Out with the old

Barbados’ real estate sector “needs to abandon its old ways of doing business”. That advice to the industry is coming from one of its own,

Terra Caribbean Managing Director, Andrew Mallalieu, who said today’s clients “want well-informed, educated, credible and responsive advisors in each service line that we offer”.

“To be an agent means that you must know the basic law surrounding agency. You must understand that clients will no longer simply walk in the office and buy a property. You must learn how to develop business, find buyers, manage relationships and earn your commission.

You must be well informed and be able to offer information to your clients so they can make decisions,” he said in calling for a change in the business.

“You need the backing of a recognised firm who can offer the support and wisdom that comes with experience. We have seen the Barbados Estate Agents and Valuers Association make strides towards enforcing such standards.

“To be recognised as a valuer is also changing but perhaps not quickly enough. There are ample horror stories around the region of financial services companies carrying real estate on their books at values that bore no relation to market reality.

“Fundamentally, we must abandon the old model that allowed individuals to pay statutory fees and therefore carry a valuer designation. Valuer regulation is essential for the recovery of confidence in many of our markets,” he added. Mallalieu said he also believed little had been done on the property management front and he said this was seemingly due to this area being undervalued in the market.

“The industry must raise the bar and demand qualified property managers who have training and expertise in the work they are commissioned to undertake,” he stated.

SDLqFurther, it is unacceptable that property management companies who hold large sums of their client’s money in trust do not file annual financial statements. As a chartered accountant I understand the concept of a clients trust account…, I live by the philosophy that if today every client of mine asked for every cent that they have on deposit with us they could get it immediately. Unfortunately, I do not think that all companies practicing property management can say the same. Again I think the industry must change.

“It is time that the industry does as well. Clients in Barbados as in other world-class markets must expect accountability, insist on transparency and settle for nothing less than international standards and best practice.” (SC)

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