13 Sep 2017
It is the responsibility of professionals in the estate and lettings sector to be advocates and leaders of professionalism to secure their future success and drive business. This was the key takeaway from the ‘Blue Book’ launch which sought to answer what does it mean to be a professional in the residential estate and lettings sector.
Being an advocate and leader
Whilst Co-Founder of Viewber Ed Mead joked that at dinner parties he would lie about his "dark past" as an estate agent, there is a more serious issue behind this. As an industry, this self-ridicule is preventing consumers from seeing estate and lettings agents as professionals and without championing our own excellent customer service the industry will never shake off its wheeler-dealer image.
Managing Director at Countrywide Paul Chapman defines professionalism as adhering to high standards which in-turn creates and maintains consumer trust. This was echoed by Jeff Doble of Dexters who added that by presenting a professional estate agent it creates an aspirational role model, encouraging more young people to consider it as a career. Dexters currently has 100 apprentices in training, who are working towards achieving RICS qualifications. Jeff believes that by encouraging this new workforce to aim for the highest level of professionalism and service for their customers, it reinforces the pride and work ethic in what they do.
RICS Global Property Standards Director Paul Bagust added the status of being an RICS professional is maintained by a high level of regulation against mandatory RICS professional statements. Standards underpin professionalism as they demonstrate trust and transparency to reduce risk and optimise performance. This will drive trust and demand for RICS professionals now and in the future.
Educating the next generation of home buyers
Did you know that 80% of estate agents work happens between the point of agreeing an offer and exchange of contracts on a property? The debate highlighted the public perception that estate agents just show people round houses and questioned at what stage of people’s lives we should educate them.
First time buyers are totally reliant on estate agents and many are ignorant by choice or design, so it is up to the estate agent to explain their role and scope of business clearly from the outset.
Maintaining professionalism in the future
With ever increasing advances in technology, it is vital for estate and lettings agents to embrace this to maintain a high level of professionalism. Today you wouldn’t choose a bank if they didn’t offer an online banking service, so it was agreed in the debate, that customers will be demanding a digital or online portion of service, if not now then definitely in the future.
The RICS is reflecting the changing nature of professional practice with the new RICS Professional Statement for Sales and Lettings agents, commonly known as the ‘Blue Book’. For the first time this document contains mandatory content for all RICS professionals working as estate and lettings agents and sets our clear requirements on matters including conflicts of interest, money laundering and consumer protection.
Download the new 'Blue Book'
Overall the general feeling was that by being a professional, adhering to the highest level of standards and embracing advancements in technology, it will benefit your business and the industry as a whole.
- Peter Bolton-King, Global Director of Professionalism and Ethics, RICS (Chair)
- Ed Mead, Co-Founder, Viewber
- Jeff Doble, CEO, Dexters
- Katrine Sporle, The Property Ombudsman
- Paul Chapman, Managing Director, Countrywide
- Paul Bagust, Global Property Standards Director, RICS
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