8 February 2019

An agent’s concerns about NSW Fair Trading

As the NSW State Election draws closer, REINSW is ramping up its lobbying efforts, with the aim of moving property services out of NSW Fair Trading and enacting stamp duty reform.

It’s an uphill battle, but one worth fighting for as the peak industry body for real estate in NSW. 

While the objective of the campaign is clear, educating agents on how it will affect them in practice and why they should care is paramount to REINSW’s strategy.

To get a member agent’s perspective on one of the key objectives of the campaign, REINSW asked Bobby Suminoski – Director of Four Walls Commercial and Chair of REINSW's Commercial Chapter Committee – what his biggest concerns with NSW Fair Trading are and why he’s signed the petition for change.

REINSW: What concerns you most about being governed by the same regulatory body responsible for tattoo parlours and coffee shops?

Bobby Suminoski: “What concerns me is the breadth and variety of industries NSW Fair Trading is responsible for. While I believe they are competent regulators of general services, real estate is specialised and highly valuable. I wouldn’t expect someone buying a cup of coffee to require the same assistance as when buying property. I also wouldn’t expect the legislation and regulations surrounding the purchase of a cup of coffee to be as detailed as those required to transact property. With oversight of predominantly low cost, high frequency industries, it’s odd that property services – high value, low frequency – should be included under NSW Fair Trading’s remit when the legalities surrounding real estate alone would exceed all the other industries.”

REI: How important is it to you and your business that the industry training reforms are implemented?

BS: “The industry training reforms are an absolute necessity for our industry to continue, with the goal of professional recognition being the foundation for the future. As agents we are a large part of the national economy. We are a major contributor and employer in all aspects of the business community and our local communities. With markets constantly changing and the introduction of industry disruptors, we need to do everything we can to grow the integrity of our industry and agents through continued quality education and training. To use the coffee shop analogy again, it’s interesting that the training required to become a barista (where your biggest complaint could be a bad review) is around a week. Whereas, you can become an agent in as little as three days. As an industry we’re working hard to change this, but we are faced with constant delays and setbacks.”

REI: How do you feel when Minister Kean suggests agents are dodgy?

BS: “Disappointed. Although every industry has a few bad apples, I believe that myself and my fellow colleagues and agents are very protective of our industry and the people representing it. Many have been in the industry for a long time and have built successful careers in real estate. The training reforms and efforts to gain professionalism will eventually minimise the number of ‘dodgy’ agents and that’s what the industry is striving for.”

REI: Does the property services industry deserve better representation?

BS: “Absolutely! And we as agents and representatives must recognise this every time we are in contact with our market. We are a service industry working with the general public, from mums and dads to financial institutions, investment funds and all levels of government. No matter what they do most people are, in some way, exposed to property and its subsequent economic and social benefits. Agents have worked hard to improve their operations and image, but we are governed by a regulatory body that isn’t giving key issues the attention they warrant.”

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