New South Wales top auctioneers are now set to find out who will be the top auctioneer in 2015

Entry to the New South Wales Heats of the Australasian Real Estate Institutes’ Auctioneering Championships has now closed.

This year sees Gavin Croft who took out the NSW competition for last two years  as well as the runner-up from the 2014 Clarence White back to try to take out the title for the chance to join the other winners from around Australia & New Zealand at the finals which are being held in Melbourne on the 1-3 September 2015.

Gavin Croft from Bresic Whitney Estate Agents  said “Both the NSW heats and the Australasian Championships are always fiercely contested. By the quality of this year’s entrants, it appears 2015 will be no different.”

The entrants in this year’s heats include:

Alex Pattaro – LJ Hooker

Andrew Cooley – Cooley Auctions

Ben Horwood – LJ Hooker

Briannan Crawford – Cooley Auctions

Clarence White – McGrath Estate Agents

Damien Cooley – Cooley Auctions

Edward Riley – McGrath Estate Agents

Gavin Croft – Bresic Whitney Estate Agents

Joshua Larsen – McGrath Estate Agents

Leon Axford – Axford Auctions

Lucas Cannan-  Think Real Estate

Will Hampson – My Auctioneer  Sydney

The CEO of REIA, Amanda Lynch, said: “NSW has a strong and proud history of auctioneering reflected in the record weekend auction clearance rates. One of the finalists could very well be the auctioneer who snatches the Australasian trophy from New Zealand this September as Scott Kennedy-Green did for NSW in 2006.”

Personally I would like to thank all the competitors for their entry into this years competition, I wish you all best and I think that it is great to see the number of high quality entrants in this year’s heats.  It would be good to see a New South Wales Auctioneer make the finals or even better take out the title at the Championships in Melbourne this later year.

We would also like to announce a new major sponsor for the New South Wales heats this year AON. AON is a sponsor of the REIA and was recently announced as the Insurance Partner for Estate Agents Co-operative.

2015 NSW Awards for Excellence Date Announced

Estate Agents Co-operative Ltd (EAC) and the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) is pleased to announce the New South Wales Awards for Excellence recognising the real estate industry’s top performers from the NSW Affiliate Council Members of the REIA.

The 2015 awards will be held on 27th of October 2015 in Sydney.

The awards are a brilliant way to recognise the professional efforts of agents and property managers.  The awards allow award winners from NSW to also be recognised and compete at the National Awards.

Details on entry to the awards will be released in the coming weeks.

Loose-fill asbestos insulation in residential properties guide released for NSW

In January EAC met with NSW Fair Trading and Workcover to discuss the ongoing issue of Loose-Fill Insulation containing Asbestos.

At this meeting a discussion took place regarding the need to clearly outline to agents, property managers and consumers the steps that they need to take regarding Loose-Fill Insulation containing Asbestos in properties.  EAC has worked in conjunction with WorkCover in the development of a factsheet regarding Loose-Fill Insulation containing Asbestos.

“Agents and Property Managers cannot be expected to make a qualified assessment of whether asbestos is present in a property,” said Geoff Hunter, EAC Industry Liaison Officer.  “That is why this factsheet is so important, to give them clear steps and guidelines on how to deal with Loose-Fill Insulation containing Asbestos, and to make clear their obligation to properly inform property owners of their associated obligations.”

There are a number of obligations imposed on real estate agents by law in relation to Asbestos located in the properties agents are engaged to sell, lease 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.

It is reasonable to assume that properties constructed before 1980 may contain Loose-Fill Asbestos Insulation.

The problem confronting all agents and property managers is that the presence of Loose-Fill Insulation containing Asbestos is a “Material Fact.”  Therefore, the factsheet outlines the steps that principles, agents and property managers should take in relation to properties they lease and/or manage, or are engaged to sell.

“The protection and representation of NSW agents and property managers is of the utmost importance to EAC, That is why it is so important that we have worked with NSW Government departments on this issue and will continue to do so at every turn.

