Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency, the Blockchain and Real Estate

In this video I  talk about Cryptocurrency, the Blockchain and Real Estate with Lisa B, Real Estate Coach and Trainer from The Real Estate Hotline and Nathan Waters, Futurist, Entrepreneur and Founder of Peerism. I hope you enjoy it.

For information on the tax implications of Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency visit https://www.ato.gov.au

estate-agents-cooperative-eac-bitcoin-cryptocurrency-blockchain-real-estate-nathan-waters
Nathan Waters is a futurist, entrepreneur and consultant. Founder of Peerism, a blockchain-based economic protocol which aims to solve job automation and wealth inequality via skill tokens. He also started and organises SydEthereum, one of the largest Ethereum meetups in the world.

 

lisa b real estate coach

Lisa B
EAC Industry Reporter

Preparing for the Industry Reforms – Licensing and Training – what you need to know

After many years of advocacy by EAC on behalf of members and countless meetings with NSW Fair Trading and Government, last week saw the Property, Stock and Business Agents Amendment (Property Industry Reform) Bill 2017 introduced to Parliament. Discussion on the Bill will take place in February 2018 when Parliament sits again and our current understanding is that the changes will come into effect in the second half of 2018.

EAC has worked through several drafts of the Bill with NSW Fair Trading to ensure that to the extent possible that the changes will work from an industry practice perspective.

The reforms introduce several changes in relation to licensing and will affect everyone currently working in the industry. We recommend that Certificate Holders through to Principals watch this video as there are changes that you can start preparing for now that will make it much easier for you once the changes come into effect.

In this video I talk with Rosy Sullivan, College Principal at Australian College of Professionals about how you can prepare for their introduction.

Loose Fill Asbestos are you meeting your Obligations?

In the Loose-fill asbestos insulation guide published by NSW Fair Trading a number of obligations are imposed on the industry in relation to the potential existence of asbestos in the properties that you are engaged to sell or manage.

These obligations include:

  • a duty of care to the client and workers engaged to carry out work on the property;
  • a commitment to act honestly, fairly and professionally;
  • a responsibility to disclose certain matters to prospective buyers and tenants.

You have an obligation under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to,” so far as is reasonably practicable, identify and manage the risks from loose-fill asbestos” from both a sale and property management perspective.

Don’t you just love that phrase ‘reasonably practicable’? Every time NSW Fair Trading uses it we ask for an example, they are not always forthcoming. EAC has put forward to NSW Fair Trading on many occasions that as agents we are not building inspectors and we believe that in some cases too much onus is being put on agents. Putting that aside, to assist you in meeting your obligations in regards to Loose Fill Asbestos we have created a Loose Fill Asbestos Questionnaire.

Firstly, you should be advising your principals that properties built before 1980 may contain loose-fill asbestos insulation. Secondly, you should have them complete the questionnaire at the time of your initial inspection. If you have not done this then we suggest that you send out the form to all your clients and have them complete it so you have it on file, and especially if the property was built before 1980.

If as a result of the completion of the questionnaire you become aware of the presence of loose-fill asbestos or suspect that loose-fill asbestos may be present then we suggest you follow the steps outlined on the Loose-fill asbestos insulation guide.

Our forms solutions provide you with the flexibility to work the way you prefer and we have made the questionnaire available both as online and printable form. The online version is now available in our Online forms solution and print version can be downloaded from our Supplementary Forms and Resources page on eac.com.au.

As a reminder for Members, as part of your membership you are able to obtain free legal advice from Jemmeson & Fisher Solicitors on our agency agreements and other practice related issues. When the need arises just give us a call on 1300 137 161 and we will put you through.

Real estate agent. Does this FSBO (For Sale By Owner) short film seem familiar?

Ever found yourself shaking your head in disbelief at a prospective vendor, who decides to go it alone and sell privately? The reality is a good agent always makes their job look easy. In fact, some of you make it look so simple that every man and his apprentice think they can do the same — if not better.

How many people have told you, “I think I would make a good agent”?

Next time you come across a prospective client who is about to make that scary choice of FSBO, you might want to save them some heart ache and money by sending them a link to our main character, David, who decides he doesn’t need the services of a professional agent. After all, David is a creative genius with an iPhone camera , social media guru and a born sales person. What could possibly go wrong?

Purpose made for Australian real estate agencies, this 3-part mini-series, of only a couple of minutes each, will have you reeling with embarrassment as you watch the bumbling efforts of David, an FSBO ‘practitioner’.

Whether it gets your office or clients laughing, or is even suitable to send to a prospective vendor, this slice-of-life skit will take you to a place that is only so real.

Episode 1:
Full of confidence, David attempts to sell his house. However, it soon becomes apparent just how much he lacks to achieve a great result.

Welcome to your modern real estate co-operative

If you visit the EAC website, or come to an Insight event in the coming weeks, you’ll see that a lot has been happening at the Estate Agents Co-operative and we are excited to finally share with you what we have been working on in the last few months.

