When money can buy you a licence to sell, it’s no wonder agents continue to fail the ethics test

Friday 15 Nov 2019

The Governance Institute has just released its Ethics Index 2019 and the real estate industry doesn’t fare too well in the wash. That’s nothing new and throughout my career I’ve often sighed at the result.  It’s no surprise why things aren’t improving as back in my day (1989), it took 3 years to get a real estate licence; these days it takes 3 days.

About 7 years ago I took myself off to do a licence refresh, and attended the new 3 day course.  The course provides all who attend it with a Real Estate Licence and therefore the ability to put those fancy letters, LREA (Licenced Real Estate Agent) on your job title.

What astounded me the most was the lack of training in contract law and the Property, Stock & Business Agents Act, which is the legislation under which a Licensed Real Estate Agent works.  Back in 1989, we had to recite the Act pretty much in full, and my specialty was Section 52 of the Trade Practices Act (misleading and deceptive conduct).  But these days if you mention the Act to most real estate salespeople, they’d probably give you a blank look and a “say what?”

So it’s easy to see why the real estate industry remains at the bottom of the ethics barrel and it won’t change unless there is a huge overhaul by our governing body, REIA (The Real Estate Institute of Australia).

There are some Agents out there still reciting Section 52. My advice is to find one if you are thinking of heading into your next property transaction and not mistake raw enthusiasm for good ethics and thorough knowledge of real property law.

Reference:

https://www.realestatebusiness.com.au/breaking-news/19182-real-estate-agent-struggle-on-ethics-index

https://www.governanceinstitute.com.au/advocacy/ethics-index-2019/

- Kate Webster