5 March 2019

Would you let a barista sell your home?

A good cup of coffee is the morning staple of nearly every NSW resident. Its perfect preparation is vital to the collective mood of over 7.5 million people and requires due diligence, skill and attention to detail. 

But does it necessitate the same level of education required to transact property? … We didn’t think so either.

So why, then, can the training for these two careers be achieved in the same amount of time?

"That’s a great question," says REINSW CEO, Tim McKibbin. "And it’s one we are still asking NSW Fair Trading daily."

Following a decade of lobbying by REINSW, in late 2016 the NSW Government proposed sweeping reforms to the training requirements for a career in real estate. Working in consultation with REINSW, a comprehensive training reforms package was developed and in February 2018 it was passed by both Houses of Parliament.

"The reforms package is the single biggest achievement for the industry this century," says McKibbin. "It will set in motion a generational change and plays a major role in the our Pathway to Professionalism movement.

"We worked very closely with the NSW Government to create a reforms package that meets the needs of the industry," continues McKibbin. "However, it’s been a year since the reforms were passed and yet we still don’t know when they will be implemented."

McKibbin cited the lack of communication regarding the implementation date of the reforms package as a key reason REINSW resigned from the Real Estate Reference Group in September last year.

"REINSW’s drive to increase education, service delivery standards, consumer satisfaction and the pursuit of professional recognition has been met with NSW Fair Trading’s go-to phrases: ‘barriers to entry’ and ‘reducing competition’," he says.

"A better educated real estate agent who receives relevant and structured continuing professional development will better serve the consumer’s needs and interests. Unfortunately, it seems we’re alone in this belief."

Selling coffee vs. selling property

"I don’t need to explain why a property transaction is more complex than selling a cup of coffee," says McKibbin. "The difference in the level of competency required to perform each task is obvious and that should be reflected in the training requirements."

Currently, you can complete the entry level qualification to transact property in four days. The same amount of time it takes to complete a barista course.

"Given the legalities surrounding property transactions and the implications of getting it wrong, thinking four days’ training is sufficient is ludicrous," says McKibbin. "We’re talking about most people’s most valuable possession.

"As I’ve said before, and will continue to say, it is essential that buyers, vendors, landlords and tenants are protected by quality legislation that promotes continuous improvement of standards for agents."

Agent vs trusted advisor

"With the ever-increasing complexity of property transactions and the market, agents need to focus more on the advice component of their services," says McKibbin. "To achieve this, standards have to be lifted and the only way to do that is through education and workplace experience."

McKibbin says delaying the implementation of the training reforms is detrimental to consumers and the industry, and is yet another example of why there is a need for a Property Services Commissioner. 

"Apart from the improved qualification requirements for agents, the appointment of a Commissioner would also provide a single centralised overview of legislation and regulation that impacts residential, commercial, strata and rural property as it affects property owners, tenants and the businesses in the industry," he continues. 

"The industry needs these reforms to better respond to the contemporary consumer's expectations. The sooner they are implemented the sooner the industry can move forward for the better." 

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