September 25, 2010

Tips on assisting sellers who are unrealistic about price

Saturday 25th September 2010

As we all know, listing your home for sale can be an extremely emotional event. The process tends to becomes even more emotional when the issue about the selling price of a property is discussed. Below are some tips from Real Estate Excellence to assist salespeople who are confronted with sellers who are unrealistic about price.

• Agents should be very clear and upfront to all sellers that the price they are providing is based on facts and evidence – give the evidence in writing through the CMA or market explanation. (refer to the  PAMD Act (sections 574A to 574D and the PAMD Real Estate Agency Practice Code of Conduct sections 10, 18 and 21 - QLD agents only )

• Advise the clients that it is the agents duty to provide honest and accurate indications of market price of their home as per your legislative requirements

• Advise the client that it is their property and you as their agent will list their property at the price that they instruct

• If the client pushes the property too high, the agents should express their concern and also the possible consequences of these actions

o Such as the property becoming stale, long days on market, scaring people away due to price

• Again, agents should advise their client that the property will be listed at whatever price the client wants them to take to the market. This must be via written instruction to the agent through either the PAMD Form 22a Appointment of Agent (QLD) or another written instruction

• Each week that the property remains on the market, agents should provide both written and verbal feedback to the seller about what the market is saying about the price and property

• If little enquiry, provide evidence as to reasons why such as priced too high and continue to show comparable properties and recommendations for the correct market price

• Any change of price instruction from commencement of listing must be in writing.

It is recommended that QLD sales agents use best practice forms such as consent to receive electronic communication and change of price instructions which are available at or by contacting Stacey Holt Real Estate Excellence;

QLD Agents - The Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act  can be found at

September 15, 2010

who will take on the responsibility of pool enforcement? surely not the real estate industry..

15th September 2010

Regrettably there is another amazing milestone for the Queensland Real Estate Industry. Currently the QLD Parliament are debating the future pool safety laws. Noone would dispute the fact that these laws are about saving lives; particularly those who lives who are most vulnerable, that of children under five. We as a community would all support this agenda; however the price of compliance and risk management is dreafully high and outright almost unrealistic on today's real estate business. This morning I have spoken with two member clients, one almost in tears, the other was in tears out of sheer frustration about compliance. The Qld Government continue to use the Real Estate Industry as part policeman for laws such as safety switches, smoke alarms, sustainability declarations and now pool safety new laws. I must quote Mr David Gibson  LNP member for Gympie who was recorded in Hansard (page 3238 of 14th September as saying "The question has to be asked, who else will take on the responsibility (of pool compliance)? Clearly, the state government does not have a structure to be able to act as a fallback for pool inspections. Do we expect that to fall upon real estate agents? It is hardly within the job description of the average suburban realtor?" Well said Mr Gibson, well said. Hardly in fact, but it is regrettably looking likely.

I am up to slide number 30 of Pool Safety New Laws presentation that will be delivered in many areas throughout QLD in October and November 2010; not that size matter, I am merely indicating the number of changes and the amount of information and education that the Real Estate Industry have to yet again take on board.

Stacey Holt

September 14, 2010

Submission to Government - OFT - Property Agents Act 2010

14th September 2010

Fair Trading Policy

Dear Sirs

Stacey Holt Real Estate Excellence welcomes the requested opportunity to contribute this submission and feedback to the Office of Fair Trading to assist the Department in examining ways to improve Fair Trading policy, and review current laws and services. Further consultations on matters that affect the Real Estate Industry are also welcomed for Real Estate Excellence to be part of.

Real Estate Excellence has a Queensland membership base of over 200 Real Estate Agents (including Property Managers and Salespeople) and a subscriber client base of over 1500  Real Estate Agents. Regular education and training events are held throughout Queensland as part of the many industry services provided by Real Estate Excellence. Members, Industry and Clients were requested to contribute to this submission; their collective feedback has been collated to form part of this submission.

It is with great pleasure the Real Estate Industry receives the news that the Queensland Government are going to take the very welcome step of separating the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act. It is also welcome news that the Government are taking the approach of making the significant change in line with National Real Estate Licensing regime which is expected to take effect in 2012. The consideration to the impact of these significant changes to the Real Estate Industry are appreciated and acknowledged.

