Professionalism & the Future of the Real Estate Industry
| March 30, 2011
This is Part 3 of a series on self-regulation by Executive Director Bob Myroniuk
“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” – Albert Einstein
Today, the message I hear is that the future of the real estate industry is tied directly to its ability to present an enduring value proposition to consumers. The most common response to this challenge is the need to improve the level of professionalism within the industry. If so, what does advancing the level of “professionalism” mean for the industry in practical terms and how do we get there?
What may not be well understood is the Real Estate Act of Alberta and the regulatory model it establishes for the industry is based on the self-regulatory model of the traditional professions. In other words, the model RECA works under is designed to advance professionalism and responsible self-regulation. The challenge now is to understand the relationship between these two great ideas and develop a consensus as to what needs to be accomplished, and by whom.
In my view, there are five basic pillars to every profession and I believe these are consistent with the expectations of the public. They are:
- appropriate licensing standards for entry into the profession;
- adherence to standards of practice established by the governing body;
- provision of competent service;
- a culture of ethical conduct; and,
- transparency and accountability.
Collectively, these five pillars constitute what is referred to as “the public interest.” As a result, every profession requires a mechanism to achieve the mandate of serving the public interest.
Self-regulation is a privilege granted to the industry by the citizens and the Government of Alberta, and began in 1995 when it passed the Real Estate Act. This approach to serving the public interest is a remarkable demonstration of support, confidence and trust in the real estate industry.
While RECA is the mechanism for setting industry standards, and strives for transparency and accountability, it is the individual’s responsibility to ensure they have all the necessary knowledge and skills to serve their clients and act ethically at all times.
While RECA can offer updates on issues related to legislative changes, legal issues or compliance issues, it is incumbent upon individuals to ensure they are up to date and competent in their area of practice. Courses and seminars offered through industry associations, boards and education providers will play an important role in advancing the professionalism of the industry.
In addition to knowing the boundaries of one’s expertise, a culture of adherence to standards of conduct set by a governing body, such as RECA, and acting ethically at all times is imperative. Professionalism is as much about an attitude toward clients, your colleagues and the industry as a whole as it is about an individual’s expertise.
If the public believes individuals and firms within the industry collectively are professionals, they will have the confidence and trust in our industry the Government of Alberta showed in 1995. They will find the value proposition that everyone is seeking and success will inevitably follow.
The reality is the future of the industry and the profession is in the hands of each individual and the firms they are associated with, not the hands of a government, regulatory body or industry organization.
What do you think should be done to improve professionalism within the industry?
In my next blog in this series I will discuss the roles of RECA vs. industry associations.