Do The State Real Estate Institutes Have a Future in a National Property Industry?

Over the next 5 to 10 years the real estate industry across the country is going to undergo massive changes as we shift from a collection of state based industry’s to a true national real estate industry. As we prepare to evolve into true national industry it makes sense that we ask ourselves just what role state based real estate institutes can play in that future.

So the million dollar question is how can the REIQ, REINSW, REIV, REISA, REIT, REINT, REIACT and REIWA survive with nationalisation of the property industry?

The first nationalisation initiative in place will be National Licensing for real estate agents and a little further down the track will be the much larger Real Property Law Reform.

National Licensing

The National Occupation Licensing Authority (NOLA) allows for the national licensing of real estate agents which is due to come into effect on 1 July 2012.

The stated aim of national licensing is to remove inconsistencies between the states and enhancing consumer protection. Under the new licensing regime, real estate agents will complete standardised training to achieve a national real estate license or registration certificate. This will allow far easier mobility in our industry with real estate agents more easily able to work in other states.

National licensing is going to arrive far quicker than most people in the industry realise but the change has been coming since 2009 when the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) signed an Intergovernmental Agreement to establish a national occupational licensing system for specified occupations which includes real estate agents.

Real Property Law Reform

Harminisation of various laws across the states has gained significant traction recently and a lot of attention from the Federal Government. One of the areas receiving significant attention is property laws.

National property laws are the goal of the Property Law Reform Alliance (PLRA). The PLRA is a coalition of legal and industry associations committed to bring about uniformity and the reform of property law and procedures in Australia.

The PLRA Alliance was formed in 2003 following discussions between the Property Council of Australia and the Australian Property Law Group of the Law Council of Australia about the need for uniform real property legislation.

The membership of the PLRA is quite large but includes the Law Society from each of the states and the Real Estate Institute of Australia.

The Alliance is working for the introduction of nationally consistent property law, practices, procedures and compliance requirements throughout Australia. In doing so, it is expected that cross-border property transactions will be simpler, more efficient, and more cost-effective.

As most land in Australia is now held under Torrens Title, it is a logical area to commence the harmonisation of property law as the application of Torrens Title varies so much from state to state. The PLRA has created a draft Uniform Torrens Title Act (UTTA) which they are seeking comments for until 28th of February 2012. Real Property Law Reform is going to be a slow process but the outcome seems inevitable. It is expected that the adoption of a UTTA would also provide a basis for further national reforms, in areas such as mortgage and lease legislation.

Property Law is highly complex and a national reform is not going to happen overnight but I think national property reform is a fait accompli and the only question will be the time it takes to get in place.

Do State REI’s have a place in a Nationalised Industry?

In line with the nationalisation of our industry it makes sense to consider combining all state based institutes into one national body under the REIA banner. Under this sort of merger the current state institutes would become the state operation centres for the REIA.

In my mind the one main primary aim of each state based real estate institute is political advocacy and over the years they ave worked with the state governments on the state based legislation that effects their membership.  The different state landscapes provided the justification for their existence. But as nationalisation increases and state based differentials disappear the viability of our state institutes seem to me to  disappear along with it.

I therefore believe that to remain relevant to our industry that the state institutes need to combine under the REIA banner to create one large institute. A single powerful industry body would bring with it a consistent and more powerful advocacy for the national laws.

It’s true that the REIA in its current form already provides advocacy on national stage but it does so with minimal funding from the state institutes and whilst property laws differ from state to state the role is very minor at the moment.  A shift to harmonisation of property laws across the country will dramatically increase the this role.

Other major roles conducted by our state institutes would all seem to benefit from a larger national body and the economies of scale it would bring such as property research, training, advice, member to member and consumer to member dispute resolution.

As an example each institute would run their own training departments and CPD programs. Combining them all under one banner would provide greater economies of scale. All the major cost centres that are currently duplicated in each institute around Australia would provide significant savings in such a merger allowing for a greater return back to members. But it’s more than just cost savings.

A powerful REIA would also be able to provide real direction for our industry that we desperatley need. In the past the fractured representation of members has allowed commercial entitites to have much more power in our industry than I believe they should.  I believe that the REIA should provide leadership and direction in a similar vein to what I see NAR does in the USA>

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) in the USA provides a great model of a powerful national trade association. They provide a real difference in member recognition with its Realtor program where it has trademarked the name “Realtor”. If you engage a realtor to sell your property you know they are member of NAR.