As many of you know, we are Australia’s most established community of real estate agents, and we have been serving this dynamic industry for over 50 years. In this time a lot has changed. With shifting markets and new technologies, the landscape is unrecognizable from when we first set out to bring like-minded agents together, in 1960.

This mission still sits at the very heart of what we do, but, in speaking to our members, we realized that it was time to re-invigorate our offer, and our brand, to become a truly modern co-operative.

So what does this mean for you?

The EAC that now stands in front of you has a refreshed brand, one that more accurately reflects the passion, warmth and energy of our team.

We also have an updated, easy to navigate website that includes information about our services, our team and our upcoming events.

But this refresh is about more than appearance. As part of the new EAC we are pleased to introduce a suite of innovative products to support you in future-proofing your business.

These products include powerful video marketing tools, fully responsive and customisable web packages and advanced data services and dashboards that enable you to be the expert in your market.

We are proud to offer you advanced technology that supports you in growing your business, whilst maintaining a focus on our community on the ground, through the strong relationships we have with our partners and our members.

As part of this community focus, we’ll be keeping you abreast of the latest changes in the industry and we’ll be helping you grow your professional network through events in your area. And if there’s ever anything you need, we’ll still be on the other end of the phone, to offer advice and guidance.

We, as an industry, have a bright future ahead of us and, with our re-energised outlook, we are excited to be a part of it.

NSW Fair Trading, what are they focusing on at the moment?

NSW Fair Trading are out in the field conducting inspections of real estate agents and local businesses. In EAC’s meetings with the government body, as part of the Real Estate Reference group, they share with us what they are finding ‘out there’ and what they’re focusing on.

In a recent visit to Parkes and Forbes in March 2017, all ten real estate offices inspected were found to be in breach of legislation.

During their inspections, NSW Fair Trading are looking at a multitude of things relating to compliance, and it surprises us to hear of the types of breaches as well as the amount of penalty infringement notices and fines being given to agents.

Here are some things that you may want to check in your office.

Real Estate Licences and Certificates of Registration

Let’s start with the basics, with an inspection of licences or certificate of registration for your team. Do you have them all readily available and are they current? For the renewal of a licence or certificate you have to do CPD; have you done the necessary CPD and have the necessary proof? Fair Trading have caught out a number of people who have stated they have done the necessary CPD at the time of renewal, but have not.

Agency Agreements

Are all your agreements in order, are they signed by the correct person, do they have the correct licence numbers on them, are they in the necessary files?

Underquoting

Despite the amount of information that EAC and others have put out about the legislation changes, agents are still being found to be underquoting.

In summary, you cannot state or publish a price for a property that is less than your reasonable estimate of the property’s likely selling price contained in the agency agreement with the seller. The estimated selling price can be a single figure or a price range. If a price range is used, the highest price must not be more than 10 per cent higher than the lowest price. Advertisements and representations that say “offers over” or “offers above” or any similar statement are not allowed.

What you state in your agency agreement, as to the estimated selling price, may be checked against your market appraisal, your advertising and your communications with consumers including your emails. If your estimated selling price changes, you must amend your agreement with the vendor and EAC Forms. Customers can do so with our Notice To Vendor Of Revised Estimated Selling Price. You should also provide any supporting evidence or an updated market appraisal, while also updating your marketing materials.

In some of the cases that we are aware of, there was blatant underquoting and in others it was just a case of poor paperwork. In simple terms, get your agency agreement right, don’t market the property or provide consumers with prices under the estimated selling price you have in the agency agreement; and if the property sells over this price, even significantly, and there is a complaint made you will not have a problem.

Verifying the Identification of your Vendors

We believe most of the agents that we referred to in Parkes and Forbes received an infringement notice and fine for not doing this. We believe the infringement notice was for a breach of the rules of conduct, and relate to the Real Estate Fraud Prevention Guidelines.

Section 37 of the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002 provides that the regulations may prescribe rules of conduct to be observed in the course of the carrying on of business, or the exercise of functions under a licence or certificate of registration.

If you are not obtaining the necessary proof of identity for your vendors, you must; and if you are not we suggest you start doing so. For more information see the Real Estate Fraud Prevention Guidelines. An Identity Checklist for Vendors form is available to EAC Forms customers, and can be downloaded from our Supplementary Forms page or within eForms.

So what are Fair Trading focusing on over the next few months?

In addition to the above we can advise that NSW Fair Trading will be focusing on the area of Property Management in May and Trust Accounts in June, checking if a Unique Identifying Number has been obtained and attached to the accounts.

NSW Fair Trading can turn up at your office at any time, but are more likely to do so as part of their My Place Program. The My Place Program will be taking place in the following areas during the rest of 2017.

Hornsby 15 – 19 May
Tamworth 5 – 9 June
Belmont/Swansea 13 – 16 June
Cootamundra/Young 26 – 30 June
Camden 17 – 21 July
Coffs Harbour 24 – 28 July
Orange 14 – 18 August
Lismore 21 – 25 August
Deniliquin 4 – 8 September
Port Stephens 23 – 27 October
Bowral 30 October – 3 November
Liverpool 6 – 10 November

If you are subject to an inspection and have any questions or are not sure of your position, EAC Members are able to obtain free legal advice from Jemmeson Fisher as part of your membership.

