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Industry body looks to split real estate profession

The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) has declared it will split the industry with its latest move, as it forges forwards with its Pathway to Professionalism plans.

REIA President Malcolm Gunning announced this morning that the REIA has applied to the Professional Standards Authority for admission as a profession.

“The Authority is an independent statutory body established with specific responsibilities under professional standards legislation for assessing and approving applications for, and supervising the application of, Professional Standards Schemes,” said Mr Gunning.

The REIA says the move will benefit consumers, by forcing agents who want to pursue the profession path to undergo raised education and training standards, far beyond what currently exists.

If the submission is successful, the REIA will have a legal responsibility to the Professional Standards Scheme to “monitor, enforce and improve the professional standards of their members”, giving them more power to oversee education and regulation.

The move would make the real estate industry the ninth industry to achieve professional standing in Australia. Other industries who have achieved this standard include accounting, IT and law.

When the plans were originally announced last year, former REINSW President John Cunningham said several agencies were already on board with the initiative, naming McGrath, Marshall White and Place as champions of the increased professional standards.

The next move after the achievement of professional standing would be a ‘robust’ code of ethics that REIA members would need to adhere to, and a set of accountability commitments to maintain membership according to Mr Gunning.

“Individuals will need firstly to be members of their state Real Estate Institute and then pass rigorous tests to achieve recognition,” he said.

Mr Gunning was quick to say that the move wouldn’t be supported by everyone in the industry. He said that it would separate the ‘professionals’ from the other agents, naming low cost listing services as those unlikely to take part.

“This scheme will not be for all agents as only those prepared to raise the bar on their own standards, skills, education, performance and commitments will qualify.”

“Consumers will have a clear choice between a valued professional and the low cost listing services entering the industry and they will be able to determine the value and effectiveness of both when they come to sell their property.

“It is expected that state and federal Governments across Australia will also welcome the move as has already been documented in the NSW Parliament,” said Mr Gunning.

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