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Placing a freeze on new agents?


Published: Oct 10, 2013

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Much has been said recently about restricting the amount of new agents coming into the real estate industry, as some feel there is a saturation of agents in the Bahamas.

In fact, two-time President of the Bahamas Real Estate Association (BREA) Pat Strachan went as far as to suggest putting a moratorium on allowing new persons from joining for at least three years.  There was mixed reaction to this suggestion. Presently, there are over 600 BREA members, which comprise brokers, agents and appraisers. It is estimated that in fact only about 400 of these are actively involved, as the others have sought more reliable paying jobs.

Aside from that, a recent Supreme Court ruling compelled BREA to allow agents to work part-time in the industry to much chagrin, which has also increased new entrants to the profession.

This move is something that frustrated past president Pat Strachan, but also others who may not have been as vocal in voicing their concerns, over the fact that there is a lack of business and an ever shrinking market that is forcing agents to make a living in other industries.

In my opinion, limiting entrants into the market is in no way democratic, as such a position has not been taken with other professions such as law or accounting which appear to be oversubscribed.  Globally, there is competition, and we must see it for what it is and make it a priority to stay viable and competitive, instead of complaining about larger firms.

BREA is and should not be an “old boys’ club”, but it should be open to everyone that is a qualified Bahamian or permanent resident allowed to be gainfully employed. I always say oil comes to the top, so join the industry and build your career.

It should be noted that to become a licensed real estate agent one has to be sponsored by a broker and work for a period of three months, either before successfully passing the exam or three months afterwards, and you of course either have to be a Bahamian citizen or a permanent resident with the right to work.

The real estate entrance course usually held at least twice a year along with the membership dues are probably the largest income producer for BREA.

It’s a challenging profession starting out, as it takes time to build your client base and pay days can be a long time coming.

So, if you have commitments like rent, mortgages, school fees, utilities and other living expenses you better be prepared to dish out your savings to keep you afloat until that sale closes, which I might remind you very seldom close for a few months, and can be challenging on your pocketbook.

When you decide to use the service of a real estate professional it might be a good idea to use one that has furthered their education by immersing themselves in different real estate courses, which can ultimately help you in making the right decision.

Remember: you get what you pay for!

• William Wong is president of Wong and Associates Realty. He was also a two-term president of The Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and The Bahamas Real Estate Association. Questions or comments can be emailed to William@wongsrealty.com


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