NAR conducts political advocacy on behalf of its members and is able to do so on a very massive scale as a national body. It is allegedly the third biggest contributor to political campaigns in the country. In addition to their normal membership the NAR also conducts a range of further accreditation for additional certifications after members conduct additional study.

NAR runs the Centre of Realtor Technology (CRT) which provides a range of member and industry services in the technology space that our state based real estate institutes could only dream of. Unlike our own state institutes it does not just write about technology in monthly journals but takes an active role in the technology space for its members.

The CRT creates a range of software for the exclusive use of members and maintains technology standards and protocols  for all industry participants. It plays a leadership role in Technology throughout the industry providing training, surveys and white papers for members on technology issues.

A more efficient REIA could use some of the savings generated to provide additional member services like those above that  NAR provides it’s members.

The Australian state institutes cop some flack from members and much of it centres around the online space. Claims vary but essentially they focus on the institutes failure to counter the dominance of large industry players like Realestate.com.au and Domain.com.au.   What they have done in the online space has been too little, too late and most importantly too fractured across the states which all results in a  dramatic waste of members funds.

It is interesting to note that despite many more commercial players in the space than here in Australia, NAR runs the most popular real estate website for consumers at realtor.com which is completley seperate to their website for members at realtor.org. This is a free to list website for members with a range of premium add ons but it has none of the ads tat we see fill to overflowing our subscription portals here in Australia.

What are the Obstacles?

Initially I thought the major obstacles will come from within the institutes themselves but now I am not so sure. It’s hard for people to agree to merge and essentially make their organisation and their own position redundant.  I posed this scenario to the head of one of the state institutes recently and was honestly shocked with the response which recognised the challenges involved but in essensce agreed pretty much with the concept.

I sincerely believe that the executive and board members from each of the institutes are genuine in their desire to advance the industry. Whilst they may differ in approach and they certainly cant satisfy every member’s expectations I think that they will probably be less of an obstacle that many will predict.

I think the biggest hurdle will be the mass of smaller issues that will need to be dealt with when you merge 9 separate organisations into one. That probably means the sooner the state institutes decide that this is their future and they create a working committee to identify the challenges and work through the solutions the better.

What Do You Think?

It’s time to tell us what you think in the comments section below…

Is a merger of the Real Estate State Institutes on the cards?

Will it be good for the industry as a whole?

What timeframe do you think it is going to be applicable?

Will losing the state identity of our institutes be a good or bad thing?

nar, national licensing, nationalisation, nola, plra, property law reform, Real Estate Institutes, rei, reia, REIACT, REINSW, REINT, REIQ, REISA, REIT, REIV, REIWA

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About Glenn Batten

Glenn Batten is the General Manager at First National Real Estate Nerang and Principal at the First National Real Estate Upper Coomera office and has over 20 years real estate experience and a passion for technology. Glenn has been writing from an agents perspective on industry issues and covering a range of topics on Business2 since 2007.

15 Responses to Do The State Real Estate Institutes Have a Future in a National Property Industry?

  1. Guy Robinson April 10, 2012 at 10:49 am #

    Well researched post Glenn. Any or all of the things you mentioned could happen probably will, but the main issue is whether the “merged” REI will be any more relevant than it is today. Members of REI’s include vendors agents, buyers agents, property managers, strata managers and commercial, industrial and retail agents and centre managers.

    Despite this the main policy thrust of the majority of REI bodies is that of a vendors agents rep. For some reason they celebrate higher prices (proven to equal lower sale volume), cheer on low vacancy rates and have hilarious contradictory property tax reform charters that include abolishing stamp duty, land tax, retaining and increasing handouts for home buyers and maintaining the negative gearing/capital gains tax regime. Most policy sounds almost identical to the local boofhead agent having a spray at state and federal governments between schooners at the local pub. That is why REI’s are no longer relevant at any serious political level, but still used in the media for entertainment.

