This new legislation may just work

So we now (from 1 December 2014) finally have a new legislative regime to cover the real estate and property management industries!

It amuses me to think that after all these years of going down the legislative and “red tape” slippery-slope, we may finally have reached the bottom and are now on the upswing to greener pastures!

I am one of those very few real estate practitioners who have been around in this industry for 35 years or more. When I joined Ray White Aspley in 1980 as a very “wet behind the ears” recruit, I had to learn fast. This was in spite of my having managed large sales companies in the past. Fortunately, there was not a lot of so called “consumer protection red tape” to learn! Back then, “consumer protection” relied on the ethics of the people who were in the real estate industry and, in the main, they were a fairly reputable bunch.

The contract for the sale for house or land consisted of four pages. There were no ubiquitous “warning statements” like Form 30 or Form 27c that nobody would have read anyway (just like they don’t read them today), and we could often conclude the signing of a contract on the bonnet of a car at 5.00pm on Saturday afternoon!

Then, somehow, something went wrong!

I won’t lay the blame necessarily on Labor governments, but I must confess that in my long life in business it has been mainly Labor governments that have strangled small business with red tape! Suddenly, everything to do with selling real estate became more complicated! There were warning statements upon warning statements! Form number this and form number that! There were amazing rules about what piece of paper had to be presented to the buyer before another piece of paper could be signed! There were equally confusing nonsense about which piece of paper must be signed before another piece of paper! If that piece of paper was not signed before the other piece of paper, someone could escape the contract they had signed in good faith.

Who, on Earth, dreamt this stuff up?

Of course, as always, the smarties and the white shoe brigade were much too quick for the law makers.

Instead of giving protection to the consumer, these silly laws gave succor to wealthy developers and various members of the white shoe brigade who used them to wiggle out of what should have been legally binding contracts of sale.

Finally, with the introduction of the Property Occupations Act, we seem to have a legal structure that might simplify our industry but still give adequate protections to both buyers and sellers. I hope so, because as I approach my 69th year, I am fed up with politicians who think they can save stupid people from their own stupidity!

As a student of the Christian Brothers in 1960, I was forced to study Latin. I guess they had designs on me becoming a Catholic priest! In that they failed, but my Latin studies from all those years ago enable me to translate Caveat Emptor!

Buyer beware!

Don’t blame others for your own stupidity! Investigate what it is you wish to do; seek excellent professional advice; and then proceed!

Of course, if we are talking about the management rights industry, it is so important to get your professional advice from advisers who are specialist industry experts. We are seeing some horror stories at the moment where buyers have used non-industry players to do such things as financial due diligence with sad outcomes! If buyers are silly enough to use non-specialist advisers for what might be the biggest purchase of their lives, no act of parliament will get them out of the hole they have dug for themselves when it all goes wrong!

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