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Written by rosalind renshaw

The RICS has called for estate agents to be compulsorily required to have qualifications.

It says it wants to see all agents required to sign up to a professional regulation scheme, to ensure customers are dealing with an agent who is suitably qualified to broker their sale and can advise on the processes involved.

The RICS says it is needed because the property market is gradually opening up again to first-time buyers – of whom almost a third admit they do not understand the house-buying process, while 80% believe that compulsory regulation of estate agents would help consumers.

The RICS says the market has seen an upturn in activity since various government initiatives. While this has encouraged first-time buyers, 29% say they do not understand the house purchase process and 30% claim that their agents failed to give them advice.

The organisation argues that there is no statutory regulation to ensure agents are suitably qualified, while those who are not members of a professional body are not obliged to meet minimum competency standards.

This means that consumers are potentially dealing with an agent who could be providing inaccurate advice.

Peter Bolton King, RICS global residential director, said: “When making the biggest purchase of their lives, it’s important that buyers – and especially those who haven’t been through the purchase process before – understand precisely what is involved.

“This is particularly relevant now, with the market now seemingly over the very worst and more first-time buyers in a position to make a move.

“By using an unregulated estate agent, people are potentially dealing with someone who doesn’t understand the technicalities involved in buying a home or their obligations to consumers.

“I would recommend that anyone who is buying or selling a house checks that their agent is a regulated member of a professional body, such as RICS, who have met minimum standards of competency and understanding.”

The RICS issued its call after independent research among over 1,000 first-time buyers.


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    @ Ems
    The thing is the RICS and the NAEA are two totally separate organisations representing two different professions so their qualifications and conditions for entry aren’t going too recognised by each other.

    More importantly what you highlight is that the NAEA requires you complete the Level 3 Technical Award Sale of Residential Property as an entry to their association. At £250 for the material and £50 each for four exams it looks like they are simply trying to make money off potential members. That doesn’t seem right to me.

    • 09 May 2013 12:12 PM
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    I would just like to say that I have just finished my RICS degree in building surveying and I have been an Estate Agent for nearly 10 years. I have my own Estate Agency and I'm registered with the TPO (as are most of the larger agents in my area). I approached the NAEA to become a member who told me I had to do their course, I told them I have a degree and my experience and they wouldn't have any of it.
    I am refusing point blank to join their scheme and do a basic course just to be a member.
    However as someone with an RICS degree I can do nothing with it unless I become chartered. I do not wish to practice as a surveyor I love being an Estate Agent and I think the 5 years I've spent at Uni should be acknowledged by all governing bodies.

    • 09 May 2013 10:39 AM
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    INEA simply stands for:
    Independent Network of Estate Agents

    INEA is a UK MLS (multi-list) platform where agents can work together and share data on properties through our hub.

    INEA is not meant to fool the public - its simply an abbreviation.

    • 08 May 2013 07:09 AM
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    No one fails to get in NAEA Trev.

    • 07 May 2013 16:02 PM
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    i don't think Trevor has given himself initials. It is an advert, a bit of SEO. Anyone who does not know what INEA stands for will google it helping his site ranking.

    Are you the same bloke who failed to get into NAEA and is a bit sour that they use initials?

    • 07 May 2013 15:37 PM
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    Trevor , how can paying to be a member of INEA give you or anyone the right to put initials after your name to pretend thats a qualification, just to fool the public???

    • 07 May 2013 13:36 PM
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    no doute!!!!!!!

    I rest my case! There is no doubt about it you are a dunce! Let's be having 100 lines;

    I must not get pi55ed up the night before work it will no doubt affect my spelling.

    • 04 May 2013 10:34 AM
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    As a very hung over estate agent this morning personal service and attention to the customers needs is the most important thing. We generate more sales by being personable and knowledgeable yes the personal approach helps but yes the knowledge to inform if not warn people what is coming helps, more importantly is how few agent progress sales which for me is 50% of my job. Qualifications are good no doute but also experience if unrivalled. As an agent you need to provide impartial ( that right I know we work for the seller ) advise as this will ultimately put your buyer at ease qualified or not the right knowledge is invaluable and if the sharp suit wearing crowd look good but give bum advise then I suffer in terms of reputation, no matter what you say agents still have the bother boy image where people dont trust what you say so always be right legally or otherwise...... Qualifications help to maintain a standard s that the majority of reputable and conscientiousnes gents strive for, do they need to be mandatory no are they advisable for young inexperience agent no but they dont hurt if you want to pursue them.... On a side point never stop Bit%&ing at each other makes me giggle every time...

    • 04 May 2013 09:54 AM
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    Many ex members of NAEA fed up with PBK’s dictatorial/ inept dismantling of NAEA give a fantastic service.

