Real estate agents' law changes to benefit property buyers and sellers | Poll

HOUSING: Benefits for Orange buyers and sellers. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0501jkhousing6
HOUSING: Benefits for Orange buyers and sellers. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0501jkhousing6

People buying and selling homes are set to benefit from new laws cracking down on real estate practices and improving the professionalism of real estate agents.

Real estate agents will have to undergo a lot more training than before, will face tighter restrictions on who can access funds, be required to maintain separate trust accounts for sales and rentals and be required to have annual auditing of all trust accounts by NSW Fair Trading.

Gifts or benefits to agents that might cause conflicts of interest would be banned.

A spokesman for NSW Fair Trading said agents would also be required to disclose full facts about properties they were selling.

“For example, flooding or bushfires in the past five years, or known significant health or safety risks on the property,” he said.

The law changes, which start after July, would also provide for agent’s licences or certificate of registration to be suspended when they were being investigated or where audits or professional training requirements had not been met.

The spokesman said the laws did not stop real estate agencies passing on costs of the changes to customers.

“Fees for services are determined by market forces,” he said.

However, Ray White Orange principal Libby Seaman, said they would not pass on any costs.

“No fees would go up,” she said.

Ms Seaman welcomed the changes saying it would lift the professionalism of the industry.

“We are going to be more accountable,” she said.

Ms Seaman said buyers and sellers would benefit from dealing with more knowlegeable and better trained agents.

One Agency Orange licensee Ash Brown said he had already undertaken extra training which he said could be done face-to-face in Sydney or online.

“They’re trying to give more importance to the educational side of becoming an agent,” he said.

“We think it is a good thing, it’s cleaning up the industry and we’re embracing that.”