Saturday, January 31, 2009

Estate agents should be licensed

I refer to the letter, ‘Property Agents Mislead With Ads’ by Dr and Mrs Rupert See (Life! Jan 17).
The Institute of Estate Agents (IEA) is very much concerned with the product knowledge, skills, ethics and professionalism of estate agents.

For a better regulated industry, IEA has been advocating mandatory regulations such as pre-requisite qualifications and licensing of estate agents to ensure that they are properly trained and qualified before they are allowed to practise. Over the years, non-compulsory measures that were implemented have proven inadequate to lift industry standards.

I empathise with Dr and Mrs See regarding their unpleasant encounters with estate agents. There is no excuse for agents to act improperly, using false or inaccurate advertising to mislead their customers. Such acts betray the trust of their customers and give the other estate agents a bad name.

IEA is concerned about the unprofessional conduct of those who act as ‘runners or salesmen’. Such individuals perform a perfunctory role on behalf of others in showing the property, usually with little or no product knowledge. IEA is aware of such practices although it does not sanction this.

Mandatory regulations should be implemented to eventually license all estate agents. With proper legislation in place, every agent can then be held accountable. Service standards and professionalism will be raised and it will be good for consumers too.

Jeff Foo

President, Institute of Estate Agents

Source: Straits Times - 31 Jan 2009

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