My name is Ana Mação, and I have been a real estate consultant for 4 years, having started my career in this activity coincided with the entry into Portugal of Keller Williams, the largest brand of real estate franchising worldwide, in number of professionals (over 190,000 in more than 44 regions or countries).
My experience in this area has allowed me, however, to see that the activity of real estate brokerage suffers from a serious gap that has affected both professionals and clients, who need to use a mediator to buy or sell their property.
Although the activity of real estate mediation companies has been a regulated activity since 1992 and at present it requires the granting of a prior license by IMPIC (Institute of Public Markets, Real Estate and Construction), the same is not true of professionals that carry out this activity, whether they are Real Estate consultants or even responsible for Real Estate Agencies.
In my view, successive governments have failed in this regard, ignoring the weight and importance of this activity in the Portuguese economy as well as the need to regulate a sector whose responsibility is huge . It is not just about the financial amounts involved in real estate transactions - whose safeguard in tax terms is already guaranteed by strong legislation that prevents money laundering, for example - but above all it is important to safeguard the interest of property owners and buyers, given the lack of rigor and ethics that often abound in this activity. What's missing then?
- The need for a deontological code of ethics that regulates the rights and duties of the real estate professional. There are actually two associations of professionals in the sector: ASMIP and APEMIP, which even have project proposals for the effective implementation of a code of ethics, but which do not have the weight of the law.
- It is notorious the lack of a mandatory professional license , which enables the exercise and access to the profession of consultant / real estate agent, subject to the respect of the conditions imposed by the regulatory entity, making perfect sense that this will be the IMPIC. As is normal in other professions already regulated, the attribution of this license must be conditioned to a previous training process, with the training entities having a DGERT approval as well as an authorization from the body responsible for issuing the professional's license.
Why is it so important to regulate and license access to this profession?
It does not make sense to demand that the real estate mediation companies have conditions for the exercise of the increasingly demanding activity and leave the professionals who stand out for these companies "on the loose". Dishonesty, blatant lies, abusive use of commercial strategies harmful to the interest of clients , are day-to-day in a profession whose numbers point to more than 50,000 professionals, many of whom have just entered the profession without any training or prior preparation. .
On the other hand, the excellent moment that is experienced in real estate in Portugal, attracted professionals from all areas who want to earn some more change to complement their career and that often has nothing to do with the real estate industry. Anyone who considers himself valid to refer a well-known client knocks on the door of the real estate agents and their professionals to mediate the business, when their qualification for the purpose advises against it.
Training and specialization, which are fundamental for the practice of real estate brokerage, cannot be combined with a punctual and "self-serving" dedication.
On the other hand, it is in the interest of the State, translating, from the taxpayers, that the sale of the properties must be done through a professional / licensed company. In 2018, 178,691 properties were sold and transactions totaled 24.1 billion euros . 2019 numbers are expected to surpass this record! It is therefore incomprehensible that, given the weight that this economic activity has for the country, risks are taken, namely at the fiscal level.
The current scenario in which homeowners can freely negotiate and sell their properties on the market, increases the risk of an increase in the informal economy, which has been greater in the past, but which, thanks to the emergence of companies that bet on rigor and professionalism, has been reduced. in a lot.
In many countries, such as France, Turkey, Italy or the United States , legislation exists that defends the interests of the state, real estate professionals and property buyers and sellers.
The question is: when will it be the same in Portugal?