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Expert Eye: Realtors – is it about quantity or quality?

Expert Eye: Realtors – is it about quantity or quality?Mohanad Alwadiya

If we look at the job opportunities posted in the classifieds or through online job portals, we again see a large number of realty firms on the lookout for real estate agents. This is good news for all jobseekers. However, this begs the question: how stringent are the requirements for people to get a job in real estate when there is a general notion that anyone can be a realtor?

A recent Workforce Planning Study which was commissioned by Dubai International Academic City and conducted by Deloitte has estimated that the Dubai construction and real estate sectors are facing a combined manpower shortfall of up to 500,000 people by the end of this year.

This is a frightening figure and, when considering the increasing number of new real estate developments which are being launched on the back of a resurgent property market, the availability of human resources, going forward, will be an even more critical factor in determining individual stakeholder and overall industry performance.

- Skill inefficiencies exist in the real estate industry

The same report also identified several areas of skill deficiency which really grabbed my attention.

These areas included project financing, property pricing and appraisal, real estate evaluation, property market analysis and brokerage which led me to question as to whether we need more professionals in the real estate business, or just bettertrained, more experienced individuals with higher levels of motivation and professionalism. I suspect it might be the latter.

The skills mentioned above are hardly rocket science to an experienced and professional real estate practitioner.

Unfortunately, there is still a significant proportion of real estate practitioners in Dubai who do not possess these skills or knowledge set.

- We need professionals, not opportunists

Typically, people belonging to the categories of those who are deficient in key areas needed are not professionals in the true sense of the word. They are opportunists who are attracted only by the quick buck they expect to make in a resurgent market like Dubai property. These individuals do not only negatively affect the transactions they make and the individuals involved. They do the industry significant harm in terms of reputation, trust and confidence.

- We need to raise the level of professionalism now

The levels of professionalism, quality and customer service in the industry still require a lot of attention. While good progress has been made by the Dubai Real Estate Institute (DREI) towards elevating the standards that apply to Dubai real estate practitioners, too many poor performers remain, effectively hindering the development of the industry into the vibrant, efficient and transparent marketplace that we all desire and ought to achieve.

- All industry stakeholders should be involved

Obviously, progress will require a continuance of the good work already started at the DREI and Real Estate Regulatory Agency (RERA), but improvements cannot be achieved by these industry bodies alone.

All other industry participants/stakeholders need to embrace the idea that an industry which is composed of a body of professionals who are knowledgeable, conversant, proficient, ethical and highly motivated will play a significant role in providing sustainable and profitable growth for all industry stakeholders over the long term, and the national economy as well.

Put simply, the more efficiently and effectively an industry operates, the greater the rewards for all will be. In my way of thinking, this requires better people, not necessarily more people. As industry leaders, it's entirely up to us to start making this happen.

Source: Mohanad Alwadiya, Special to Freehold

Mohanad Alwadiya is Managing Director of Harbor Real Estate