Real Estate Advice for Consumers

May 17, 2018, 9:17 a.m.


Real estate is an important investment that is often the largest single purchase in a lifetime. here, the Real Estate Agents Licensing Board shares some helpful  advice for consumers.


Be a Practical Consumer

Owning a house is everyone’s dream however the worries and concerns that comes with buying a property may at times deter one from ever experiencing the satisfaction associated with holding the keys to your own house.

The Real Estate Agents Licensing Board (REALB) looks into assisting members of the public by ensuring that real estate agents and their salespersons carry out their work in the most ethical and professional manner. This is part of the mandate set out in the Real Estate Agents Act 2006 which is the governing law for REALB. The Act was established to provide a framework for the regulations of real estate agents, branch manager and salespersons in the real estate industry.

This week we will look at some of the issues that arise when one sets out to purchase a house and deals with a real estate agent.


Decide if you need a real estate agent

It is not compulsory to deal with a real estate agent in the purchasing of your property. If you are familiar with property transactions, you can handle the sale or purchase of your property on your own. If you are not familiar with the property transactions and regulations then it is best that you engage a real estate agent.


Ensure that your agent is registered

A real estate agent is someone who holds himself or herself out to the public as ready to act, for a reward as an agent in respect of the sale or other disposition of land or the purchase or acquisition of land or in respect of the leasing or letting of land. That also includes the purchase and selling of properties.

All real estate agents must be registered with REALB through their respective companies. Check the Public Register with REALB. All registered real estate agents have a unique Licence number and also carry with them a valid Identification Card issued by REALB. It is an offence under to carry out real estate agency work without a licence.


How much commission can a real estate agent charge?

Negotiate your commission before the real estate agent starts. Commission rate is not fixed and REALB does not provide any standard commission guidelines at this stage. The current market practice should not exceed 10% of value of sale. You are free to negotiate the amount of commission and fees payable to the real estate agent before he/she starts work. Check if VAT is included in the commission payable to the real estate agent. You will pay the real estate his/her commission only AFTER the transaction is completed,


Sign an Agency Agreement with the Real Estate Agent

An estate agency agreement is a binding contract between you (as Vendor) and the real estate agent to protect the interests of both parties. The agreement must stipulate the agent’s duties, the agreed commission rate, and requires the agent to declare if there is any conflict of interest. Read the agreement thoroughly before agreeing to singing it. ALWAYS request a copy of the signed agreement from the real estate agent and keep it with you. Anything agreed outside the agency agreement does not hold any binding effect. The real estate agent has the responsibility to explain to you the terms set out in the agreement.


Take charge of your own money

There have been cases where agents have misused monies for their own purposes. Pay the payee directly using verifiable payment modes through the use of crossed cheques and bank transfers. Or, obtain the services of a solicitor. If you are paying cash, ask for a receipt.


For any further questions or clarifications please call us on 330 0355 or visit our office at Suite 3 Level 1, Narseys Building, 2 Ellery Street, Suva.

Source: Real Estate Agents Licensing Board (REALB).