    The PURPOSE of REI representative bodies is to represent a collective of individuals that act for various players within a wide and vibrant industry. Do they do that? No, our representatives want to defend house prices in the press and bang on about grants and negative gearing, all issues that have very little to do with progressing the standing and careers of the wide range of agents supposedly represented by these leaders.

    It gets even worse, and even more embarrassing in my view. REI’s try and protect our industry from any competition from those using new business models and technology to break the ridiculously expensive commission flows that flow to local suburban agents, that cannot for one moment justify getting paid literally tens of thousands of dollars for opening a door. These changes are happening and it would be far better for REI representatives to lead the way rather than trying to protect a dinosaur in what is otherwise a rapidly changing, exciting and dynamic industry that I love being a part of.

    In summary there is no vision other than protection, the policies are appalling and self-serving, and the representative angle is limited to keeping mostly useless sales agent up to date in car payments they cannot afford. Whether they merge or don’t is not the point, whether they remain relevant to the wide range of agents and contribute positively to the wider community is.

  2. Glenn Rogers April 10, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

    For the Institutes to survive long term they will have to be proactive and on top of the game and not just a distributer of legislative material and stationery.

    The best way is to have an industry portal that works, the REIV have done this but it needs more support from agents.

    The relevancy of the Insttutes will be reasessed sooner rather than later as technology forges ahead at increasing speed, the world is changing and they have to keep up.

  3. George Rousos April 10, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

    Glenn,

    Well researched and to be quite honest with you the state industry bodies remind me of that annoying sound of a mosquito when you’re trying to sleep – however, in the REI’s case, it is often the things they say which either annoy or offend the real estate business sector – ” like the Victorian government should give investors a fairer go and eliminate higher stamp duty rates for investors

    http://www.propertyobserver.com.au/tax/victorian-government-should-give-investors-a-fairer-go-and-eliminate-higher-stamp-duty-rates-for-investors/2012040454172

    As Gus Gould would say – “NO, NO, NO, NO, NO” ! – what they should be doing Glenn is advising their members about new statutory laws, such as the National Work, Health and Safety Laws, the new Australian Consumer laws, ethics in real estate, future changes in respect to national regulator or working with their members to smoothly harmonise the laws into one national law. “Most importantly” – if these state industry bodies want to survive in the future, they should look to assist their paying members on how to improve or modify their business models to become more compliant in a fast changing economic enviorment. And lets not forget to include the technological changes that are having a significant influence on the direction of the property industry aswell.

    However like Guy, whether they merge or don’t is not the point, they need to be relevant to the wide range of agents and contribute positively to the wider community, and a good start, would be to focus on the abovementioned areas first, but going by the feedback of others in the industry it will be a long-shot effort.

  4. Glenn Batten April 10, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    It is just about a recognised sport in the real estate industry to take a pot shot at the institutes 🙂

    Please understand that it’s easy to tar the whole group with the mistakes of just one of them. One institute may do an excellent job in educating about legislative changes but another may do an absolute shocker.

    Look at REIWA as an example. They do an excellent job promoting their brand especially online. By my calculations the REIWA brand is 14 times stronger in WA than the REIQ brand is in Queensland. So whilst the REIQ has major challenges with public awareness and branding without a doubt they still do many other things right.

    So whilst the institutes as a collective don’t always get it right they also don’t always get it wrong either.

    But this is a bit of a moot point… I am not going to start listing all of the good things that the institutes do, but neither am I going to disagree with some of the points raised about how they could improve. The issue to me is about more than that. The reasoning behind this article is that IMHO a nationalised property industry is coming whether we like it or not and unless they look at becoming a unified voice they will not have an option of improving.

    Everyone can have an opinion of just what they should be doing, what’s wrong about what they are doing etc etc .. but if they lose the relevance that they have now it wont count for anything.

    Guy and George believe that they need to be relevant and whether they merge in the future is not the point. I think that is focussing more on the now and ignoring the future as I believe they cant be relevant in the future unless they merge. They all still need to be working on providing the best service to their members today, but plan now for the future with eyes wide open and without the blinkers on.

    Can they do better… definitely.. I doubt even most of the insiders will argue with that.

    One of the advantages of any merger is that you can take the best bits of each and make a better whole.!!!

