New laws proposed for real estate agents targeting underquoting

AGENTS not trained in property valuations will struggle under new legislation targeting underquoting, according to the Real Estate Institute.

NSW President Malcolm Gunning said current courses – some as short as a few hours – will not be sufficient for new laws introduced on January 1.

According to The Daily Telegraph story, the changes will mean that agents will no longer be able to use the terms “offers over’’, “offers from’’ or symbols such as a ‘plus’ sign when selling homes.

They will need to show evidence when setting a price range, which must be the same as the agency agreement with the vendor.

“If you are let loose with one day’s training, you are not equipped to work in residential real estate and provide a meaningful or accountable opinion of value.

“To be a property valuer you need to have a three year university degree so the gap between them and agents is huge,’’ Mr Gunning said.

The REINSW wants to lift the standard of education for both registered and licenced agents.

Under their proposal, sales people would have to obtain a certificate level qualification.

While those running their own agency would need to gain a diploma, requiring part-time study for two years while gaining on the job experience.

According to the Department of Fair Trading, an independent panel is currently reviewing training and qualifications in the industry to identify ways of improving professional standards.

Mr Gunning believes new legislation will sort out the genuine players, as it will put more responsibility on agents to use their skills to manage client’s expectations while negotiating the best deal.

“The Government can’t understand why real estate agents can’t value property at the point of listing,’’ he said.

“The REI is of the opinion that with the fees that agents have been paid there is an expectation that they should know.’’