    • 04 May 2013 08:53 AM
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    And can someone tell me what RICS stands for and what cprs are.

    I had to close my estate agency after only one sale in 2 years so a little out of touch.

    Life moves on and me and my husband now sell burgers and hotdogs in Wales.

    • 04 May 2013 06:47 AM
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    Sorry. CPRs. Typo again.

    • 04 May 2013 06:38 AM
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    Note to stonehenge

    CLRs also apply to developers, builders and solicitors and any other party giving information. Plus those who fail to provide information.

    Hawkeye. Mobile phones have small keypads and me large fingers. On the main point- if you don't know what im talking about it shows a ClEAR lack of knowledge on your account as to why CPRs give higher regulation to the industry than ever before. Please dont be ignorant and dont be rude. Use your real name.

    • 04 May 2013 06:37 AM
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    Note to Trevor Mealham

    CPRs apply equally to letting agents as sales agents.

    • 03 May 2013 18:56 PM
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    If being a good estate agent just meant returning phone calls and negotiating sales, then you can immediately discard around two thirds of the agents in the UK as they can't even manage that simple task. This leaves around a third of agents who know how to deliver good customer service.

    Of that third, a large minority, are excellent agents who have an in-depth knowledge of estate agency and the confidence of their customers. However; in my experience, a significant number of the remainder are not equipped with the specialist knowledge of legislation and wider estate agency practice that businesses must have when advising customers on such an important and diverse issue as property.

    To use a medical analogy. A Doctor with a good bedside manner is great, but if all he is good for is diagnosing and treating obvious/ common ailments, his patient mortality rate will be high.
    Being polite, efficient and helpful is not enough. Qualifications should be mandatory

    • 03 May 2013 16:39 PM
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    Thanks for your comments. There are two scenarios here requiring different levels of knowledge:

    Sold and bought property before
    My message to you would be there is no one more qualified to sell a property than the owner. The seller is often as informed around the process as the agent and there is no extra value to be added by the agent. If the seller has lived in their property for any length of time they are the ones that will be most informed about the property, its history, the street and all the local amenities not the Estate Agent. In any case a well presented property sells itself, no qualifications required.

    First time buyers covered in the RICS report
    If the RICS numbers are to be believed either agent’s aren’t informing first time buyers of the process because they don’t know it (which is my point around basic level of knowledge) or there just not communicating/advising properly.

    My blog intituled The skills you need to sell privately http://mtppblog.co.uk/the-skills-you-need-to-sell-privately is the second most popular on my site and illustrates my above points.

    • 03 May 2013 15:37 PM
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    Peter Bolton King - global residential director (global!) should give priority to addressing his own and the RICS's inflated ego.

    • 03 May 2013 14:32 PM
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    "What it would do though is ensure everyone has a basic level of knowledge around the process."

    Mr Middleton - your whole point of being is to promote FSBO is it not? Where the only "qualification" someone will possess is that they might live in the property they plan to sell.

    So there would be NO "basic level of knowledge around the process" - would there?

    You crease me up, pal. Priceless MDT.

    • 03 May 2013 12:46 PM
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    This isn't a call for education, in my opinion this is a Peter Bolton King press release intended to knock anyone who is not RICS.
    Let's see if NFOPP take exception to this press release, no doubt its intended destination was the Property editors of the Saturday and Sunday supplements of the ‘quality’ newspapers.
    How about it Ros Renshaw how about you ask the NFOPP MD for a comment on this particular press release? after all it is Haywards’ paid employment to stand up for his membership . Many, many Fellows of NAEA are running long established business that give nothing but accurate and professional advice. Many, many ex members of NAEA fed up with PBK’s dictatorial/ inept dismantling of NAEA do likewise.
    I think this press release is a professional slight on the very vast majority of 55,000 individuals working in Estate Agency probably less than 20% of whom are RICS members.

    • 03 May 2013 12:26 PM
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    I found the ISVA course challenging and enjoyable. Dyslexia means I struggle with examination based qualifications but the practical base of the ISVA course on day release gave me a good grounding in law, economics, planning, surveying and valuation.

    • 03 May 2013 12:01 PM
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    I assume the qualifications that the RICS want agents to take is the NFOPP Level 3 Technical Award Sale of Residential Property. I will be sitting the 4th unit of this exam in the coming weeks. The best thing I learnt from the material was the regulation in unit 2. The qualification is ideal for those that are new to agency work and want to build up general knowledge.

    According to the OFT 21% of senior agents have basic training so given everyone else in the selling and buying process has to be professionally qualified I think RICS argument is why aren’t the agents?. Would this improve the service offered to consumers is questionable. Would qualified agents improve consumer confidence and add credibility is also questionable. What it would do though is ensure everyone has a basic level of knowledge around the process.

