Real Estate Journal

November/December 2017 edition

President John F Kennedy once said: “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” It’s a sentiment I truly believe in.

When I joined the Board of Directors in 2005, my goal was to play an instrumental role in forging positive change for our industry. To secure our future, I knew we had to change. Consumers deserved a better experience and I wanted to promote an industry-wide elevation in standards.

Twelve years later, there’s one thing I can say for certain, change has been constant for our industry and for REINSW – sometimes fast, sometimes slow, but always constant.

Spearheading reform

When I stepped into the position of REINSW President in November 2015, I knew I had big shoes to fill. Malcolm Gunning did an outstanding job during his term and we had worked together closely over the previous two years to ensure REINSW’s ever-strengthening standing with government would continue unabated.

Together with REINSW CEO Tim McKibbin, Malcolm and I built strong relationships within the NSW Government. Whereas once, years ago, the Institute was largely ignored by the government, today we are often their first call.

We have the ear of government. They see us as a significant force when it comes to industry issues and they recognise us as the go-to body for input on all things real estate. So much so that when I became REINSW President, we gained a commitment from the then NSW

"There's one thing I can say for certain, change has been constant for our industry and for REINSW - sometimes fast, sometimes slow, but always constant".

 Premier Mike Baird that, following the election, he would instruct his new Minister for Fair Trading to work directly with us on a real estate reform package. And that is exactly what we’ve done. The biggest reform package our industry has seen in more than three decades is about to become a reality.

Did we get everything we wanted? No, but you never do – and REINSW will continue to fight the good fight.

Pathway to professionalism

While I’ve long felt there was a need for the industry to raise our standards of education and lift the level of service we provide to our clients, my real light bulb moment came four years ago. How agents can build and maintain longstanding relationships and add value beyond the transaction was the focus of discussion at the fourth annual REINSW Industry Summit. It was clear that delegates felt the same way I did: It was time for our industry to change and it was time for agents to step up.

And so, our pathway to professionalism began. I’m firmly of the belief that evolution into a profession is the key to our industry’s survival, and I’m extremely proud to have witnessed the momentum that has built over the last few years around this move toward professionalism.

What started at our Industry Summit has now become a national movement, with REIA taking the reins to formally apply for a Professional Standards Scheme. REIA has appointed me as the Chair of the Professionalism Committee and I look forward to leading this project through to its fruition in 2019.

Signing off

I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next for REINSW as Leanne Pilkington steps into the position of President. Exceptionally skilled and a true leader, I know she will continue to build on the significant gains we’ve made over recent years and meet the challenges that our ever-changing industry throws up.

Finally, as I sign off as REINSW President, I’d like to say the biggest of thanks to the team at REINSW and those who have served on the Board of Directors over the last 12 years. Together we’ve had some major successes, but there have also been difficult times and hard decisions. To a person, you’ve all stood tall and risen to every challenge with grace and good cheer.

The calibre of the people I’ve had the pleasure to work with is unparalleled. They see the bigger picture beyond their own interests. They’re generous and kind hearted, curious and courteous. They give without any expectation of receiving something in return. Quite simply, they are good people doing good work.

And that, my friends, is what it’s all about.

John Cunningham
REINSW President