New rules lift lid on real estate agent benefits

CATHERINE HARRIS
Last updated 05:00 14/12/2012

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Professional conduct rules for real estate agents have been tightened to ensure consumers get adequate legal advice and understand what benefits their agent might receive.

Industry regulator the Real Estate Agents Authority said the changes were needed to protect consumers and to raise the bar for the country's 12,500 agents.

Changes include:

Having to explain to clients when an agency agreement ends.

Recommending to all parties they get legal advice before signing agency or sale and purchase agreements.

Explaining to would-be clients how agents benefit from the different ways of selling a property.

A new rule has also been introduced to ensure sellers do not pay two commissions. It requires agencies whose contract is cancelled to provide clients with the names of customers for whom it would claim commission, should they return to the sale process.

Authority chief executive Kevin Lampen-Smith said the new code of conduct was "positive for both the industry and consumers".

The changes come into effect on April 8 next year.

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