    I would say the bigger issue is that anyone can open an Estate Agency and not sign up to any kind of professional body. If there is no control over who is able to be an agent how can you improve/maintain quality standards let alone impose qualifications.

    • 03 May 2013 11:40 AM
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    @ Trevor Mealham INEA - what are you prattling on about it just does not make any sense at all.

    Today you wrote........
    'Bodies like RICS should be running after rogue agents a d BMV bods who fail to comply to CPRs before wanting more paid for licensing on the 90% of avents who trade fair.'

    Go back to school to learn the Queens English.

    I was an NAEA member years ago but gave it up as all I had to do was pay my subscriptions to keep membership. Did not even have to do a spelling test then and still dont by the look of things either.

    @IO well this makes a first................ wait for it.......... I agree with you.

    Think I need to lay down in a dark room for a while now.

    • 03 May 2013 11:23 AM
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    In a perfect example of why education is vital I left an l out of my name box.

    Sorry Peter, will x20 do you as punishment?
    Controlling not controlling Controlling not controlling Controlling not controling
    Controlling not controlling Controlling not controlling Controlling not controlling
    Controlling not controlling Controlling not controlling Controlling not controling
    Controlling not controlling Controlling not controlling Controlling not controling
    Controlling not controlling Controlling not controlling Controlling not controling
    Controlling not controlling Controlling not controlling Controlling not controling
    Controlling not controlling Controling not controling

    I must take more care, I am a sloppy individual and my lackadaisical attitude is an embarrassment to my school, my profession and myself.

    • 03 May 2013 11:07 AM
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    Where did they find a 1000 FTBs!!??

    • 03 May 2013 11:01 AM
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    RICS and NFOPP have failed to get government assistance to control the competition that reduces and threatens their profit so are now looking to do what was suggested in LAT posts last week. The only possible option for raising standards with the industry is to raise the game from within. Recognised and formal qualification should not necessarily be School examination based, many Agents have skills and qualities vital for their public facing job that many academics lack; empathy, compassion and understanding. I am not aware of an exam that tests and quantifies those qualities.
    Surveyors can get away with having little or no social skills, they work alone and their demeanour has little effect on the outcome of the job of work they do. They can get away with curt grunts and arrogance, Estate Agents can not.
    It will be interesting to see how they put flesh on the bones of this proposal; their usual yardstick is a degree. A degree counts for nothing these days, the level of graduate has sunk below any meaningful measurement of anything other than it is an indication they stuck out 3 years and passed examinations equivalent to the old format O levels.
    Perhaps RICS can look to guide their own membership towards better levels of academic qualification and demonstrate how it is done.

    • 03 May 2013 10:57 AM
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    And may I ask exactly whose qualifications does RICS think everyone should have?

    • 03 May 2013 09:51 AM
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    Oh yes, what about RICS surveyors unprofessionally down value many properties on behalf of lenders just to make it a safe bet all round

    • 03 May 2013 09:30 AM
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    What a joke, the RICS members are the ones that need regulating. We had one argue black and blue in writing that the difference between a gross internal floorspace of 1500 sqft and 2500sqft gross external was the outer wall thickness on a new build!! mortgage declined, sale lost, what a muppet and thats just one week!. Then there is the mortgage val! all they do is ask estate agents for "comparables" but really them they mean "what shall I put on the form"!!... More excuses to keep the unemployable employed in an office. No doubt they want to run any regulator....

    • 03 May 2013 09:08 AM
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    Here the RICS go - again - just as they did in the '60's - hoping to get absolute control of the property industry - in my view it has always been one of their main objectives!
    It was because of this that the NAEA was formed in the first place. They probably have the 'ear' of the government, WATCH THEM CLOSELY.

    • 03 May 2013 09:06 AM
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    I got two RICS professionasl fined because they didnt know what they were doing!!! What a load of rubbish. The Ombudsman scheme is perfectly adequate...

    Bigger fish to fry...regulate the lettings industry!!!

    • 03 May 2013 08:57 AM
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    Regulation is stronger than ever following CPRs (consumer protection regulation for sales agents) simply ensure agents follow OFT protocol.

    Bodies like RICS should be running after rogue agents a d BMV bods who fail to comply to CPRs before wanting more paid for licensing on the 90% of avents who trade fair.

    • 03 May 2013 08:56 AM
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    @ oh dear, Well said

    • 03 May 2013 08:36 AM
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    Absoloute Codswallop! I have been an agent (agent of choice in my town) and know more about the job as do my staff than most. The University of life is more important to gain knowledge. Why is it that RICS surveyors alwas call in or ring me to ask values etc!......ITS THEM WHO REALLY NEED TO SHARPEN THEIR ACT UP

    • 03 May 2013 06:59 AM
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