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REINSW President Malcolm Gunning calls for greater professionalism

3 April 2014

REINSW President Malcolm Gunning discusses education standards in the industry after REINSW made a rallying call for greater professionalism.

Some recent trust account fraud cases have caused REINSW to come out and discuss industry standards this month. The topic is one that has been high on our priority list for a while.

If someone has a predisposition to dishonesty, then there’s little that can be done. However, REINSW’s biggest concern is ignorance.

To run a successful real estate business you need more than a few weeks’ training. You need to understand your responsibilities. I wonder how many agents have read the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002 (NSW) that governs our profession? I bet not as many as you’d think!

Partial self-regulation

REINSW is advocating that we partner with the NSW Fair Trading to share responsibility for regulating the real estate profession. Prevention is better than cure, after all. I think there are far too many people who don’t respect the industry they are in. That’s why we sometimes see people taking money out of trust accounts.

If you are not competent in accounting or general office procedure, then you are going to have difficulty in running a real estate office. A real estate office today is not just about selling real estate. When you are registered as a licensed agent you are then a stakeholder in the deal and it’s up to you to keep records of said deal.

What often happens is a successful salesperson says, ‘I’m sick of working for my boss, I’m going to go out and work for myself’. Often they have no experience in the back of office. That’s the issue.

If you ever get hauled into court, you’ve got to be able to keep records and show an audit trail. A lot of the agents have no idea. You could be a licensed agent with three or four sheets in your file. That’s not good enough. Does a licensing course teach you that? Not necessarily.

Real Estate Essentials

In most other professional industries, you spend three to four years full time at university, and you come in with very strong respect and understanding of the role and its responsibilities. When you enter the real estate industry, you come in with a very basic knowledge. Getting your Real Estate Licence in a matter of weeks doesn’t qualify you to be a good real estate agent. There has been little intellectual capital invested in the process.

The level of training that is mandated by the government to enter the profession is woefully inadequate. This translates into a lack of respect by many of our profession.

REINSW has created a new series of courses called the Real Estate Essentials series. The series has been designed with the needs of property professionals in mind, offering a more targeted and rich learning experience to encourage more agents to commit to ongoing development. Offered in a series of three to five day standalone courses, agents can learn about what they want at their own pace and earn CPD points along with way. I encourage you to find out more >>>