If I could change anything in real estate, it would be…

23 Sep 2021
Estate Agents Co-operative

Over the last few years, we’ve seen a lot of change in how real estate is practiced.

We’ve experienced temporary adjustments at the hands of a global pandemic, and more permanent amendments relating to education, qualifications, pricing and communication.

And while a lot of people fear or avoid change, many of us know change underpins progress, and without it our industry and market will stagnate, and our jobs may even become obsolete.

We need to roll with the punches, embrace change, and when we can, stimulate it.

Our members work right across the real estate space, many with decades of experience. We asked you to let us know what you would change in real estate, if you had no restrictions.

Members: Laura McDiarmid, Rhett Langlands and Aimee Grant shared their experience and insights.

Laura McDiarmid, EAC Director, and Property Manager at MMJ Dapto

Laura recently became our newest EAC director. We warmly welcome her energy, enthusiasm and ideas to our governing team.

“Deep down, we know we’re not just selling bricks, we’re not just filing contracts and managing addresses.

We’re looking after people.

And if I could change one thing about our industry, it would be to remind ourselves that people are at the heart of what we do. That the key to our growth and success is to set a new benchmark for customer experience.

What would this look like?

What if we started seeing our clients as less of a transaction? Not just tenants or buyers, but as people. What if we acted with greater empathy and looked for real solutions, not just a quick fix?

What if we set a higher benchmark of ethical standards among members to rebuild trust and improve the way our industry is perceived?

What if we changed the terminology we use and worked harder to simplify information for those investing money and looking to us for help – whether it be a vendor, buyer, landlord or tenant?

What if we created a more supportive network among our industry peers, centred around good customer experience? We could create a network within which we support each other to make everyone’s job easier instead of putting hurdles up.

Real estate can be a very thankless and draining industry and this will only get worse if we keep travelling down the same path. Consumer needs are growing, pressure is high, and the current climate is adding additional stress. This is leading to a very negative mindset.

You only have to jump into any industry group and the majority of the chat among industry members is negative. We tend to perceive daily tasks (repairs, meeting clients and answering enquiries) as annoying demands, instead of the job we’re here to do. Helping people.

This is seen and felt by our clients, and the negative loop continues.

As an industry, by supporting each other, we can change the negative mindset of dreading a phone call about a repair or speaking to ‘annoying buyers’ who ask a million questions… to a positive one. One that reminds us we are here to deliver a service to clients.

I truly believe a change like this in our industry will not only support the longer-term success of what we do – it will go a long way to improving the mental health and job satisfaction of all members.”

Aimee Grant, Office Manager and Principal, John B. Grant Real Estate

Aimee has worked right across real estate, in back office, sales and property management, for more than 30 years. With a thorough understanding of the industry, she is process and compliance-driven and is highly-respected for the support she provides to her thriving team.

“If I could change anything in real estate, it would be making adults responsible and accountable for their own training, compliance and duties.

Personally, as someone who does the paperwork, I feel each employee should individually be responsible for ensuring they have completed and done their own CPD points/completed the necessary courses to keep their registration. This is an essential part of their work and their career, and accountability for it should sit with the individual.

Additionally, The Office of Fair Trading should not accept money for renewals unless proof is provided. Where else, but in this industry, is a Licensee-in-Charge held accountable for every action of every single employee?

Rhett Langlands, Investor Relations Manager, John B. Grant Real Estate

Rhett is a regional-turned-urban agent, specialising in the strategic property management space. He focuses on helping landlords understand how John B. Grant’s property management systems can give them a distinct advantage in maximising the financial potential of their investment property.

If I could change anything in real estate, it would be…

“Management and selling fees should be regulated. The only variants within fees should be subject to the following:

  • Location within NSW: Fixed fees should be kept consistent depending on the area of NSW, reflecting a threshold of average sales and rental market price. The lower the average price, the higher the commission fees to be established within an agency agreement.
  • Primary and secondary fees: My interpretation of primary fees is defined by the fixed management and selling commission fee. Secondary fees may be defined as performance-based fees that the agency decides to implement to differentiate from competing agencies.Secondary fees could include increased marketing options or extra services implemented by an agency to establish a point of value for their clients.If primary fees are regulated, reflecting the area of practise, then real estate agencies can evolve based on performance, as opposed to selling their service based on the cheapest fees, without establishing value for their clients.

    I believe if this model is regulated and practised in accordance with the NSW Property, Stock and Business Agents Act, then the future of real estate can look forward to a higher quality of service, integrity, and accountability within our industry.”

Thank you to all our members who contributed.

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