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Real estate firm welcomes industry 'clean up'

December 15, 2006

Real estate firm welcomes industry 'clean up'

Fixed-fee real estate company The Joneses has welcomed government moves to raise industry standards.

Partner Chris Taylor said any moves to achieve greater independence for complaints procedures, and tougher penalties for poor conduct were welcome.

"It's great that the government are moving on this issue, and we believe that industry reform by including consumers in the standard setting and disciplinary process is a minimum requirement."

Mr Taylor said that the dominance of the commission system for selling houses lay at the heart of the industry's ethical problems.

"It's time the industry put customers first rather than the interests of agents," he said. "We would characterise the industry as mainly good people but in a bad system."

The Joneses (MREINZ), which launched in Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington in September this year pays its agents a salary and sells houses for a fixed fee of $7995 including GST regardless of the value of the house.

"The same amount of work goes into selling a cottage as a castle," said Mr Taylor. "Our approach is based on providing an effective, professional service for a transparent flat fee upon successful sale of a house. Consumers know exactly what they are getting."

Mr Taylor said he believed that the Real Estate Act needed reforming.

"It's an outmoded piece of legislation centred on the interests of agents and their remuneration rather than customers and those selling homes," he said.

Whilst customers, not the government, will decide for themselves on the most appropriate method of payment for selling real estate, the government was to be commended for taking action to uphold the rights of consumers to openness and transparency in the industry.

Mr Taylor said that The Joneses would continue to transform the industry as an advocate for customers regardless of the outcome of any regulatory review.


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