Are they licenced, trained, qualified and abide by the laws governing licenced agents?
There is a plethora of benefits to choosing a licensed real estate agent to manage your strata scheme, but ultimately, it’s for the best protection of your asset. This option will give you better protection, improved security, and greater accountability from the manager. This is because, while regulation for strata management is lax, your strata manager will be held to the standards of the real estate industry.
The Real Estate and Business Agents Act, and the Real Estate and Business Agents and Sales Representatives Code of Conduct 2016, govern the appropriate conduct for an agent. These dictate that an agent be qualified, registered, licenced and uphold a high standard of behaviour.
Do they have Fidelity Fund Guarantee
This is huge. A Fidelity Fund Guarantee offers peace of mind, but only if you are with a licenced real estate agency. If an agency is fraudulent, this fund enables the owners to receive financial reimbursement. This fund is financed through contributions from agents and sales reps, and interest generated through this account and others.
Plain ol’ Strata Managers do not have the Fidelity Fund Guarantee. A strata management company could have hundreds of thousands of dollars in their trust accounts at any time, with any number of staff authorised to access the funds. This is the money for levies, fees, reserve funds, etc. If a rogue strata manager were to dip into the account, or the company were to fold, the owners in your scheme are vulnerable to a huge loss, with minimal chance of recompense.
Do they have independent Trust Account audits?
Required by law, licenced real estate agents must have their trust accounts audited by an independent and qualified auditor. This cost is worn by the agency, and the results must be reported to the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety. An independent audit ensures transparency and accountability, which is particularly important when dealing in Strata Trust Funds, with significant sums coming in from multiple sources at different times. Not to frighten you, but strata accounts are among the easiest to misappropriate. You need to know your money is in safe hands.
No Lock-in or No Fuss contract?
This is a big win for you. This says that a company is making big promises, and is prepared to deliver…or risk losing your business. If you’re unhappy with the service, you are able to withdraw.
It’s also how we operate at Empire Estate Agents. We will give you premium management, or you’re free to go elsewhere.
Do they have good reviews and reputation?
Reputation is important. Glowing reviews on a company’s website are great…but not if you’re looking for an unbiased evaluation. Find real reviews on their Google business page, or relevant independent industry sites.