Industry prepares for professionalization

By Roger Garcia (The Philippine Star) Updated March 26, 2010 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The local real estate industry may soon finally have a Professional Regulatory Board of Real Estate Service (PRBRES) under the supervision and administrative control of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).

Barring any unforeseen circumstance, its charter members of the board and the chairman will be inducted today, March 26, 2010.

The real estate industry, particularly the working sales people such as brokers, sales personnel who are all in the forefront of the lifeblood of property development and real estate sales transactions are all waiting in earnest as to how the newly established body will act on the current problems concerning the licensure procedure of those individuals and companies involved in the selling of real properties in the country.

On June 29 of last year, Republic Act 9646, or now more commonly referred to as the Real Estate Service Act (RESA) was signed into law.

This new ruling basically requires all real-estate service practitioners to be licensed and registered with the Professional Regulatory Board of Real Estate Service,which is under the supervision and administrative control of the Professional Regulation Commission.

Conversely, the new law intends to protect the buyers, even before they get involved in a real-estate transaction, by assuring them that they are only dealing with competent, professional, duly licensed and registered practitioners whose standards of practice and service shall be globally competitive and who are subject to stiff penalties for certain violations and malpractice.

Prior to the effectivity of this law, these licenses were secured only from the office of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Except for the real-estate salesperson, all levels, meaning the broker, appraiser, consultant and assessor are required to undergo examinations to be given by the board as a prerequisite to licensure and registration.

However, a real-estate salesperson is still required to secure a license and can only work under a licensed broker who will have to be a signatory in all the transactions of the salesperson.

For almost three years now, a good number of real estate practitioners have failed to renew their real estate broker’s license for the simple reason that the Implementing Rules and Regulation of the new law has not been prepared yet.

The issue has caused a lot of confusion among real estate practitioners all over the country.

In an exclusive interview with the Star, Alejandro Manalac, a three-term National President of National Real Estate Association (NREA), a leading real estate organization in the country and currently the vice president for sales of businessman Lucio Tan’s ETON Properties, gave some insights into this issue:

PS: In your opinion what do you propose that the newly formed board should do to address this issue?

Alejandro S. Manalac: Once this board gets to work, the first thing on their work pads will be the drafting of the Implementing rules and regulations (IRR) which should give clarity to all the vague provisions of this law that caused a lot of worries to a lot of practitioners (whether licensed, candidates for licensing or “colorum” agents as referred to by the brokers). Right now, these practitioners, especially those who are not updated with the current status of RESA, are in limbo as to when, where and how they can renew their expired licenses.

PS: Can you explain exactly the real intention of this law?

ASM: As a whole, the intention of this law is very well appreciated by the industry. It is just that it came like a thief in the night which caught everyone by surprise except for some quarters which really pushed for this for their own benefit. The basic idea as stated in the Declaration of Policy in Article I, section 2. ....”Hence, it shall develop and nurture through proper and effective regulation and supervision a corps of technically competent, responsible and respected professional real estate service practitioners whose standards of practice and service shall be globally competitive and will promote the growth of the industry”, is to professionalize the industry of real estate.

PS: What particular provision of this new law that caused a stir? And why?

ASM: “The only 2 provisions which really caused quite a stir in the circles of developers are sections 31 and 32 of Article IV which covers the Practice of Real Estate Service. Section 31 is about the Supervision of Real Estate Salespersons. Section 32 is what really alarmed the developers and most of all, their in-house sales people.

This section which is about the Corporate Practice of the Real Estate Service which has been perceived to be still very vague and thus subject to interpretations will definitely be first on the agenda of this august board. This is the provision which will have the biggest effect on the operations of corporations involved in marketing and selling of Real estate development projects.

Many ‘old timers’ who have climbed up the corporate ladder in their respective sales organizations who now heads big sales teams but do not have a Real Estate Broker’s License may even be displaced . What makes it worse is if they do not have College degrees and thus could not even be qualified to take the exams.

PS: Were you not consulted by members of Congress at a time that the law is being deliberated upon in the House and Senate?

ASM: Yes and No. Why because we submitted all our position papers while this law is being hatched in Congress but the passage of this law became so swift that we were not given some more chance to press our major concerns.

Industry workers were practically caught by surprise when this act was signed into law. The surprise turned into fear when they learned about the limiting provisions of this law. This fear turned into anger when they realized that they were practically “cornered” by this law, seemingly helpless at present since there were no provisions for a smooth transition.

These people I am referring to are the in-house sales people of most of the bigger developers. They have the impression that they are being forced into a situation where they have no choice but to turn to the few licensed brokers who were fortunate enough to renew their licenses just before the deadline last June.

PS: What’s the general feeling of property developers with regards to the fast-tracking of the RESA law?

ASM: Most developers feel that this law, with all its good intentions, only favors the existing active licensed real-estate brokers now but have neglected the existence and importance of the in-house sales organizations who are actually the ones who have played a major role in bringing Philippine real estate to where it is right now.

PS: Will the industry players be given the chance to assist in the formulation of the IRR?

If so how?

ASM: We are all hoping that we’d be given the chance this time. The real estate industry as a whole is confident that we’d all be given the chance to come up with a win-win scenario especially for the sales personnel and brokers concerned.

For the past several months, I have been involved in a series of discussions with different real estate organizations and developer associations who have come up with a lot of bright ideas on how to go about the transition as smooth as possible to ease the ‘birth pains’ of professionalizing the practice of real estate selling. These ideas will definitely be valuable inputs that will help in the faster and more objective drafting of the IRR so that everybody can already move on.


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