  5. George Rousos April 10, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

    Glenn,

    If I were the state REI bodies and one of their elected chairpeople ( and some who I have spoken to ), I would be taking time out to read this important discussion paper available on ASIC’s website called Rethinking securities regulation after the crisis: An economics perspective.

    http://www.asic.gov.au/ASIC/asic.nsf/byHeadline/Rethinking%20Securities%20Regulation%20after%20the%20Crisis%3A%20An%20Economics%20Perspective?opendocument

    Due to delays in the legislation drafting process for the National Occupational Licensing System (NOLS) a new start date in 2013 is under consideration by the Council of Australian Governments. I understand that the Commonwealth Taskforce overseeing the project is hoping to release the draft regulations for public consultation around the middle of the year. At that time, all industry stakeholders will be able to review the proposed system, the types of licences, expected qualifications and the areas of regulated work, and how they will each be affected. The Taskforce will undertake a roadshow to explain the reforms in detail and an opportunity for people such as yourself to make further comment .The National Occupational Licensing System is underpinned by cooperative national legislation and will be administered by a National Licensing Board. However, regulatory responsibility will remain with the individual states and territories.

    What is interesting to point out to all blog readers though, is that the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) had previously decided for the National Occupational Licensing Authority – an unestablished operation to be the national regulator for real estate agents, however, because there is no national strategy for housing market regulation, it has been noted and acknowledged by heads of state that the effectiveness of the authority would be a major concern in the future, given that housing was a trigger for the financial crisis – it will more than likely endup under ASIC’s umbrella, notwithstanding the problems surrounding an unregulated housing market (e.g development, media, and investment ) that can also impact heavily on financial market regulation. So all in all Glenn, it will be interesting to see how the state REI bodies react when the inevitable finally happens !

  6. Glenn Batten April 10, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    George

    Thanks for sharing… certainly interesting reading however a couple of things come to mind.

    The report is looking at a global perspective not specifically that of Australia and it was presented to an international audience.

    No argument that the financial crisis in the USA was caused by their housing market, but I don’t see how you could say that the housing here in Australia was a trigger for the financial crisis. That seems a pretty big stretch. Housing in Australia has certainly hampered the recovery but I hardly think it was a trigger.

    Can you give me some links where these heads of state “noted and acknowledged” about NOLA that “the effectiveness of the authority would be a major concern in the future, given that housing was a trigger for the financial crisis”.

    Considering it was COAG who established NOLA I find it strange that they would be openly questioning it before it even comes into effect.

    If it;s true it would appear to be politicians hedging their bet… which of course is entirely possible 🙂

    You said “it will more than likely endup under ASIC’s umbrella” …. was that your opinion or are you quoting somebody else for that??

    is it from this quote in the report you shared.. ?? “Nevertheless, the ambit of market conduct regulation is gradually being extended, and real estate would seem the next logical step.” .

    If it is I think you are drawing a pretty big conclusion from just one paragraph in a report that ASIC clearly states “Alex’s paper – which represents his personal views and are not necessarily those shared by ASIC”.

    Anything can happen in the future but this report is not even the stated opinion of ASIC yet let alone legislation so I hardly think the personal opinions of its Chief Economist is “inevitable” just yet.

    This guy is that wrapped up in the financial markets he actually suggests housing price
    derivatives to allow households to hedge their risks in the housing market. What mum and dad buying the family home do you think will hedge their risk in housing price derivatives ???

    Tell me if I am wrong, but it was the financial markets playing god in the housing market in the USA when they packaged up dodgy mortgages into new financial services products and placed AAA ratings on them that caused the financial crisis in the first place.

  7. Guy Robinson April 10, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

    Hi Glenn I don’t disagree that there are good things done. Training and advisory in respect of legislative changes and agents responsibility is generally good but could be a lot better. Input into the creation of new legislation is handled well (in NSW at least). However they have lost their way. What are they really for? Are they representing agents in general whether they be principals or employees including property managers, tenant reps and buyers agents? Or are they representing just agency owner’s interests? If you ask your staff they would say they represent the boss, not them. The fact that this key element is hard to define at the outset is a major identity problem.

    And why are they representing existing home owners and landlords? Why all the defensiveness about prices and auction results along with commentary on interest rates and taxes, every position unilaterally favoring landlords and owners? What about the almost 100% residential home sales focus? I am sure the buyer agents, corporate tenant reps, strata managers and commercial agents who are also REI members have a problem with that.

