As with most professions you would expect Estate Agents to be schooled to do what they do especially given that they are ultimately in charge of selling or renting one of your most valuable assets.
According to my latest figures there are about 19,000 Estate Agents covering the UK and most towns and cities have many to choose from. The vast numbers of these businesses have been set up because of the large sums of money involved and you would think that with so much at stake that they would be trained to a high level and have to pass many courses or exams to take this route into work.
If you were thinking they were then you would be wrong in fact the industry is in the main self taught and up until recent times very under regulated in what they did. In fact many started in the industry with very little training and operate under virtually no restrictions allowing them to take control of these large transactions with little experience or supervision.
Obviously there are very many good Estate Agents out there and some have worked to attain qualifications like RICS accreditations etc but there are just as many with very little formal training that are basically doing the same job. Recent changes in Wales on the rental side of this industry have seen massive changes with new legislation and a new government backed department called Rent Smart Wales set up to finally police this marketplace and try to get some of the rogue landlords and agents out of the industry. Good Estate Agents and Letting Agents have welcomed these changes and have had to go on a course and register their business costing many thousands of pounds. Landlords to have had to register and pay to manage their own property portfolio in a move set to raise the standards of both the properties available on the rental market but also the competence of the individuals working within this sector.
What these new changes will hopefully do is cause a ripple effect in the property industry that starts to get the people involved in it to be better trained and more knowledgable leading to better standards for those who use the services of the people involved. The large fines for non compliance will also act as a strong deterrent for those wanting to play the game and not comply with these industry standards and in extreme cases they may even lose the properties in question.
It should also be on the agenda to raise the standards in the sales market, anyone can value a house for someone and put it on the market with very little in the way of control or experience and this seems crazy given a house is probably someones biggest and most valuable asset. Over and under valuing is a big problem in the industry and better trained Estate Agents and a little more legislation would be easy to implement to raise the standards across the board in this area of the market also.