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Rera, the acronym for Dubai's Real Estate Regulatory Agency, was created in 2007 to play a primary role in the formulation of a strategic planning discipline for the industry and supporting the implementation of the strategy by, among other things, developing rules and regulations that govern the licensing and activities of brokerage companies.
It is responsible for the implementation of regulatory processes and mechanisms for investment activities, including lease registration and monitoring of development projects at both a financial and technical level in order to protect the interests of stakeholders. While significant steps have been undertaken by both Rera and the DREI (Dubai Real Estate Institute) to improve the level of professionalism of brokers operating within the industry, there is still some way to go. For example, a Workforce Planning Study completed earlier this year (which was commissioned by Dubai International Academic City and conducted by the global consulting firm Deloitte) grabbed my attention. The report identified, among other things, several areas of skills deficiency in real estate professionals.
The areas identified included project financing, property pricing and appraisal, real estate evaluation, property market analysis and brokerage. It led me to question as to whether we need more professionals in the real estate business or just better trained, more experienced individuals with higher levels of motivation and professionalism. I suspect it might be the latter.
The skills mentioned are hardly rocket science to an experienced — and professional — real estate practitioner. Unfortunately, there is still a significant proportion of real estate practitioners in Dubai who do not possess these skills or knowledge set. Typically, they are not professionals in the true sense of the word. They are opportunists who are attracted only by the quick buck to be made in a resurgent market.
They do the industry significant harm in terms of reputation, trust and confidence. We are all better off without them...
The levels of professionalism, quality and customer service in the industry still requires a lot of attention. While good progress has been made by the Dubai Real Estate Institute towards elevating the standard of practitioners, too many poor performers remain, effectively hindering the development of the industry into a vibrant, efficient and transparent marketplace that we all desire.
So I applaud any efforts made by Rera to improve the performance of professionals in our industry. The initiatives to ''raise the bar'' on the mandatory exam for license renewals and linking broker details to their Emirates ID — to ensure that only licensed brokers operate in the market — are definite steps in the right direction.
In addition, by restricting new brokerage firms in Dubai to employing no more than four agents for the first year of operations — to gauge their performance — will also help in ensuring professional standards are developed and practised. Also, ensuring registered brokers are actually active within the industry over a period of 12 months will help in eliminating those opportunists who are not committed professionals, but who enter the industry on a sporadic and opportunistic basis.
The latest measures — to be implemented in early 2015 — are just a continuation of the good work already done by Rera and DREI. But improvements cannot be achieved by regulatory measures alone.
The other industry participants and stakeholders need to embrace the concept that constantly improving standards of professionalism for superior performance and solutions delivered according to a code of ethics will result in sustainable and profitable growth for the industry over the long term.
Did you know Dubai toughens screening of real estate agents
Source: Mohanad Alwadiya, Special to gulfnews.com
The writer is Managing Director, Harbor Real Estate, and adviser at the Dubai Real Estate Institute, the official training and certification arm of Dubai Land Department