​Underqualified real estate agents: Are brokers any better?

by 13 Dec 2013
Following a real estate professional’s criticism of low minimum standards amongst agents, brokers have questioned whether their own industry is really any better.

John Cunningham, deputy chairman of REINSW, told Australian Broker that education requirements for the real estate industry should be raised to a higher standard nationally, claiming that real estate licenses are issued by many providers after just a few days of study.

A number of readers expressed their support for Cunningham’s comments, but Rael Bricker, CEO of House + Home Loans suggests brokers should not be so quick to criticise the real estate industry. This idea was echoed by many Australian Broker readers, with a number of comments suggesting brokers look at their own industry before criticising agents.

“In our own industry all we’ve done is set a benchmark that can be done in a week,” says Bricker.

A number of staff at House + Home Loans are currently undertaking Cert IV courses which are completed over the course of four morning sessions.

Bricker himself achieved his Diploma via an online course in a matter of hours, he says. 

The minimum standards in the broking profession remain low, says Bricker, but it is up to individual brokers and business owners to stretch themselves further and achieve more.

Over 90% of all House + Home Loans staff are degree-qualified, says Bricker, and that is part of his individual employment philosophy, regardless of minimum standards.

“We set minimum standards in the industry, but we need to treat them as that and realise that someone with a diploma is no better than they were a week ago and it’s not going to define whether they are a good or bad mortgage broker.”

A formal course will never teach essential aspects of being a broker, such as morals and ethics, says Bricker. This sentiment was reflected by a number of readers.

“Committing fraud comes down to someone's character, not what they are taught in a course,” commented Simon.

“Like all accreditation courses, they don't teach you to sell or morals… they simply teach you how to protect yourself from being sued,” added Todd.

While Bricker is critical of certain industry mentorship programs, he firmly believes experienced brokers training new-to-industry brokers is the best way to ensure a solid educational base.

“What else can you teach people besides learning on the job? And if they’re learning on the job then I believe that we as the more experienced brokers almost have a moral obligation to train younger people and bring them into the industry…  It’s about giving back and it’s the right process because new brokers don’t actually learn anything on the diploma until they’ve had some practical experience.”

Meanwhile, the REIA president Peter Bushby says he is concerned about the potential “dumbing down” of the real estate profession through proposed new licensing standards.

 “We already have high standards and our state and territory institutes are active in establishing and meeting the training needs for our industry,” said Bushby.

“We lead many occupations in our commitment to training. This is why we are so opposed to the dumbing down of entry level training and the removal of CPD training under the National Licensing model we are presented with at present.”

Generally the relationship between brokers and real estate agents is “pretty workable”, says Bushby, but the REIA is generally supportive of further education of brokers and agents.


  • by observer 13/12/2013 9:28:41 AM

    Our aggregation group has an internal forum (as do many others I would guess) when you see some of the questions that get asked on the forum, it makes you wonder how these brokers clients perceive them, because the questions display a very low level of practical knowledge or problem solving ability, or even the ability to use the aggregation groups software. Many of the experienced (often with an industry background) brokers that i have spoken to wonder what our industry will look like when this generation of brokers retires. There will always be a certain level of people who will come into the industry and do very well, but it won't be all entrants, by a long shot.
    I am a supporter of making the industry harder to get into and much more emphasis placed on competency based training rather than just passing a test and unleashing yourself on the public.

  • by Broker 13/12/2013 11:52:22 AM

    This educational drive becomes rather boring ( PD days etc) and often somewhat insulting for the old timers with heaps of knowledge and plenty of real experiences. It’s a bit like throwing the preps in with the year 11’s.

    It never ceases to amaze me how little I know ,or retain, after 11 years as Finance Broker and too many PD days to remember!

  • by Agree with 'Broker'! 13/12/2013 2:53:46 PM

    33 years in the industry, and I still here this. Seems like a lot of people making a quid out of selling courses. If you run out of courses to make money off, just start leaking stories about needing more education.