The Draft Property Agents Act 2010 appears to have been literally taken from the current Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act with the major changes being the title and the trust account regulations being placed into another Act called the Agents Financial Administration Bill 2010 and some other minor changes. Given the significant of the change of introducing a new Act, it would be an opportune time for the Government to review other issues currently contained in the PAMD Act as addressed below;

• Given that one of the main complaints Fair Trading receives in its portfolio is in relation to property management activities (lessor and agent allegations and disputes); it is an opportune time for Government to review certain issues and practices relating to property management.
• Another matter that is encouraged to be considered and addressed is the property management qualification. Now, as has been for many years, the current PAMD regulations provides for the national learning outcomes to be studied in order to achieve the qualification. The major concern this industry has, especially since changes were made December 2008/January 2009 in relation to subjects studied, is the fact that a conservative estimate of today’s learning outcomes allow for less than 10% property management education. This is a major concern for consumers, industry and government. Currently students of Real Estate do not see the Appointment of Agent Form 20a during a registration course, which is most alarming that the most critical document for a consumer and the industry is not addressed during the minimum industry qualification study period. Of course this may well also fit under the big picture of national real estate licensing and also the fact that the future regulations are yet to be seen in draft form, this issue may well be being addressed. It could also be said that it would helpful to include definitions or examples under the definition property agent’s salesperson of other recognised professional activities in the Real Estate Industry, namely business brokerage, commercial sales and leasing and residential property management.
• It is also recommended that the historical industry issue and lack of statute provision for sole or exclusive property management appointments be addressed. Currently the industry deal with the issue through contractual law (dependant on schedules and attachments annexed to the PAMD Form 20a) which must be said is not commonly understood by consumers (lessors in Queensland) and causes utmost confusion and unnecessary dispute. Draft section 77 of the Property Agents Act 2010 makes provision (as is currently in the PAMD Act) for residential sales Sole and Exclusive Agency listings (current section 135 PAMD Act). Please note that section 77 (3) (a) appears to have a typographical error – it states resident as opposed to residential.
• It is noted that the current Real Estate Salesperson’s title is proposed to change to Property Agent Salesperson and the Real Estate Licence changed to Property Agent Licence. This is welcomed however again the Government is encouraged to provide for further definition and or examples in the legislation to be clear and certain to industry and to consumers.
• It is also noted that the future Code of Conduct draft regulations for agent, letting agent and auctioneer are also not yet available for viewing and therefore of course are unable to be commented on. The release of these will be eagerly awaited.
• It is noted that the current provision of approved forms of appointment appear to remain through section 74 and 75 of the Property Agents Bill 2010. It is recommended that Government consider deregulating the Forms of Appointment and make way for mandatory prescribed information to allow for more user and consumer friendly documentation. The current forms are confusing for most including consumers and difficult to use and understand. Mandating required prescribed information would surely have a three way win; Queensland Real Estate Consumers, Government and the Real Estate Industry.
• Given the amount of almost arguable onerous legislation and compliance matters that are imposed on today’s Real Estate Industry and Real Estate Small Business, from the PAMD Act (which will be replaced with the Property Agents Act), RTRA Act, Building Act, Smoke Alarms, Safety Switches and Sustainability to name just a few significant day to day issues faced; it is recommended that the Trust Account requirements remain as part of the Act. The re education process would be extreme for one, but secondly and more importantly, the practicality of day to day agency practice would be more favourable if the trust account provisions remained with the licensing provisions. The alternative, and what government are proposing, is again, another separate piece of legislation that does not have to be separated given the ties with real estate licensing provisions that will remain.

Real Estate Excellence will continue to assist the Industry in the required education, best practice and compliance issues relating to current PAMD Act (including welcome Chapter 11 amendments to take effect October 1 2010) and the progress into the Property Agents Act with the hopeful amalgamation of the Trust Account provisions back into the licensing legislation.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide this submission on behalf of Real Estate Excellence Members, Clients and the Real Estate Industry. If the Department have any further questions or require any further assistance, please contact the writer of this submission as per the contact details below.

Yours faithfully

Stacey Holt
Director, Real Estate Excellence Academy Pty Ltd trading as Stacey Holt Real Estate Excellence
Sent via email -
0423 018 539

Submission to Government - review of 2 months without grounds

14th September 2010

Dear the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA)

Real Estate Excellence welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the review of the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act (RTRA Act) (section 329) 2 months without grounds provision. Real Estate Excellence also welcomes further opportunity for consultation with other industry related matters.

Stacey Holt Real Estate Excellence has a Queensland membership base of over 200 Real Estate Agents (including Property Managers) and a subscriber client base of over 1500 property managers and Real Estate Agents. Regular education and training events are held throughout Queensland as part of the many industry services provided by Real Estate Excellence. Members, Clients and the Industry were requested to voluntarily answer the questions below that were provided to Real Estate Excellence on the 1st September 2010. The responses from Members, Clients and Industry have been collated to form part of this submission. There are also views of Stacey Holt Real Estate Excellence expressed as part of this submission. Please refer below to the RTA requested questions in Italics form and the Real Estate Excellence responses below.

What impact has the current notice period for termination of fixed term tenancies (without grounds) at the end of the agreement by either lessors or tenants had?


