The president of a NSW real estate position has been claimed to be one of Sydney’s most 100 powerful people, and she says she’s using her position to better help sellers in the marketplace.
Leanne Pilkington, president of the Real Estate Institute of NSW, has been listed as number 85 in the Sydney Power 100 list, a list of the top 100 most powerful people in Sydney according to News Corp.
Ms Pilkington however is not going to be sitting on her laurels, as she plans to use this position to make sure she is heard to lobby for a better experience for the sellers of property.
“The higher your profile, the more people are interested in what you’ve got to say, and so that just gives me the opportunity to communicate with more people about the things we believe do need to be changed within the industry,” Ms Pilkington said to Smart Property Investment.
Ms Pilkington and the REINSW have been advocating on two main fronts: better training and improved requirements for agents, and the instatement of a property services commissioner.
By working on both of these, she believes the experience of those using agents to sell property can be improved.
On the first front, agent training improvements have passed Parliament, but Fair Trading is yet to confirm the specific legislation, she said.
“The impact of that will be better trained real estate agents with better experience and better understanding of the legislative requirements, so better consumer protection is the ultimate endgame,” Ms Pilkington said.
“We currently are in a position where you have to train for longer to be a barista than you do to be a real estate agent. We are sending people out into the market with really limited training. We’re allowing people to actually open real estate businesses when they have not had any real estate experience at all.
“They go and they get their licence, they have never had to have worked in real estate, and yet here they are, able to go and open a business, and run a trust account. We just haven’t been taking the education and the knowledge that people need to do this effectively, and to look after consumer’s interest, we haven’t been taking it seriously enough.”
By improving real estate agents through further training, Ms Pilkington said investor’s trust in agents will improve, which will then assist in a better selling experience.
She said during the busy period between 2014 and 2016, there was a 20 per cent increase of agents entering the industry.
“Whilst it’s nice to see the industry growing, you need to make sure it’s growing with the right kind of people who are going to represent consumers and consumer’s interests,” she said.
“We’re on a pathway to become a formally recognised profession, which again will be advantageous to consumers because they’ll be able to choose an agent that is a professional, a recognised, accredited professional, but we can’t get there unless we get the first pillar, the training and education, formalised.”
By instating a dedicated property commissioner, she believes the legislation regarding better agent training can be finalised, as well as solidify the importance of property in the state government.
“The amount of money, the fees and charges and stamp duty and land tax, all of that sort of thing; [it’s a] massive part of the state’s budget. Almost 25 per cent on the numbers from last year; and property is also the largest employer in the state, so we just believe that it needs a dedicated commissioner that really understands the issues, and sometimes complex issues that go along with the industry,” she said.