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The Dubai Land Department has just made it more difficult for estate agents/agencies to play hard and fast with their customer funds. Through its new app, the government agency has created a ranking of the top 10 brokers in the city as well as another extending to the Top 100.
These are based on the number of transactions they have registered with the Land Department in a specific time frame and which gets uploaded on an annual basis. The top ranked broker effected more than 240 deals in 2014.
These details would come in handy for prospective investors to make up their minds as to whom they should deal with. More so, as the number of registered brokerage firms in Dubai now totals 1,050, while the estate agents total 2,154.
The launch of the ranking system gives fresh impetus to creating a safety net for investors and safeguarding their interests. Earlier this year, there were a couple of instances when brokerage firms folded up and which led to client funds getting “misappropriated”, according to market sources. There have been other closures since, but without impacting on investors.
The Dubai Land Department app — Dubai Brokers — is available free of charge on Play Store and App Store.
“This App comes as a confirmation of the role they [investors and brokers] play in the context of the real estate equation,” said Sultan Butti Bin Mejren, Director-General of Dubai Land Department.
“At the same time [it] allows developers to identify the potential legal situation in terms of the validity of business licenses, and evaluating their performance in various processes they do.”
Tapping into the app, investors can also access brokers’ performance levels and check the legal status of real estate offices in which they work, apart from listing the Top 10 and Top 100 brokers. In earlier moves, the Land Department had raised the qualification requirements for brokers to get/renew their credentials.
The onus is now on brokers to make it to the top listings if they want to gain traction with potential buyers. Even more so as market transactions have dropped appreciably in the first five months, and could tighten further over the subsequent 12 weeks too.
“One cannot fault investors if they want to deal with only the top 100, 200 or 300 names,” said an estate agent. “There will be real pressure on those further down, adding to already difficult market circumstances.”
That could spark further exits from the business altogether — there are reports of brokerage licences being put up on sale on a popular classifieds site. At last count, there were 10 such licences on sale.
Source: Manoj Nair, Associate Editor, gulfnews.com