Jan 02, 2014

IT IS FAR TOO EASY to become a licensed real estate agent in Barbados, which is why Barbados Estate Agents and Valuers Association (BEVA) is seeking to become the legally recognized body for the profession.

President of the association Suzanne Davis told the Barbados Business Authority during a recent panel discussion at the Barbados Yacht Club, Bay Street, St. Michael that it was time for the proper legislation to be enacted. “The way it is right now, because it is not legislated in Barbados, anyobody can go and pay their fees to the Government and they will get their license to sell real estate.” “However that doesn’t mean the person has any idea of what he/she is doing – and this is why we are trying so hard to become legislated and become the governing body for real estate in Barbados.

Davis said being recognized in such a way was important because BEVA would be able to say who could operate as a real estate agent in Barbados and therefore ensure professional quality and criteria. “We would put on the courses they would need to do so; it would not be a case of [their] finding it difficult or having to go to university or anything to become an agent” she said.

Board member David Coombes of Caribbean Island Properties said real estate should be like many other profession that required professional training before allowing people to practice. “Can you imagine if you could practice as a doctor where you just go and pay for a license and people go to you and get treatment – with no qualifications and don’t know what he’s doing? You can’t do that, nor an accountant or a lawyer.”

Set a standard

“You’ve got to have professional qualifications and that is what we are trying to achieve to set a standard so that you know what you are talking about when you become a real estate agent,” he said.

Davis said they were working with an attorney to address the matter and had verbal support from Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy, so she remained hopeful.

“Since we have implemented the multiple listing service (MLS) we have had more than 14 new members join over the last few months and, as we are the only professional real estate body in Barbados, we will have the largest number of real estate agents represented in one organization – which will get us noticed by Government,” she said, adding that the MLS allowed them to implement stronger guidelines which she said was something Government was looking for. Davis explained the MLS allowed any sanctioned BEVA agent to sell any property listed under the system regardless of which agent placed them in the system. The discussion was geared to first- time homeowners, to enlighten them on some of the legal and practical points they should know. Speakers represented the Royal Bank, Insurance Corporation of Barbados Limited, Preconco and BEVA. (CA)

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