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Experts seek rebranding, new perception for estate agency

By Tunde Alao
27 April 2015   |   3:04 pm
FOLLOWING the infiltration of estate agency practice by quacks that creates negative perception about genuine professionals in the country, members of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) have commenced programmes to rescue the practitioners from public opprobrium and reposition them in the scheme of things.

ESVARBON Registrar, Thomas Audu(front row left), Chairman, William Odudu,AGM, LASTRETAD, Mrs Patunola- Ajayi, NIESV 1st Vice President, Babarinde Patunola-Ajayi, Tunji Olugbodi, AzubikeUnigwe and others in back row including AEAN Chairman, Chudi Ubosi

FOLLOWING the infiltration of estate agency practice by quacks that creates negative perception about genuine professionals in the country, members of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) have commenced programmes to rescue the practitioners from public opprobrium and reposition them in the scheme of things.

Coming under the Association of Estate Agents in Nigeria (AEAN), in conjunction with NIESV, the 1st Annual Conference estate Agency 2015, with the theme: ‘Branding and the Public Perception of Estate Agency Practice In Nigeria’  was staged by the bodies, which brought together stakeholders at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Ikeja in Lagos. The event had in attendance, government officials and other professional bodies.

In his welcome address, AEAN Chairman, Mr. Chudi Ubosi, stated that it is a challenge that estate agents live with poor public perception and that its not something that can just go away on its own.

“It is a challenge that we practitioners live with. Our poor public perception is not something that will go away on its own, we must work on it. It is hope of the organiser of this conference that after the deliberation, we would have taken the first important step towards creating a good public image for our selves and the profession”.

However, the profound solution may have being the involvement of a board for the proper regulation of the organisation and the practitioners.

The Chairman, Estate Surveyor and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria (ESVARBON), Williams Odudu, said the board is fully set for proper regulation of the practice of estate agency in Nigeria.

He said the wide vista of services rendered by estate agents falls within the large spectrum of the profession of Estate Surveying and Valuation which the Estate Surveyors and Valuers (Registration, etc) Act, now Cap E13 LFN 2007 empowers the Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigeria (ESVARBON) or (The Board) to regulate and control its practice in all aspects and ramifications.

He noted that the urgent need to restore estate agency practice on the path of integrity, accountability and professionalism spurred the board to build upon the collaborative efforts of  NIESV and the umbrella of estate agents.   The board now has drawn up Code of Conduct for estate agents, which all must adhere to.

The board has also made the estate agency regulations that will guide and regulate any person, firm or company carrying on the business of estate agency in the country. Failure to comply with the regulations and Code of Conduct will be deemed as misconduct with penal consequences, according to law by the Board.

“The board is currently working in close liaison with mandatory continuing professional development (MCPD) workshops, training, seminars and conferences to develop and maintain capabilities to perform competently within a professional environment.

“Credit points will be awarded for attendance and participation of estate agents in the approved MCPD’s will form part of the prerequisites for yearly license renewal of Registered Estate Agents.

The practice of Estate Agency in Nigeria is no more business as usual.  “The Board has risen to sanitize the practice and by so doing, alter public perception of the practitioners and engender public confidence in the profession”, he said, concluding that the Board will maintain a data bank of estate agency in Nigeria and agents will be entitled to be paid adequate remuneration for their services to their clients.

Speaking on  Professionalising Estate Agency Practice in Nigeria, immediate Past NIESV President, Mr. Emeka Eleh, stated that “ estate agency is essentially a land based profession that deals with the business of buying, selling or leasing of interests in real estate, which may be land or buildings or interests therein.

Practitioners of this trade are generally addressed as estate agents in our environment.”   Eleh maintained that considering the importance of housing in man’s hierarchy of needs and the huge deficit that exists in the housing sector in Nigeria, estate agents generally, play a very important role in the socio-economic life of the country.

Throwing more light on the work of estate agency, he said that an agent is a person, who possesses the authority to act on behalf of another person with a view to establishing contractual relationship between his principal and a third party.

According to him, “the practice is generally open to ‘all comers’ and entry and exit are at the sole discretion of the person.  Due to the lack of a central professional/regulatory body that will set minimum standards for entry, set standards for its practice, as well as ensure adherence to a code of ethics, most estate agents are generally on their own and quackery with its attendant consequences is very prevalent if not the order of the day, stating that the need to professionalise the practice of estate agency and to do so now cannot be overemphasized.

“As the wave of globalization continues to blow and foreign firms and corporations keep coming in, there is the urgent need for us to fine-tune our practices and procedures, to be in line with international best practices.  It may seem like a very difficult task but it can certainly be done and the time to do it is now.

“The practice of estate agency is a professional discipline and our agents must have the right training, qualification and certification to hold their heads high; as worthy ambassadors of a profession that has a huge impact on the life of the average Nigerian”.

Earlier, the chairman of the occasion, Mr. Boye Ajayi, in his address believed that the principal aim of AEAN is on how to sanitize estate agency practice in the real estate sector of the Nigerian economy, thereby developing the estate agency into a respectable professional practice in Nigeria.

“It is pertinent to note that the parent body, NIESV has over the years carefully observed the bastardisation of estate agency practice, which is an aspect of its members’ core-professional areas.

In fact, there is no gain-saying that the agency practice in Nigeria has today become an all-comers affairs! That is why the AEAN founding fathers thought it wise that the birth of the association will promote reasonable avenues for training and re-training estate agency personnel; maintaining a data base of estate agents in Nigeria; ensuring a high standard of professional ethics by members there by reducing to barest minimum, incident of fraud in property transactions, among others”, said Ajayi.