Curbing the free-for-all mentality of the real estate industry: Edwin Almeida

Curbing the free-for-all mentality of the real estate industry: Edwin Almeida
Curbing the free-for-all mentality of the real estate industry: Edwin Almeida

At a time where it would seemingly be an unfortunate game of “free-for-all” in the real estate and property arena that has negative-compounding effects on the public, the question remains; what institution or governing body, should take centre stage and curve the unethical practices of many agents, by adopting and implementing higher standards in new-training curriculums, before issuing licenses? 

Will it be the Real Estate Institute NSW (REINSW) or should Fair Trading and NSW Government offices alone handle the accreditations and certifications? Perhaps it should only be handled by specialists groups that are privately owned. Bodies that are licensed and empowered by the respective State Government.

No matter what the right or wrong answer may be, one thing is clear: it is presently a free-for-all in training provided to upcoming would-be real estate agents, as it is in the same agent’s behavior in and on their field of practice. It appears the answer is not closer today than it was yesterday. 

The reason for this article continues to center around current practices followed by real estate agents. Behavior that stems from practices adopted by agents in falsely presenting property to market and to bait consumers. Also further alarming discoveries of property not being properly represented. I have heard of property that has sold for 10 percent it’s true worth under a “forced legal auction [campaign]” and this being one of many that warrants further investigation and an article of its own. 

Staying true to this article and not being tempted to discuss our findings about these forced auctions, as I’m sure they will also make a great piece to read later on over another coffee; allow me to briefly discuss the anomalies around our industry’s state of affairs when it comes to training.  

The Real Estate Institute’s role

Admittedly, very little is known about the level and standard of training provided by REINSW. The actual course is not dissimilar to any other certification or licensing course found outside its walls. 

One thing for sure is that there is a common thread occurring, as most of the recipients of allegations and accusations labeled at agents for bad and unethical behavior, are actually members of the REINSW themselves. So the question is, how many have been trained and licensed through the REINSW's classrooms?

Yet, it is the voice of the REINSW that mainly calls on reform and changes to education but it appears in their eyes this will work, only if they are in control of the course curriculum and standards. 

I find it difficult to see how organizations with so much to offer as a lobby group, want to corner the market in so called implementing “ethical-training” measures but only as they see it. I won’t even venture into notions of parliamentary representation as a political party which has come from my friends in office at the REINSW.

My question to REINSW is simple. What other industry organisations and lobby groups train and license the work force they represent? 

The NSW Government

It is no secret and we all understand that our NSW Government Institutions are sadly under-resourced and therefore unable to maintain what I thought was once a well-controlled and monitored training and licensing unit. 

It’s not to say they don’t provide the service through TAFE courses. Again sadly, with privatization, options that are more readily accessed are available and the latter being the path of least resistance to many wanting to enter the industry. It is a no brainer to guess, where the wannabe real estate agents obtain their accreditations from.

The Private Sector

Most of the private Training Facilitators I know are both ethical and provide rigid and structured programs. I say most but despondently not all. 

Sadly, I feel it is in this lack of oversight by the government that some private institutions run what may well be questionable programs and courses to license an individual to sell and manage, the most valuable assets people have. 

However, this oversight cannot be blamed entirely on the current system, again how can governing bodies run proper audits when they are understaffed? 

What I am aware off is this: an audit is conducted on a private facilitator once every 5 years.  Please do tell me how this does not dissuade operators from implementing free-for-all training programs with very little accountability? 

I do not have the answer to what is the ideal solution but: if the real estate institute wants to rule the nest in providing training, again I say clean out your own house before preaching to the masses. If the Private Training Facilitators is the answer, then the governing bodies should implement auditing measures that are less susceptible to low rate training practices. Finally, if the government is to resume control, perhaps it’s also time the Federal Government got involved and laid down the law. Legal requirements with more stringent penalties and levels of accountability and all, before licensing individuals to deal with major assets.  

EDWIN ALMEIDA is licensee in charge of Just Think Real Estate.

He is also the creator of Oz Real Estate.TV and a presenter for propertyinvestingvault.com.

Edwin Almeida

Edwin Almeida

Edwin Almeida is managing partner and licensee-in-charge of Just Think Real Estate.

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Property Government

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