CEO of REINSW Tim McKibben says, "Baristas trained longer than real estate agents."
A couple of very major changes are being suggested.
To start off, last month the Daily Telegraph announced that Lean Pilkington, President and Managing Director of REINSW, was one of the 100 most influential people in Sydney. She is also a founder of the Real Women in Real Estate Group, a global network group of women in the real estate industry.
At the same time, it was mentioned that she was also calling for a Property Services Commissioner to be appointed by government.
She said that now there is a Building Commissioner. Why not one for Property Services too?
"I’m thrilled to have my dedication to the industry acknowledged. I became involved in the REINSW Board, because I was concerned about the declining standards across the industry, and I’ve strongly advocated for women in the profession.
"I’m now working further to improve the industry by lobbying with REINSW for the NSW Government to appoint at Property Services Commissioner who can manage and prioritise the regulatory framework of, and individual cases within, the industry. The NSW Government has appointed a Building Commissioner – we need the same for the $107 billion property services industry."
Tim McKibben spoke well of Ms Pilkington.
"We are extremely proud of everything Leanne has done for the industry – particularly during her time serving for us on the REINSW Board of Directors – and we know she will continue to accomplish great things in the future. Leanne has a major strength in her ability to connect with people and her power to influence and create change. Anyone who has ever met Leanne will understand this and would echo me in saying that she deserves this recognition in the Sydney Power 100 list."
But now Mr McKibben is making some other suggestions for important changes. He said, for example, that it only takes 4 days to complete a course to become a barista… the same amount of time it takes to complete an entry-level qualification to sell property.
Lack of essential training and a high churn rate are the reasons behind the proposed changes.
"I don’t need to explain why a property transaction is more complex than selling a cup of coffee.
"The difference in the level of competency required to perform each task is obvious and that should be reflected in the training requirements."
Leading up to the State election, they are upping their game and running a big campaign for changes to the regulatory environment.
In the past, to gain entry into the property services industry required 3 years of education at NSW's Technical And Further Education school (TAFE).
In 2003 the NSW Office of Fair Trading (OFT) cut the requirement to a 4-day course. However, at the same time property values have shot up and the process and regulatory hoops to jump through have become increasingly complex.
Mr McKibben said REINSW has met with political parties and inquired about their policy positions on the matter.
"REINSW will be informing its members of these policy positions and requesting them to appraise their clients so that, come Election Day, they can make an informed choice."
In 2016, the NSW government passed new legislation to increase the education requirements for entrants into the real estate industry again. But according to McKibben, OFT has not yet put the reforms into practice.
"We believe this is because Fair Trading believes more training will reduce competition in the industry. REINSW agrees competition is a positive market influence, however, it must be competition between well-educated, experienced professionals. Competition alone is not the panacea for all that ails a market."
"The current education requirement not only fails to prepare agents to respond to the reasonable expectations of consumers, but it also fails people wanting a career in real estate practice.
"Eighty per cent of new entrants leave the industry in the first year."
NSW's Labor Party said it intends to establish the position of Strata Commissioner, but Mr McKibben said that while that is good news, a less specialised Property Commissioner, to oversee all property issues including strata, would be more appropriate and better serve the public.
"The industry, and more importantly consumers, need a regulatory authority that will work in a collegial manner and support it. Industry’s current relationship with Fair Trading is adversarial, which benefits no one."
REINSW circulated a petition last year to take the real estate industry out from under the control of OFT, and put it under a Property Services Commissioner instead.
As of now, the petition has about 2,300 signatures. REINSW is seeking to have at least 10,000 signatures on the petition.