account fraud, misleading and deceptive conduct, underquoting and a lack of knowledge about property and the laws relating to transactions are unacceptable industry behaviours, and can be minimised by improving the compulsory education and training for agents.
“Most people would expect that an agent has been properly trained and has the required qualifications to fulfil their obligations,” he said.
“The sad truth is that for the past 10 years the education standards delivery – especially in NSW – [has] been watered down and, in the interest of increased competition, abused by many course providers that are allowed to continue operating.
“It actually requires more training to become a barista than a real estate agent.”
Due to the low level of training in the industry, Mr Cunningham said not all agents are able to answer common questions that clients expect them to, including how the property they are handling was built, its age, its zoning, whether there are any easements, the building or height restrictions, and what special conditions are in the contract.
Mr Cunningham said that the NSW government must act now to improve the education and training standards for agents.