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Realtors Bid To 'Tighten Up' Key Industry Laws

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

THE Bahamas Real Estate Association (BREA) is pushing to "tighten up" the Real Estate Act, its president acknowledging that one of the proposed changes would address the "illegal" practice of non-Bahamians selling local real estate.

Christine Wallace-Whitfield told Tribune Business: "We want to get our Real Estate Act done and before Parliament in 2018. It's time to cross all the 't's' and dot all of the 'i's'. We have been in conversations with the Attorney General on that. There are things in there we are really trying to tighten up. The Act hasn't been touched in 17 years."

The Real Estate (Brokers and Salesmen) Act 1995 was last amended in 2000, and ensuring ethical standards within the profession and tackling the sale of real estate by non-Bahamians re among the issues BREA is seeking to have addressed.

"We have to make sure persons looking to practice real estate do not act in an unethical manner," said Mrs Wallace-Whitfield. "We also have to protect Bahamians in the industry. There are persons sending us e-mails saying that they see someone in the country practicing real estate illegally.

"Real estate is reserved for Bahamians with the right to work. It just really irks me when I hear someone is here selling real estate, bringing their people here and not going through a licensed real estate firm in the country."

BREA currently has 724 members, and Mrs Wallace-Whitfield added: "We are trying to work with the Florida Chapter. We Just started conversations with them to tighten that up. If one of their agents come down without contacting a Bahamian-licensed realtor, we can report them to Florida.

"There are a lot of people slipping through the cracks. The Attorney General has our back, and has encouraged us to report such matters to the Immigration Department. It's a very frustrating issue."

Comments

Socrates 2 years, 5 months ago

what they need to do is 'tighten up' and fix this rubbish system that allows the parasite lawyers and real estate agents to collect fees by percentage instead of fixed rates.. there is no difference in selling a house for $500k versus one for $700k so why should they collect more using the percentage system? imagine how much more activity would take place in a,fixed fee system.. its all BS and discourages a system of buyers and sellers.. nobody is motivated to buy, fix and resell all the rundown, shabby buildings because you can't make anything on a resale...

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DWW 2 years, 4 months ago

I am in the real estate business, and trust me i work hard for that percentage. it is a 7 day a week job, nights and weekends. Last night i had calls from clients at 9pm while i was putting my child to bed, and then the phone rang again at 8am this morning. last saturday, this sunday i'll be working. tomorrow public holiday, i'll be working again.

I have helped a little and given advice to people who chose not to have an agent involved and subsequently ended up in a pickle with their transaction. A lawyers fee is minimal considering the amount of work they have to do in this country.

The legal framework here and the system of land tenure is what needs an overhaul. If the way land title is handled and simplified, then you wouldn't need to pay a lawyer a chunk of money to make sure your not getting screwed with illegitimate title. Take a walk in the shoes of a realtor or lawyer and see for yourself. Yes there are good ones and bad ones...

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