Michael Marquette and I met whilst undertaking our New South Wales real estate license. This was tough – attending three hour evening classes two nights a week for nearly one year, studying 26 subjects and undertaking exams approximately every two weeks. Plus a little friendly rivalry to see who could get out of the exam room the quickest!
After qualifying and while working in the industry, I was also a real estate trainer, teaching within the New South Wales Technical and Further Education system two nights a week as well as running courses with private registered training organisations. This enabled me to keep abreast of legislation changes, visit agent offices, see what they were doing and mentally note the quality and caliber of the people working within those offices. I never took it personally, but often people would moan about having to do continuing education or those trying to get into the industry, regularly complained, about the depth of topics and work required to obtain their license.
I hold a Real Estate License in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales, which is no easy role and is made tougher because each state has differing reporting bodies and different regulations and acts that must be followed. Unfortunately, one size does not fit all. My understanding is there is a move towards our country having only one reporting body and one Act for real estate agents to comply with (likely to be the Victorian regulations being the basis). However, the challenge to undertake this task is mammoth. Our federal and state parliaments would need to be involved, as each state has different legislation. So if this proposal to have one form of legislation is pushed to the back burner, I can understand why. It will be a legislative nightmare and my hat will go off to those who can make this happen.
So for those of us who have licenses in more than one state, we get to deal with differing governing bodies, acts and legislation. The Queensland Government Department of Justice and Attorney-General Office of Fair Trading is the governing body we deal with in Queensland and we follow the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act 2000. Slightly different to other states as it includes car dealers – my guess is because both the car and real estate industry involve sales. This government department is fabulous to deal with and go out of their way to help you wherever they can. If you omit to answer a question in your application, they ring, ask for the answer and the paper work goes into the system smoothly.
The New South Wales Office of Fair Trading govern NSW and we must abide by the Property Stock and Business Agents Act of 2002 and Regulations of 2003. As with most government legislation and acts, there is always an element of grey. If there is uncertainty, a call to the Office of Fair Trading can give you the answer. However if you call the office again within 30 minutes, ask the same question, you will most probably receive a different answer. Sadly, the Office of Fair Trading go out of their way to catch you out at “something” rather than assist you in your business. A vast majority of work handled by OFT is complaints and not just about real estate agents as they service all industries that deal with the public. So in fairness to this department, they are most likely understaffed.
The Victorian Department of Justice Business Licensing Authority govern real estate agents in Victoria and they follow the Estate Agents Act 1980 and Estate Agents (General Accounts and Audit) Regulations 1997. The BLA are wonderful to deal with. Try as I might, I have been know to forget to lodge my annual renewal. When this has happened, rather than receive a terse letter stating I am no longer licensed, they have telephoned to say the application hasn’t been received. They have faxed my renewal to me, asked for credit card details and called me the following day to say all has gone through and my new license has been issued. Again, another government department that goes out of it’s way to help it’s clients.
Dealing with government bodies can sometimes be a bit traumatic, but dealing with one that goes out of their way to hinder your business is unfair. The proposal to have only one governing body is a good one, and I wish all those who may be involved in this task, good luck.