    Our housing market, like any free market, can and does go up and down in value. I find it absolutely hilarious that when presented with a hint of falling prices or poor auction results some wind-bag from the REI (from almost any state) will magically appear all red-faced and huffing and puffing about how the values are not falling and doing anything they can to hide statistics that prove otherwise. Who asked them to do that? How does that benefit a single member? Why do the heads of REI’s think that defending house prices is their job?

    Most of the public think agents distort the truth and then the heads of our industry get on the TV and prove them 100% correct. As the REI’s are supposed to IMPROVE the image of agents this behavior is hugely counterproductive and in my view has taken our industry image backwards by a LONG way. So as far as promoting our image I am going to give a zero on that one.

    Same with taxes and grants. The Henry Tax Review has some great ideas in there, but nope, our boofhead-magnet industry has a unilateral no-tax-on-any-property-anywhere-ever position. Oh and by the way give us lots of grants and free stuff. Who asked the REI’s to advocate this? It is so unsophisticated to be laughable and adds nothing but distraction to what should be a national debate.

    Some also see state REI’s or a united REI being a body that can or should unite to compete against REA and the like. Again is that what they are really for? Is the REI the correct medium to take on marketing portals and the likes of Google and FaceBook? How distorted can we make this?

    Glenn I think your post is very timely. Maybe the relevance of the REI is tied to the relevance of agents in general? As agents in the traditional sense continue to rapidly lose their relevance what place is there for an REI anyway?

  8. Glenn Batten April 10, 2012 at 7:12 pm #

    I also struggle with the concept of an institute trying to influence housing prices. As you say, its not their job but its the sales mentality kicking in to always give the positive spin on things.

    Funny thing is I reckon if you survey the membership there will be a lot of members who appreciate that.

    For the record, I dont think its the role of the institutes to take on commercial alternatives at all but I would expect them to provide a vehicle for members to promote their properties and for the institute itself to promote members.

    Using the realtor.com website as an example, it is not even close in features to sites like Zillow but it is more popular. NAR has ensured the public has been educated to believe that they should insist on a “Realtor” to buy or sell property with them and one way to guarantee it is by using realtor.com.

    I dont think anybody would suggest that any institute would take on google or facebook though.

    I think you are right about timing. The industry in 10 years is going to be a little different and it’s not just going to be the institute landscape thats changed. Traditional bricks and mortar agencies will probably still be the majority but other “sectors” will no doubt have increased dramatically. Agent assisted websites, online agents and possibly even other hybrid business models will make up the rest of the industry.

    The REI’s will need to adjust so they represent the industry rather than just the majority.

  9. Guy Robinson April 10, 2012 at 8:06 pm #

    Hi Glenn, I think all agency principals and sales managers should train their agents that it is their job to get the best price for the vendor from the market available to them. Sometimes that price will be less than what they have paid and often less than what they expect. A salesperson should use marketing, sales strategy and negotiation skills in gaining the best-price outcome, provided they stay within legal and ethical expectations while doing so. THE REI’s should promote EXACTLY THIS as to why you should only list your home with a member of the REI.

    Many vendors want to deny the reality of the market. Even in a booming market vendors want more. It is the actual job of a professional property expert and adviser to guide the vendor through a sale process providing as much factual information as possible. It would seem to me that many of my competition think it is their job to distort data, talk up the market, invent buyers, invent having a database and promote a price no one could justify simply so that they can get the listing. It can be statistically proven that listing a property well above market value will result in the vendor receiving less than they otherwise would have received if they priced it correctly in the first place. REI education could quite easily educate the wider market to understand this simple process and give simple tips to avoid agents that are a blight on the industry and cause real financial damage to thousands of vendors every year.

    Why some REI “leaders” would dismiss the above in favour of talking up house prices, begging for grants and trying to get taxes abolished is completely beyond my understanding as a member of nearly 20 years. Might be time to get back to the grass roots by poisoning all the weeds and setting a new, far higher professional standard for those members that can prove they are worthy of membership. If that means 50% or even 80% of the existing members should be given the bullet then I say that would be a GREAT start, and I would pay double the membership fees to be part of a valid, progressive, professional organisation that continued to challenge our ideals and strive for something better every day.

