When you’re choosing an agent to help you sell your home, their level of training is definitely one of the most important things you should be considering. Given the high financial value of real estate transactions, minimum training standards need to be high enough to provide you with a certain level of protection.
There was a recent article from The Financial Review about a large influx of new agents who are flocking to NSW to do training courses, and gaining a real estate licence in as little as 9 days, which is leading to falling standards in the industry.
Here’s where it gets really scary. That licence isn’t something that just allows them to sell real estate. That’s a licence that allows them to run a business and employ agents to work for them. There’s no way they’re going to know all they need to know about running a real estate office in just 9 days. They’re not going to know enough about sales, negotiating techniques, property management, human resources, trust accounts and everything else that is equally as important. It’s just not possible. But those are all things you are relying on them to know. You’re expecting a certain level of knowledge and expertise which they just don’t have. That is something you should be very concerned about.
According to the article, NSW has received close to 18,000 applications to enter the industry as a salesperson or property manager during the past 3 years. No doubt, many of these applicants are attempting to cash in on the rampant growth in the Sydney real estate market.
In any industry, it’s an unfortunate reality that you are always going to have those who look for the easiest way to do things. They’ll cut corners and travel the path of least resistance on the road to making a quick profit, not caring what kind of damage they leave in their wake. These people will not succeed in the long term.
Part of the problem is there is currently no commonality between states and territories when it comes to standards governing entrance to the industry or licensing (which is by no means a problem isolated to the real estate industry). A number of years ago a case was made for national licensing, which is something we definitely support 100% (as long as it provides the right protections for consumers), but the Council of Australian Governments recommended that standards be dumbed down to the lowest common denominator across the country, worried that high standards would create barriers to entry. The thing is, you need high standards to protect buyers and sellers and the proposal seriously undermined consumer protection. So the industry fought back and blocked what would have been a disastrous national licensing scheme.
Here in the ACT, thankfully we have very strong standards, but with no national governing body and each state and territory responsible for their own legislation and regulations, the real danger is if someone gets a license from a different state, then brings those potentially substandard qualifications here. If you work with one of those agents and something goes wrong, you’ve got no protection.
That means it falls on agencies themselves to ensure their own training standards are at a high enough level to provide clients with the best outcomes. Real estate training should focus on ensuring agents achieves their full potential, that way their clients will receive the best possible service and they will be able to mitigate risks to both themselves and their clients. Agencies need to understand that there is a big difference between training for compliance and training for success.
Think of it this way. You wouldn’t trust your life to a surgeon who has only completed a week long correspondence course they found on some dark corner of the internet. We don’t even let people drive who only have 9 days training. So why would you entrust your home, your biggest asset, to an agent who hasn’t been trained to succeed?
Training for success means taking a long term view and ensuring agents are well-equipped to provide their clients with the best results in any market. It’s not just informing them about the rules and regulations that govern the industry. It’s teaching them how to market homes effectively, how to negotiate with a wide range of people and how to communicate with their clients.
At Independent Property Group our staff retention rate is well above the industry average, which is largely a reflection of the in-depth and ongoing training each agent receives. We’ve always taken the view that training doesn’t cost, it pays. A high level of training means a high level of performance. It means we can minimise client risk and deliver impressive results based on knowledge, sound advice and experience. That is why clients come back to us again and again.
In this industry, change happens at a rapid pace and agents need to work hard to stay up to date with their training. Working with a poorly trained agent can end up costing you big dollars. So if you are planning on selling your home, make sure you ask what qualifications an agent has and where they got them from. Don’t risk a poor outcome from an poorly trained agent. Work with an agent who can provide you with the advice and guidance you need to get a great result.