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​​REALB warns unlicensed agents eyeing properties

REALB is concerned of unlicensed individuals acting as real estate agents by advertising property, owned by a third party, for sale or rental.

The concern comes as there has been a noted increase in online and social media presence in addition to print advertising, to expand licensed agent’s customer reach.

“We have noted that such activities are prone to scam and fraudulent acts by taking security deposits or bonds and promising them to arrange for the sale or rental of the property.

“The list of all licensed agents is available on our website: to verify the agency status. In addition, it is advisable to request the Salesperson’s identification (ID) card to authenticate their license status,” registrar Peni Komainavoka said.


Property advertisement

Mr Komainavoka said increased online and social media presence has also allowed both foreign and local investors to gain access to property information.

“Both foreign and local investors were able to initiate contact with the agent for properties, that they were interested in, with virtual meetings organized to discuss the settlement process.

“The increased online presence and virtual activity will now be an accepted part of doing business, which real estate agents are moving into.”

He added that property advertisements have been one of the key areas REALB is discussing with agents and salespersons.

He said after the uplifting of COVID restrictions, real estate agents had started organizing their in-house training for the salespersons.

“REALB continues to be part of these ongoing training sessions for the agents and salesperson for capacity building and knowledge sharing.

“The key areas that we continuously emphasize during these sessions include legislated responsibilities and processes, major complaint issues against agents and salespersons, and property advertisements,” Mr Komainavoka said.


Business environment

According to Mr Komainavoka, the business environment has also shifted due to the impact of the pandemic.

He said the real estate industry has evolved under the new normal as real estate agents have shown resilience in promptly adapting and adopting the new protocols.

“The opportunities created by the pandemic, leveraged by some agents, had caused a shift from the traditional approach to incorporating technologically based business models.”

“Property viewing by clients and organized open homes by real estate agents had to be scaled down to a point whereby it was prohibited. Agents responded after the easing of restrictions with an increased online and social media presence, in addition to print advertising, to expand its customer reach,” Mr Komainavoka said.

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