  10. George Rousos April 10, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

    Glenn,

    Firstly, can I suggest that you read Alex’s discussion paper – it is a truly great read and will provide a good insight on where the regulators went wrong before the GFC. Apparently his paper has been endorsed by ASIC officials and was circulated across a number of security regulators globally after the GFC. I know as a keen group reformer of the property industry, that the paper is being examined by government heads and taken seriously aswell.

    Glenn, like I stated before from discussions we’ve had with government regulators, ministers, our own clients, consumers, REI chair people and those from the financial business sector, there is no national implementation strategy for housing market regulation – what so ever. Some of this information I share with you guys on this forum comes from letters I receive back from government regulators and members of parliament, which I need for CPD training in NSW.

    Like I stated before in my previous post, is that “The National Licensing Authority” is still an unestablished operation and because of this reason along with there being an imminent risk to consumers, we have received email advice recently in respect to the policy team for the National Harmonisation project, considering ASIC as a future national regulator.This also takes into account what was discussed in parliament back in 2003 regarding unregulated property investment spruikers http://www.fatherdave.org/Rave/SMW/SMW-hansard.htm, however Glenn, it gets worse, we have rogue developers and media spruikers – which are also unregulated areas of the property market.

    We have also heard from our clients regarding fund managers, mortgage brokers and financial planners slowly edging their way into the real estate arena and not having met the state legal requirements on licensing. And the worst thing of all Glenn, is that the Australian Securities and Investments Commission ( being ASIC ) are powerless to do anything on this front when they have no jurisdiction to regulate the property market and protect consumers. I’ve been told by ASIC officials it is a matter for parliament and one that state fair trading ministers need to take seriously for the sake of economic growth and stability.

    All these areas of regulatory reform Glenn are being discussed aswell in our CPD classes- since many questions are now being raised about national regulation ( which is still a long way off ). So all I can tell you Glenn at this stage – is to be on the look out for further developments to do with this important issue of reform.

    Cheers !

  11. Greg Vincent April 11, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

    Congratulations on such a well researched article Glenn.

    I see the national licensing as either a great opportunity to drive our industry forward OR a threat to our industry if the state based REI’s don’t pull together.

    For years, in some of the states, the REI’s have been seen as toothless tigers and I know that title really frustrates REI members and especially board members because I’m sure that they must get disheartened sometimes by the framework and constraints that they operate within.

    Currently we have a strange phenomena where in some states agents wouldn’t dream of not being a member of the institute, whereas in other states if an agent got kicked-out of the institute they’d be disappointed but also see it as one less bill they had to pay. Unfortunately, sad but true.

    The institutes need to position themselves as one of the first subscriptions any agent would want to sign up for (ideally the first choice ahead of a realestate.com.au subscription should be their ultimate vision).

    You only have to look at the decision passed in South Australia, where “Consumer and Business Service (CBS) South Australia will not suspend the license of an Adelaide real estate agent despite being found guilty of unprofessional conduct” http://rebonline.com.au/breaking-news/4925-qunethicalq-agent-escapes-with-fine (this was an appalling decision by the courts!)

    It was good to see “Real Estate Institute of South Australia (REISA) chief executive officer Greg Troughton said Mr Overduin’s actions were “unethical”, and the industry body has since cancelled the agent’s membership of REISA.” but this agent is still able to practice real estate.

    We can’t have a Professional Real Estate Industry if the entry level keeps getting easier and the greatest worry for an agent is whether you’ll get kicked off realestate.com.au because you’re breaching their terms by uploading and removing listings and re-posting the listing so it ranks higher! (the whole thing has gone out of whack!)

    As an initiative to add value to membership, I know that REINSW are heading down the path of an Accreditation Programme as seen here…
    http://cunninghamsproperty.com.au/about/our-profession.php

    “A programme of accreditation provides a competitive edge. Our clients are more knowledgeable and need an experienced partner alongside personalised and responsive service. The Accreditation programme run by the REINSW provides a real point of differentiation in a highly competitive marketplace and highlights our specialist expertise. The programme provides clear evidence of our advanced skills and knowledge, and of course our commitment to our profession.” I think it’s a good initiative, but unfortunately I don’t believe that it will be enough to sway the vast majority of agents.

