Property Agent Trust Account Breaches seem to be a common occurrence if the Qld Office of Fair Trading list of recent media releases are any indication. So when looking to appoint a real estate agent to handle your real estate transactions such as the purchase sale or rental management, what should you look for? Logic says you will want to find yourself a knowledgeable, ethical and responsible real estate agent that you can trust.
So What sets the professionals apart from the rogues?
Finding an REIQ accredited agency is a step in the right direction and can give you some peace of mind. It’s also good to know that there is a Claim Fund set up by the QLD Office of Fair Trading for consumers who suffer losses due to actions of an Agent.
REIQ, the Real Estate Institute of Queensland, is Queensland’s crowning professional association for the real estate industry. Established in 1918, the REIQ represents 85% of real estate agencies across the state. An REIQ accredited agency is required to follow the guidelines set out by REIQ. It means they must undertake compulsory training under the Continuing Professional Development Program, which promotes best practice and compliance for the Queensland Real Estate Industry. They must also adhere to the REIQ Standards of Business Practice, which complements the statutory Code of Conduct also known as the “Real Estate Agency Practice Code of Conduct”.
Alot of people rely on online reviews but consumers need to realise that for a residential real estate agency which deals with both sales and rentals a lot of the dissatisfaction comes from disgruntled tenants. For example, tenants who break their lease are bound to pay the rent until a new tenant is found and the agency is required to mitigate loss (in other words, find a suitable new tenant quickly to take the financial burden off the previous tenant). In my experience they often blame the real estate agent when a tenant isn’t found straight away.
It’s unfair to the small business owner who gets a bad online review from a tenant when they are doing their best but can’t give a tenant who is in breach of contract a win due to a slower rental market or other factors out of their control.
A recent media release by the Office of Fair Trading highlights the issue of bogus reviews relating to services provided by the real estate industry. So how can you take an online review seriously?