Whether you are buying or selling a property, an experienced real estate agent is your ideal partner in overseeing these complex transactions from start to finish. In Queensland, as other states and territories, real estate agents are required to hold a current licence. If you are looking for an agent to help you with property sales, purchases, or management, these are some of the things to consider and to ask prospective agents.
Real estate licenses in Queensland
Those seeking to assist with the selling, buying, and management of properties in Queensland need to have a valid licence issued by the Queensland Government. The applicant needs to be aged 18 or over, and they need to have completed one of the relevant licence programs from a recognised provider such the Real Estate Institute of Queensland (unless they’ve held an equivalent licence in the past two years). The training courses typically cover topics such as managing finances, appraising property, trust account management, legal and ethical principles, and marketing properties.
Other grant criteria relate to character and solvency issues. Licence holders are required to pass a criminal check, and people who have committed serious offences in the past five years are usually not allowed to hold a licence. Similarly, those who are insolvent and under administration are not eligible for licensing.
What are the licensing requirements of real estate agencies?
Corporate agencies in Queensland need to have a corporate real estate agent licence. If there are any directors who carry out real estate agent work or an officer in charge of the business, they need to have an individual licence. However, directors of these agencies who do not perform any real estate work are not required to have licences.
What's a real estate salesperson?
Real estate salespersons are different to real estate agents when it comes to licensing. Real estate salespersons are employees of real estate agents, and holding such a licence allows them to buy, sell, and exchange houses, businesses, and land.
Real estate salespersons can do most of the things that a licensed real estate agent can do except operate trust accounts. A real estate salesperson is not allowed to work on a contract basis or as an independent contractor for real estate agents or agencies; for that, they usually need a standard real estate licence.
What can a licensed real estate agent do?
Real estate licences in Queensland allow holders to do a range of things in relation to the sale, purchase, and management of real estate. Licensed agents are authorised to manage a real estate agency. They can buy, sell, exchange, or rent houses, businesses, land, and transact similarly on interest in these types of properties.
If you work with a licensed real estate agent, they can negotiate on your behalf when it comes to selling, buying, renting, propperng, exchanging houses, businesses, and land. They can help you show properties to prospective buyers, and they can inspect and assess property for sale or rent.
Your real estate agent is also authorised to collect rent on your behalf if you are a landlord. They can assist with processes such as advertising for rent or sale and property inspections. A licensed agent is allowed to manage properties such as apartment complexes, oversee the sale of units without going through a separate agency, and operate trust accounts.
Note that in Queensland, licensed real estate agents are not automatically given the right to auction properties. They will need an auctioneer licence (real property) to be able to oversee property auctions.
What should a licensed real estate agent know?
The property industry is regulated and, from time to time, laws and regulations affecting the sale, purchase, and management of property can change. Real estate agents should be up to date with legal requirements of property transactions, buyers’ and sellers’ rights and obligations, documentation and paperwork for various transactions, and what’s required in listing a property for sale.
Experienced sellers' agents understand how to market properties, property presentation, negotiation, and the buyer qualification and engagement process. A good agent can explain to clients what is involved in the exchange of contracts and settlement processes.
What should I ask prospective real estate agents?
The key question to ask a prospective real estate agent that you are thinking about engaging is whether or not they are licenced to deal with property in your state or territory. Once you have established that they are indeed appropriately licensed, review their background and experience. Things to consider include their experience with similar properties, whether they know your local market, and whether they are good communicators.
You can also ask them about the type of marketing strategy they have in mind (if you are selling property), how many properties they have transacted in the past year, and how many buyers or sellers they’ve represented recently. Ask your prospective agent about their expectations for your property and how much they think your property is worth and why.
Once you are happy with a prospective agent and you are ready to go forward with a formal appointment, you should do so in writing. Make sure your service agreement outlines all the relevant terms and conditions of service, including all fees payable.