    Ideally if the REI’s were able to go down the Realtor Trade Mark path and provide members with a suite of effective digital tools, a National industry-based property data platform + National portal, forms, training, etc, etc, then being kicked out of the REI would be something for the unscrupulous rotten apples to really worry about.

    I hope they do pull together. I think it will be a great thing for our industry!

    PS: Once again, congratulations on such a well researched, important, timely and insightful post Glenn. 🙂

  12. David Airey April 19, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

    Guy Robinson’s posts are generalisations not facts on what REI’s actually do.

    Its one thing to make statements or criticisms but quite another to misrepresent the real position with REI’s and quite insulting to the intelligence of their hard working members and staff.

    As the President of REIWA I am its sole media spokesman on market issues. I am not ” some wind-bag from the REI .. who magically appears all red-faced and huffing and puffing about how the values are not falling and doing anything I can to hide statistics that prove otherwise.”

    In fact every other President or industry leader I know is conscious of the need to tell the facts not the spin and whilst some individual agents may quote otherwise, that person is not speaking for the industry or the REI.

    FACT: REIWA and REIV are industry leaders with accurate sales and market stats sourced directly from members in the field on a real time basis.

    Your many comments and criticisms strike at the heart of the very people you seek to indirectly defend – real estate agent members who make up the REI’s. Yes they are run by members who in turn elect other members to represent them to the public, media and government.

    The REI’s must be doing something right because nationally over 83% of agents are members of their state REI (even higher in WA, NT, TAS, VIC and SA).

    On the other hand, Glenn Batten, keep up the good work with your comments and replies. We need more positive input and valuable advice from people like you my friend.

    Let’s keep the blogs going with positive input for the benefit of our profession.

  13. Glenn Batten April 20, 2012 at 8:52 am #

    Thanks David,

    I think you will find Guy is in favour of the REI’s in general, he just does not like “some” of the comments made by “some” of the leaders and “some” of the things done by “some” of the institutes.. You cannot make everyone happy with everything.

    Since writing the article I have received a few calls on the subject and am happy to say that the institutes are investigating and researching many possibilities for the future. Getting an official comment is a little harder so feel free to confirm anything I hypothesised 🙂

    I think you guys in the west have done a fantastic job selling the REI brand and the others need to learn from your success.

    I mentioned it earlier in the comments but REIWA has a brand in the eyes of the public that is 14 times stronger in WA than the REIQ brand is in Queensland. I think one of the main way you guys have done that is through your online presense. Maybe you can comment on that??

    I have since investigated these statistics a little more and found some other interesting numbers. I was hoping to assess all of the institutes in a followup article but only REIQ, REIV and REIWA generate enough to rank consistently enough to make comparisons.

    REIWA is searched nearly as often in Victoria as the REIV is. That is not searches that terminate at REIWA, but actually people online searching for the name REIWA.

  14. Glenn Batten May 14, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

    4-5 Weeks after writing about this scenario it has been revealed in REB Online (http://www.rebonline.com.au/breaking-news/5053-possible-merger-of-state-institutes-) that the institutes have been in discussion to look at a merger of the state institutes into one large body.

    Within days of this article coming out I was contacted by a few different parties confirming many of the matters I raised were currently being undertaken. It was even proposed from one person that somebody had leaked the story to me from internal REI discussions. That was certainly not the case as I would have written it up as news not as an opinion piece.

    Since writing the article I have since however been told a few more things that did not make it into the REBOnline article. A working committee has apparently been formed to identify and work through the issues. Discussions have occurred with representatives of the HIA and NAR to learn from their organisations.

    I think this is a fantastic proactive move by the institutes. The biggest issue seems to be what each state REI believes they are worth. With one state still not a financial member of the REIA and other states having a totally different net asset position there is going to be a lot of issues in the way. I think any institute who holds out claiming that they are worth more, or have a website that better than xyz, etc etc etc is being extremely myopic, but these are things that need to worked through to everyone’s satisfaction. A stronger national institute is of far greater value than any of the state institutes in isolation.

  15. vic Del Vecchio May 14, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

    It was always going to be the logical step given the inability to garner full support for a national portal and the national licensing rollout.

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