All Area members are required to take the Roytec “Principles of Real Estate” course within one year of joining. This is a Salespersons course covering all aspects of the real estate industry. The Brokers’ course was introduced in January 2013. These courses were developed by AREA in collaboration with Roytec and promote excellence in the industry through learning. With this training, agents are better equipped to handle transactions in a professional manner.
Agents are encouraged to list properties on an exclusive basis and listing contracts are available to all members. These contracts were prepared with the help of AREA’s Attorneys and safeguard the relationship between Agent and Seller.
Membership means access to a network of Agents with whom listings can be shared. Every exclusive listing is sent to AREA’s Secretariat and is circulated to Agents on a bi-weekly basis through a Multiple Listing Service. This gives members the opportunity to offer their customers a choice of listings and it gives the customer a wider choice of properties without having to call several Agents. For new Agents with a small database of listings, this is an opportunity to offer their customers more than just their personal listings.
Members are required to report all transactions, whether exclusive or lead. This information is used in the preparation of statistical data which is made available to Agents. This can provide invaluable help in marketing and in pricing new listings.
AREA has developed a handbook of Standards of Practice, which outlines the Real Estate Agent’s duties to clients, customers, the public and to other Agents. Members also have access to the Board of Directos and the Secretariat Staff for the advice on any professional problem.
Members are encouraged to always receive and put offers in writing so that there is less chance of a mistake in the price or terms being offered, to ensure professional handling of transactions.
AREA’s Board along with its Attorneys, have developed a Sale / Purchase Agreement and a Rental Agreement which have now become standard throughout the industry.
AREA’s Code of Ethics is strongly upheld and the public has recourse to AREA on any problem they encounter with a member. A formal written complaint can be made to the Board of Directors, and if necessary it is referred to the Disciplinary & Ethics Committee for further investigation.
There are five standing Committees with the Association: Membership Rules & Admissions, Education and Training, Taxation and Legislation, Public Relations and Disciplinary and Ethics. These Committees meet on a regular basis seeking to improve the professionalism and efficiency of AREA’s members, to inform the public in Real Estate matters and arbitrate where necessary between the public and Member Agents.
AREA is recognized by bodies such as the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce, financial institutions, Attorneys-at-Law and Professional Associations throughout Trinidad and Tobago who very often refer clients to AREA’s members first. Most Attorneys now recognize and accept AREA’s contracts.
The Ministry of National Security Strategic Service Agency and the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) recognize AREA as the governing body for the real estate industry and have included AREA’s Board in several workshops.
AREA has made significant headway in drafting Legislation to regulate the Real Estate industry. This will greatly enhance the public’s perception of the profession, as certain minimum requirements will have to be met before an Agent can practice Real Estate. It is hoped that with the efforts being made by Government to control money-laundering and promote transparency in business, that this draft bill will be looked at favorably and in a timely manner.
Members have the opportunity of belonging to the Corporate Plan at TSTT which gives significantly lower cellular rates and special offers not afforded to the general public.