This factsheet is now complete and ready to be viewed here.

NSW Government vows to crackdown on under quoting – Politics at it’s best!

I am sure that many of you like myself saw the reports in the media on the weekend with the NSW Premier Mike Baird and the Minister for Fair Trading Matthew Mason Cox vowing to crack down on agents that under quote if re-elected at the NSW election being held on 28 March 2015. This was also confirmed in this article on the Liberal Party website.

If we look at the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002 (the Act) in this regard:
Section 72 of the Act prohibits an agent from making false representations with respect to the agent’s true estimate of the selling price of a property to either a seller or prospective seller of residential property.

Section 73 of the Act prohibits an agent, by any statement made in the course of marketing a property pursuant to an agency agreement for the sale of a residential property, falsely understating the estimated selling price of the property.

Section 75 of the Act extends the provisions of sections 72 and 73 to ‘estimated price range’ in the same way as it applies to ‘estimated price’.

The maximum penalty for a breach of the provisions is $22,000. It is interesting to note that there have been no fines issued or prosecution of agents for this practice in recent years.

EAC has been in discussions with Fair Trading Officers with regard to, what appears to be, an increase in the incidence of “under quoting” by some agents and the impact of significant price escalation driven by unprecedented consumer demand. This market activity and selling price increases has made the task of estimating future selling prices extremely difficult.

The comments made by both the Premier and the Minister fail to recognise the existing legislative requirements and the impact on consumer expectations of the agents if properly enforced. The greater majority of agents understand their responsibilities. For the few that don’t the law is already in place.

With the election looming I believe that the attack on estate agents was a “knee jerk” reaction and was purely for political gain (read votes) and not in the best interests of consumers or agents. The reality is that many well researched and well prepared estimates of selling prices by agents are often overtaken by buyer competition and market forces, factors outside the agents control and not readily predicted.

EAC enjoys a healthy working relationship with NSW Fair Trading and will continue to work with them to ensure that the interests of the industry and consumers are protected.

EAC Chairman Dale Whittaker is also disappointed with the approach that the government took on the weekend and he believes that the approach that NSW Fair Trading should be taking is to raise the entry level standards for the industry and through quality ongoing training.

First Home Buyer Figures Understated

The Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) have released revised First Home Buyer (FHB) figures after an investigation into the accuracy of estimates of loans to first home buyers.

The figures released in November 2014 had put the number of FHB loan commitments at 6,061 but the revised figures now put the number of commitments at 7,627, an increase of 25.8%

“Initially we thought the fall-off in first home buyer loans over the last two years was due to reduced affordability arising from changes in grants, rising house prices, increased investment housing loan activity and general economic conditions,” Ms Hodges said in a statement.

“However, subsequent analysis and follow-up with lenders has confirmed that the drop was partly due to under-reporting by some lenders.” said Ms Hodges.

The ABS is now working with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority which collects the first home buyer loan data for the ABS to ensure all loans to first home buyers are recorded in the future, regardless of whether they receive a first home owner grant or not. In the meantime, the ABS will adjust first home buyer data for this under-reporting using estimates based on data provided by lenders that reported correctly.

Although the ABS has released revised figures for November 2014 it could well be that the figures released for FHB’s over the past two years has been significantly understated.

The First Home Owner Grant scheme in New South Wales provides a grant of $15,000 and only applies to eligible first home owners who purchase a new home or build their home. This grant will reduce to $10,000 on 1 January 2016.

Estate Agents Co-operative introduces new cost effective CPD Workshops

Real Estate CPD Workshops

We have just released our CPD Workshop Calendar for the next 6 months which includes Property Management 2014 and Commercial and Retail Leasing and Management 2014 workshops. These workshops have been designed for agency principals and all property management staff.

 

 

These practical “hands on” sessions are  important for those who wish to update their skills in this area and who are looking at delivering client service that is second to none.

