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As Dubai's property market goes through a transitional phase, industry pundits believe last week's Real Estate Brokers Conference at Cityscape Global provided a platform to ask pressing questions and get frank answers.
''The topics centred around the challenges real estate brokers face, the changes and rationale needed to standardise the industry here in Dubai,'' says Mario Volpi, Head of Project Sales at Asteco and chairman of the conference.
Volpi says the challenges remain broadly the same. ''I firmly believe that there are too many brokers in the industry chasing an ever decreasing slice of the property cake,'' he says. ''We need to raise the standard of these individuals from a professional and ethical to a legal level, to achieve cooperation and standardisation between brokers, companies and clients.''
Issues such as growing number of brokers, level of professionalism and quality of services are things that the forum had raised even in the past. The government had also introduced some measures, making the process of getting brokerage licences more stringent. But problems persist.
According to Daniel Hart, CEO of Masterkey, who was part of the panel, some of the major regulatory issues tackled included enforcement of Form A and imposing limits on the number of agents a realty firm can hire. Protecting owner databases is also very critical, he says.
''Everyone today has a copy of the owner databases and when a listing appears on a portal, other agents can just go to the owners directly. We need to crack down on the source of these databases and help give brokers the reassurance that their listings won't be stolen,'' he says.
Hart, whose company provides real estate software solutions, points out that standardising locations and providing a way that software systems can detect duplication are important issues that need to be discussed more thoroughly. ''We want to help agents prevent duplicate listings but are hindered by the methods to detect duplicates,'' he explains. ''Most agents will not enter the title deed number or the Makani number, so doing so is challenging.''
Sallie Bowtell, Partner at Trowers and Hamlins, an international law firm, who was also on the panel, says the new deadline to register ownership interests in property by October 31 from the previously deadline of June 2015 is another topical issue.
''One of the challenges is that there are circulars and directives constantly issued throughout the relevant authorities, which are not made publicly available,'' she says.
Source: S. A. Kader, Special to Property Weekly