Assistant agents hitting the books as deadline looms

7 February 2024


Assistant agents who have not completed their Certificate IV qualification are at risk of being unable to work under mandatory changes introduced by NSW Fair Trading back in 2020.

These tightened regulations introduced back in March 2020 gave registered Assistant Agents four years to complete the compulsory study and upgrade to a Class 2 licence. Failure to do so means they cannot continue working as an assistant agent and will be unable to apply for another 12 months.

Cathy Baker, a committee member of the REINSW Residential Sales Chapter, said most agencies and agents are aware that the initial four-year deadline is fast approaching. There are over 10,000 Certificate of Registration holders whose certificates will expire in March this year if they have not yet finished their studies.

“There has been every opportunity for people to have undertaken and done what they needed to do by now – so I would find it very surprising if people have not moved forward with this,” Ms Baker said.

“The REINSW has been very proactive in encouraging people to get enrolled in a licensing course and every time you see CPD hours it does remind you of your obligations.”

Changes to the Certificate of Registration were introduced to ensure all assistant agents - in real estate, stock and station, and strata - are given the proper experience and knowledge in their journey to become fully licensed.

While Assistant Agents have four years to complete the study, it is possible to finish it much earlier.

Ms Baker who is the principal of Belle Property Kilcare said junior staff also need to be supported by their employer. Her business sets aside three hours every Tuesday for assistant agents to work on their licensing course.

“We have some trainees who have completed their certificate quickly, so it is possible to fast-track it, but it is down to the individual,” Ms Baker said.

“In our office, they spend three hours in the board room each week with a sales manager focusing on their modules and we also make sure there is a practical application such as role-playing to reinforce what they have learned.”

At REINSW there are a number of pathways available to achieve your Certificate IV qualification they are:

Ewan Morton, joint Managing Director of real estate agency Morton, agrees businesses need to dedicate time to ensure trainees complete their Certificate of Registration. This means setting up staff with the same training provider, creating small study groups and assigning a senior agent to assist them.

“Real estate is one of those professions that previously didn't require formal qualifications to get into it, so as an industry, we are adjusting to the academic requirements that are being asked of us,” said Mr Morton, who is a member of the REINSW.

“It is a good thing, but this does take discipline to get the study done. You need to encourage staff to do the learning so that they can get their qualification.”

To be eligible to apply for a real estate licence with the regulator, applicants must be at least 18 years old and be considered a ‘fit and proper’ person. This means they have not been found guilty of an offence involving fraud or dishonesty over the past 10 years.

Mr Morton said the demands of the job and the nature of the industry means young trainees may be tempted to skip their studies.

“Real estate involves solving people problems from 8.30am to 5.00pm and that requires energy, negotiating and you can be talking all the time,” Mr Morton said.

“Agents tend to like that – but then you have to switch into a disciplined mode after expending all that energy and do your course, which can be hard.

“There are many jobs, however, that require staff to do a professional year or complete an MBA while working at the same time - at a higher academic level than expected in real estate - so if those industries can do it, then we can do it too.”

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