Proposed Bill 145 (Trust in Real Estate Services Act, 2002 -TRESA) has passed second reading and is excellent news for the industry spelling new opportunities for those willing to seize them.
There are five key areas of change:
Real estate agents will now have the option to operate in a personal capacity or through a corporation, and experience the advantages that other professional groups such as doctors, lawyers and accountants have enjoyed.
Apart from better tax planning, incorporation allows better organization of affairs, brand building, specialization, partnership, the ability to expand, hire staff and invest. It is an opportunity for those who are looking to grow.
2. Tighter regulation
The powers and the scope of regulatory and disciplinary measures have been broadened allowing the regulators greater jurisdiction and authority to suspend or revoke a licence. In addition maximum penalties have increased. The result of these changes is greater consumer protection and a perception of greater professionalism. This is good for the industry as a whole.
TERESA provides for a system of qualification and certification for agents to obtain specializations. This not only provides better services and more customer choice, but also better market information to enable informed decision making.
4. Multiple representation
Conflict of interest has been removed in situations where agents represent both parties to a deal, by stressing that only one of them is a client, and therefore entitled to receive advice, while the other party has been described as “self-represented”, and therefore only entitled to administrative services.
5. Multiple offers
The seller will be permitted to to disclose the highest offer to potential bidders, creating more efficient price setting mechanisms by putting potential bidders in a position to make informed bids.
The net impact of these changes is enhanced consumer protection, greater consumer confidence, transparency and more professionalism. This is good for buyers, sellers and agents. It enhances the prestige of the profession as a whole. These are welcome changes all round and will definitely create an industry dividend especially for those better positioned for the change.