Estate agent accreditation must be transparent, says IEASA

PRETORIA (July 31) - If estate agents are accredited to market home in a residential security complex, the process should be completely transparent, according to a statement by the Institute of Estate Agents of SA (IEASA).

“All owners in the complex must be aware that they may be limited to dealing with one or two agents should they wish to sell their units, and not necessarily those agents they believe to have the best marketing skills or resources, ” says Dr Willie Marais, national president of the Institute of Estate Agents (Ieasa).

He explains that increasingly, developers of new complexes and estates are including a clause in their sale agreements that effectively gives their “appointed agents” the sole right to market any units offered for resale as well as new units in the complex. In such cases, the agents are usually either employees of the developer or working on a low commission.

“Agents can also be accredited, though, to work in established complexes – and make these their exclusive domain – usually by payment of a fee to the body corporate or home owners’ association.

“The Competition Commission recently reviewed this practice and decided it was not anti-competitive because other agents are still free to operate in the residential area surrounding a particular complex or estate.”

However, Marais notes, the commission made the point that that accreditation of agents in this way must be completely transparent, with the accreditation criteria being explained to all interested parties and being subject to review at least annually. In many instances at present, the exclusive right to market units in a particular development is open-ended.

“And it is even more important, IEASA believes, that buyers in new complexes and owners in established ones are made fully aware that agreeing to accreditation may limit their right to employ the agent of their own choice when the time comes for them to sell their homes.

“Further we would caution buyers in such situations to ensure that the ‘agents’ they deal with are actually registered as such and not merely employees of a developer, or they will not enjoy protection under the Estate Agents’ Code of Conduct or the Fidelity Fund.”
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