New Insurance Offering for EAC Members

Estate Agents Co-operative Ltd and OAMPS have worked together to negotiate a new insurance offering for members of the Co-operative.

The Professional Indemnity insurance provides a broad range of coverage which enables agents to comply with their legislative requirements. In addition, the policy coverage also automatically extends to a number of key benefits:

  • Fidelity (Employee Theft) – cover included for no additional premium to a sub-limit of $100,000;
  • Employment Practices Liability – cover included for no additional premium to a sub-limit of $100,000;
  • Franchisor’s coverage – the policy extending to Franchisors as insured’s where they are joined to an action with the insured, or as a result of the insured actions;
  • Insurance Distribution Activities Extension – Cover is specifically extended to include distribution of insurance products as part of a Real Estate Agency’s activities. This is very relevant in the case of property management, where commonly agents provide insurance solutions or hold agencies with insurers to provide products for property owners, tenants or strata plans. With the changing landscape of strata requirements, this is especially prudent.
  • Referral Services Extension – Agents provide their client with a number of referral sources, be it property maintenance, tradespersons, conveyancing, building and pest inspections, mortgage brokers and many more. It could be alleged that the agent has a duty to perform due diligence on any persons or companies they recommend to their own clients. The policy cover extends to protect agents for their liability arising out of any allegations or claims arising from a referral relationship.
  • Bodily injury or property damage in any way is not excluded under the policy.  This is a common exclusion that relates to a primary exposure for agents, whether showing clients through open houses, hosting auctions or providing property management activities.
  • Legal costs are in addition to the policy limit, that is the limit is available for payments of any awards against the agent, rather than being used up by applicable legal defence costs;
  • Sub-Contractors and Consultants – the vicarious liability to the insured agency is covered for the actions of any sub-contractors and consultants;
  • Dishonesty of Employees – cover is provided to the agency for the actions of dishonest or fraudulent employees, provided such acts were not condoned by the Insured;
  • Minimum premiums for a Professional Indemnity cover of $1,000,000 in any one claim, with $3,000,000 in the Aggregate begin at $1,250 including all taxes, fees and charges.
  • Higher levels of cover are available as required.

We have also negotiated reduced rates for office insurance and public liability, as well as a policy for management liability cover for members in order to provide a holistic solution to their business needs.

EAC Director Anthony Chapman stated “I recently renewed my business insurance options using this new facility and I saved over a thousand dollars in premiums whilst getting superior cover at the same time.”

For more information, or to obtain a quotation, Members can speak with their local OAMPS branch, or contact Drew Ferns at OAMPS on 02 4226 8700.

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Estate Agents Co-operative Ltd

Change to Swimming Pool Provisions have been delayed

The NSW Office of Local Government has announced that the provisions that require a property with a swimming pool to have a certificate of compliance before it can be SOLD or LEASED will now commence on 29 APRIL 2015 (NOT 2014) an extension of 12 months.

This means that the requirement to attach a valid Certificate of Compliance or current Occupation Certificate to the Contract for Sale or to the Residential Tenancy Agreement will now not apply until 29 April 2015.

Click here to view NSW Office of Local Government circular to councils.

For further information members can call EAC Agency Practice Support on 1300 137 161

New co-ops law launches in NSW and VIC

The 3rd March 2014 saw the commencement of the of Co-operatives National Law in New South Wales and Victoria which provides the national legislative framework for Co-operatives.

The new laws mean less red tape and reporting burden for smaller co-ops, and for all co-ops, the ability to trade across state borders without dual registration.

For more information read the update released by NSW Fair Trading

For more information about Co-operatives you can visit the Co-operatives and Associations page on the NSW Fair Trading site.

NSW Fair Trading introduces changes to the Residential Tenancies Condition Report

Real Estate offices may have received an email from NSW Fair Trading on 28 February regarding a New Condition report for residential tenancies. The prescribed report has been changed by the addition of ‘window safety devices’ wherever ‘windows/screens’ appears. This change is effective from 1 March 2014.

eForms
For those offices using EAC eForms the necessary changes have been made and the updated form is now available for use.

Printed Forms
If you are using EAC printed forms these forms may still be used BUT YOU MUST write in the additional words”/window safety devices” as outlined above.

So on the form wherever you see “windows/screens” you must change this to “windows/screens/window safety devices”

EAC_Condition _ReportThe example above shows the change to EAC’s Condition Report on our eForms system.

These changes do not impose any obligation on the landlord to install window safety devices if none exist.

EAC believe that the notice provided by Fair Trading of this change was inadequate and is seeking clarification from Fair Trading as to the practicality of these changes and the likely implications for leasing and managing agents and members will be informed as soon as this advice comes to hand.

EAC Members may direct any questions they have to our Helpline on 1300 137 161.