The end of the three-minute training course for agents

John Cunningham, NSW REI past president. NSW real estate.

OUTGOING NSW Real Estate Institute president John Cunningham is on a mission to lift training Standards Australia-wide for real estate agents and make the industry more respected.

Mr Cunningham — managing director of Cunninghams Property on the northern beaches — has taken on a newly-created national role to improve professional standards of real estate agents.

This follows a successful term as institute president in NSW, where agents now have to complete more rigorous training before being licenced.

“There are dodgy courses out there where a certificate is issued after just 3.5 minutes,” he said.

“Improving the training for real estate agents will make a huge difference because there are gaps in the marketplace at the moment. What we want is to get a better outcome for consumers.”

The national program of training will offer a certificate four course, a diploma with an experience component and an aspirational level of training aimed at agents wanting to specialise.

“These specialist fields could be leasing, commercial or residential real estate,” said Mr Cunningham said.

“They are designed to provide the consumer with a trusted adviser who continues to learn, who is taking their career seriously and who is committed to their client.”

The outgoing REI president said he was pleased with what he set out to achieve in his two-year presidency.

He lifted the bar on agent professional standards and helped agents continue to improve themselves.

“One of the biggest highs since I became president has been the overwhelming support of members towards the real estate reform package and the move to raise our standards of education, ethics and performance,” he said.

“Our lobbying helped convince the former minister for innovation and better regulation, Victor Dominello, of the need to see the reform package and the pathway to professionalism come to fruition.”

The new reform package will be introduced in 2018, and REINSW will be at the forefront of the education implementation.

“We will be working closely with the Professional Standards Council and their agency, the Professional Standards Authority, as we progress towards submitting an application by the end of 2019 to be formally recognised as a profession,” Mr Cunningham said.

He said one of his regrets while in office was that he could not persuade the State Government to introduce a flatter tax system, which would see stamp duty replaced by a higher GST for all, similar to the New Zealand tax system.

He said bracket creep and stamp duty were inhibitors on people buying property and the tax should be shared more evenly within the community.