Vendor advocates are the third party that sits between the real estate agent and property seller. They translate real estate ‘jargon’ to property owners and make sure the real estate agent does a thorough and ethical job. To be able to critique an agent, it’s fair to expect a vendor advocate to be more experienced than the selling agent for the purpose of adding value to the selling process. So that brings us to question of what qualifications does a vendor advocate need?
Experience and Education
- A completed Agent’s Representative course. This is usually a TAFE qualification completed over 5 days.
- A minimum of 12 months experience working in the real estate industry selling property.
- Certificate IV in Property Services. This is for senior employees and principle agents, (full real estate license). For an advocate to critic an agent’s work this level of experience would be expected from a vendor advocate.
- The agency needs to be licensed for the company they are operating under.
Any member of the public can check if an agent has the correct experience on a public register as it is maintained by Consumer Affairs Victoria. The register provides simple details of the license number and the history of employment. From this, a vendor will be able to work out which real estate markets the agent has ‘gained his stripes’ in.
Check list of ‘must have skills’ for a vendor advocate.
- Property ownership
Property ownership requires the effort of committing to a mortgage, regular maintenance and making capital improvements that add to the cost of ownership. There is also an emotional attachment that comes with living in a property though life experience. Real estate agents usually ignore this aspect of their clients and view the process as just a business transaction. A good vendor advocate understands how both parties see the transaction because they have lived both sides of it. Hence, provide the correct balance to get an favorable result.
- Online reviews
Good reviews speak for themselves. They tell of the delivery of great service, which displays evidence of customer satisfaction.
- Check if your advocate is a member of a real estate association.
Organizations like the Real Estate Institute of Victoria sets a code of conduct or best rules of practice. This is achieved through regular training and keeps it’s members up-to-date with current real estate legislation. These type of organizations usually have a discipline structure in place, should un-ethical practices be discovered.
- Understand the local real estate market of Melbourne.
This is done by living and working around Melbourne. For instance, a single suburb can vary in price dramatically simply because there is commission housing scatted around one part of the suburb. Generally, only locals have access to this kind of information. Many interstate companies generate leads via digital advertising and try and conduct the work from another state simply because Melbourne has a fantastic real estate market that they are trying to profit from.
- A current license
Prior to signing any contract, it’s important to confirm the vendor advocate has the correct authorization from consumer affairs and a business licensing authority to act as an agent in the real estate industry.
The level of skill of any vendor advocate is determined by time spent in the selling industry. For instance, to become an excellent AFL football coach it would be essential for them to have played football at an AFL level. In the same way, vendor advocates must have the experience of a real estate coach to be able to identify when something wrong has happened and have the ability to correct the wrong. The real estate industry is very complex with continuously changing markets that require agents to undergo the proper avenues of education. The experience gained by a vendor advocate is enriched by having worked in both a buyer’s and seller’s market. The property market can be very volatile at times and if a vendor has gained experience in good and bad times then this creates a wealth of wisdom and experience that is simply priceless.
In Victoria, it is against the law to practice real estate without a license – this includes agents who buy, sell, rent or property manage a home. When selling or buying your property it’s essential to qualify whom you’re dealing with by their experience and qualification. This will ensure the correct outcome for all parties involved.