Real estate agents, branch managers and industry sales representatives in Vanua Levu were recently hosted to consultations on draft regulations by the Real Estate Agents Licensing Board (REALB).
Speaking at the meet in Savusavu Town, the Board’s acting chief executive officer, Virisila Tuimanu noted the import link between the industry’s growth with the performance of the economy.
“What this means is that all parts of our economy, including the real estate industry, will need to drive future growth by transforming your businesses to be more productive and, deliver greater value to the Fijian public,” she said.
“This is also the first time in the Fijian history that the economy has grown positively for eight consecutive years. That in a nutshell, is a promising indication of our prospects as a country. It simply means that the stable, sound and pro-growth policies of the Fijian Government are being brought to fruition and the Fijian Government will continue to provide an environment that leads to increased employment and better livelihoods, especially for our grassroot communities.”
Tuimanu said housing demands continued to increase, especially in major urban areas, which necessitated various policy changes to ensure affordable residential properties for ordinary Fijians. She cited the Government-funded First Home Buyers program-which avails grants for individuals or couples with a joint annual income of up to $50,000- as a good example.
Tuimanu noted that while the Government had taken steps to make affordable housing available for all Fijians, real estate agents also had a duty to work within the ambits of the law and ensure their industry was clean of unscrupulous dealers, adding that agents had to enhance their connectivity with their Fijian partners and beyond.
“All stakeholders in the real estate industry must be familiar with the rules and procedures pertaining to property transactions and ensuring that consumer’ rights are protected. There are other related laws and regulations that need to be complied to, and we have with us today representatives from the various key agencies who will also enlighten you on these as well.
She said efforts to transform the industry into a respected and well-regarded one could not be achieved alone, and called on a collective effort between real estate agents, salespersons, regulating agencies and consumers, saying they all had a part to play in such a transformation.
“ Your role as real estate agents is pivotal to consumers, simply because you help save their time, you are knowledgeable about your respective areas, you help consumers choose the right pricing framework, you closely follow the current market conditions, you can effectively promote and market their homes, use your networking opportunities with other professionals, clients and agents, assist with negotiating using the utmost confidentiality, take care of paper work down to the finest details and you network for future business opportunities.
“It is imperative, that we have a vibrant real estate industry with a high level of professionalism, expertise and integrity.”
The Board previously held similar consultations for feedback on their draft regulations in Suva and Nadi.
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