Real estate industry facing shakeup as experts call for 'robust' changes to qualifications

The process to becoming a real estate agent takes too long, according to an expert.
The process to becoming a real estate agent takes too long, according to an expert. Photo credit: Getty

The real estate industry is facing a shakeup with three major organisations calling for a review of the qualifications necessary to become an agent.

The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ), the Real Estate Authority (REA) and the Skills Organisation (Skills) are working together to shorten the process of becoming a real estate agent to ensure a "robust, local, fit for purpose and efficient qualification".

Bindi Norwell, Chief Executive at REINZ says the current qualifications need improvement.

"It takes too long to complete and doesn't meet the expectations of a regulated profession."

With a number of extremely experienced branch managers and agents due to retire within the next five to 10 years, we need a qualification programme that ensures highly skilled professionals will join the sector."

As it stands now, real estate salespeople need to complete a course which takes between three and eight months. From there, they can continue on to become a branch manager, which takes between four and six months, and then an agent - a further 18 months.

The proposed changes will shorten this process down. Once applicants had their qualification to be a salesperson they could become a branch manager in two to four months, and then they could move on to being an agent in four to six months.

Currently, there is no requirement to be a branch manager before becoming an agent - one of the proposed changes will require applicants to complete all three steps in the process before they can become an agent, streamlining the process. 

"For licensed salespersons wishing to become a licensed agent, they will need to complete the Level 5 qualification followed by the Level 6 qualification, taking six to 10 months in total," reads the proposal.

Overall, the changes will establish a "qualification pathway" whereby people wishing to progress on to manage branches or become an agent will need to complete each step of the process before they can be qualified to move on.

Gary Fissenden, the chief executive of Skills, says the proposed changes are a great opportunity to "futureproof" the industry.

"The outcome will be a suite of qualifications and learning programmes that are well designed to meet New Zealand's high educational standards."   

The proposed changes are currently open for public submission, with the final option due to be submitted to the New Zealand Qualifications Authority in April.