The workshops provide 12 CPD points and our early bird rates are as low as $135.00 for EAC Members which provides a significant saving over the rates charged by many other CPD providers.

Click here to view the CPD Workshop calendar for dates, locations and registration details.

 

 

National Licensing for the Real Estate Industry is not going to proceed

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) held its 36th meeting today in Canberra and it would appear as though National Licensing for our industry will not be proceeding.

In the Communique from the meeting it was stated:

“COAG noted that, following the outcome of extensive State-based consultation, the majority of States decided not to pursue the proposed National Occupational Licensing Scheme (NOLS) reform. Most jurisdictions identified a number of concerns with the proposed NOLS model and potential costs. States instead decided to investigate approaches that would increase labour mobility and deliver net benefits for businesses and governments.”

” To this end, States agreed to work together via the Council for the Australian Federation (CAF) to develop alternative options for minimising licensing impediments to improving labour mobility and to manage the orderly disestablishment of the National Occupation Licensing Authority from early 2014.”

While EAC was in favour of National Licensing, we had stated that in the proposed form we did not believe it was in the best interest of the industry or consumers. We can now look forward to maintaining the educational standards and professionalism of the real estate occupations.

NSW Fair Trading starts a new Tenancy Dispute Service

OFT-logo

NSW Fair Trading has started a tenancy dispute service. The free voluntary service is said to provide a convenient alternative to having residential tenancy matters heard by the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal (CTTT).

The service starts on 1 December 2013 and NSW tenants, landlords and property managers can use the service to resolve selected residential tenancy disputes.

According to Fair Trading the service can be used to assist in resolving disputes to do with:

  • repairs and maintenance
  • non-urgent health and safety issues
  • alterations and additions
  • access to the premises including inspections
  • non-compliance with the tenancy agreement
  • water saving devices and smoke alarms
  • provisions of correct notices
  • ending a tenancy
  • breaking a lease, and
  • condition reports.

If the parties cannot agree to a resolution to a dispute, either party may lodge a claim with the CTTT.  All other residential tenancy matters not dealt with by Fair Trading will continue to be heard by the CTTT.

For more information about the free dispute resolution service, go to the Residential tenancy dispute page on the Fair Trading website or contact the Fair Trading hotline on 13 32 20.

NSW HOMEBUYERS UNDER THREAT FROM PROPOSED CHANGES TO REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY

NSW homebuyers and property investors are most at risk from proposed changes to lower current industry standards, as suggested by the National Occupational Licensing Authority (NOLA) in its Decision Regulation Impact Statement – Proposal for National Licensing for Property Occupations (DRIS), the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) reveals in its official response to Government.

The proposal to reduce or remove the education and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements for real estate agents will put consumers at greater risk from inadequately trained and under-qualified real estate agents.

Under the new proposal, consumers in NSW would lose the assurance offered by mandatory CPD – an ongoing education requirement that is designed to increase the knowledge and skills of those working in the real estate industry and ensure high professional standards are maintained.

“The proposal fails to take into account the importance of consumer protection and the integral role played by Continuing Professional Development in our ever changing industry.

“Buying a property is the biggest investment people make, and this should be undertaken only with the assistance of a fully qualified and knowledgeable agent.

Mandatory CPD was introduced in Western Australia in 2007 for licensees and in 2009 for sales representatives. As a result, the average number of written concerns or complaints raised by the public to the REIA of Western Australia dropped from 196 in 2009 to 58 in 2010, representing a 70% reduction.

A full copy of the Real Estate Institute of Australia’s official response to the DRIS proposal can be downloaded at www.reia.com.au

Warning for Real Estate Agents – Fraudulent letter from ATO

EAC Members are advised that the letter purporting to be from the Australian Tax Office is fraudulent and should be ignored. Click here to view letter.

This letter is not from the “Australian Government/Australia taxation Office” as stated and is endeavouring to obtain both personal and property information about your clients for fraudulent purposes.

You should not respond to the letter or forward it to your clients.

Members may call our Practice Support area for more information.