• One of many unintended consequences of the two months without grounds provision is increased confusion amongst lessors, tenants and agents which frequently leads to dispute.
• Break lease situation are by far on the increase due to this provision, as tenants find a new home and are ‘stuck with two rents’ to pay after being given two months notice without grounds and then finding a new home earlier then the end date.
• Another unintended consequence is tenants being provided with two months notice to leave with for example three weeks to go of their fixed term lease as decisions by all or one of the parties could not made two months or more out of the end date; the tenants in turn are issuing 2 weeks’ notice to end the tenancy on the end date which sometimes results in a frustrated lessor who has now had to forgo some 5 weeks rent.
• Increased number of periodic tenancies which of course leads to lack of security of tenure for tenants and financial instability for investors.
• Notice to leave forms being issued to tenants with two months to go of their fixed term tenancy that can’t decide when the lessor is financially forced to make a decision; again increased angst and pressure on all parties including agents trying to negotiate.

What are the issues, if any, for lessors, agents or tenants as a result of this provision?


• Increased disputes are a major impact as already discussed in this submission.
• Confusion and fear from a tenant’s perspective. Decisions by lessors within unreasonable time frames about their investment tenancies. Agents are in turn provided with these instructions from their lessors.
• Agents forced to issue Form 12’s early as per lessor instructions and their best interests (around two and half months out before the end date of a fixed term)
• Undue pressure on all parties to make substantial decisions within a reasonable time frame.
• As listed above in question one; lessor’s being financially disadvantaged when acting in good faith and allowing tenants more time to consider their future, and then lessor’s being forced to make a decision coming up to the fixed term expiry which commonly now results in tenants being given two months notice which extends past the fixed term end date and the tenant then being able to provide their 14 days notice as the end date nears. This situation is forcing many investors to make the more viable and certain decision two and a half months out of the lease by stating to tenant (agents carrying out this task on their lessor’s behalf and instruction) that ‘ the offer of another fixed term at the end of the current fixed term expiry is now before you. If the offer is not accepted within the next week, regrettably find enclosed a Form 12 Notice to leave to end the lease without grounds on the end date of the agreement. (The time frames are examples only however do mirror many practices now in the industry as there is little choice for investors who are left in the most unfortunate situation).

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this provision?


• Disadvantages

o As stated above in earlier responses, confusion, angst, pressure, disputes, break leases increase, bond disputes, people forced to make a decision about their future in an unreasonable time frame.

• Advantages

o No advantages of this provision for any party has been identified

How would you improve the current provision?


• Most certainly a successful outcome is for either party to provide the other with 4 weeks (28 days) notice to leave on or before the end date of a fixed term agreement. It is reasonable to concede that all parties (tenants and lessors) are far better placed 4 weeks (28 days) (or around 5 to 6 weeks) prior to the end date of a fixed term to make a fair judgement about their short term future. It is also considered reasonable that tenants would have knowledge of what their intention were at least 4 weeks (28 days) out as most people would be considering transport, schools and other necessary arrangements and changes needed if they were to move house at this time.
• This would also allow for reasonable and realistic time frames for agents to negotiate with the tenants if necessary on behalf of the lessor client.
• Should this reasonable change occur and the amendment made to allow for the 4 weeks (28 days) for either party for termination without grounds, Real Estate Excellence will certainly be advocating for the industry to change lease renewal procedures to start at around the 7 to 8 week stage of the end of fixed term (which was how the past practices were carried out as most tenants were provided for best practice around 28 days notice even when the provision was 14 days notice pre RTRA Act 2008 commencement)
• The 4 weeks (28 days) strongly recommended time frame is also encouraged due to the current provisions in the RTRA Act (section 329) which allow for a termination for contract of sale for periodic tenancy being the 4 weeks. This will provide for ‘some’ uniformity and alignment of dates/days/weeks which does lead to confusion within the industry.

Can you provide any brief case examples that illustrate the issues from your point of view?


• There are many specific ‘general dispute examples’ that could be cited in this part of the submission however they are all very similar and it is hoped that the above examples are considered sufficient to assist the questions asked. It must be noted that many of the ‘general dispute examples’ that the industry is experiencing (and both tenants and lessors also greatly suffer from) are simply due to the 2 months without grounds provision and the unreasonable and unrealistic time frames imposed on people about their houses (investments) and their homes.

Real Estate Excellence will continue to assist the Industry in the required education, best practice and compliance issues relating to the RTRA Act. Thank you to the RTA for the opportunity to provide this submission on behalf of Real Estate Excellence Members, Clients and the Real Estate Industry. If the RTA have any further questions or require any further assistance, please contact the writer of this submission. It is hoped that the unintended consequences of the two months without grounds provision introduced on 1 July 2009 through the RTRA Act are quickly amended by the Queensland Government to allow for reasonable and realistic procedures and legislative framework to assist all stakeholders (industry, tenants and lessors) to move forward in harmony.

Yours sincerely

Stacey Holt
Director, Real Estate Excellence Academy Pty Ltd
Sent via email -
0423 018 539