An estate surveyor, Mr Hyacinth Oseji, has called for more professionalism in real estate practice in Nigeria to uphold integrity of the profession.
Oseji, a managing partner of Osas and Oseji Estate Surveyors and Valuers, made the call during a seminar organised by the Faculty of Estate Agency and Marketing of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Agents and Valuers (NIESV) in Lagos.
According to him, estate agents can improve their knowledge and skills on the profession through trainings and programmes aimed at upgrading skills of operation.
He added that application of professional standards would make estate agents more relevant to the society.
Oseji urged estate agency practitioners to strive to uphold the integrity of the profession by exhibiting professionalism, trust, honesty and commitment in their transactions with the public.
He added that networking and knowledge were key in business of estate agency practice, stressing that the real estate market operates in circles which follow economic trend.
“Though, all over the world, there exists the perception that estate agents are fraudulent people who collect house rents from clients and disappeared without securing the proposed accommodation.
“But we can change the perception through the way we present ourselves to the public in the course of running the business.
“There is need for creation of good relationship interface between the estate agents and the clients. Let’s strive to restore confidence to the profession.
“Some of us think that the moment an estate agent collects fee from the client, that comes the end of the transaction. But this is not true, it is the beginning of the transaction because you need to followup on the client to ensure that he/she secures the property and became satisfied with your services,” Oseji said.
Earlier, Mr Samson Eboigbe, Chairman of the Faculty, enjoined real estate agency practitioners to kick against domination of the profession by quacks and miscreants in the society.
Eboigbe said the estate agency practice in Lagos State had been dominated by quacks who had rendered the profession as a dubious and unreliable business.
According to him, it behoves on operators in the profession to display professionalism in their service delivery and flush out quacks who are damaging the image of the profession.
He stressed the need for the operators to deliberate and come up with suggestions on how to restructure estate agency practice to meet international standard and increase its contributions to economic development of the nation.
“We must not allow quacks to takeover estate agency profession. Be honest in your dealings with the consuming public and ensure that you are dully registered and certified before practicing,” Eboigbe said.
According to him, lack of regulation which allowed ease of entry and exit in the profession is one of the major challenges hindering effective operation of estate agency in the country.
He said that estate agency practice was regarded as “all comers affairs”, adding that this could be corrected through effective regulation and monitoring.
Eboigbe called for a law regulating the operation such that anyone practicing estate agency would be forced to register with the regulating body in order to erase negative perceptions and restore public confidence in the profession.
“The biggest challenge before real estate agency practitioners is the negative public perception.
“The police have reported that out of every 10 cases of fraudulent transactions, five are estate agency related.
“The state government must have the courage and political will to ensure that real estate agency practice is properly regulated,” Eboigbe said.
By Lilian Okoro