Freeman Cebu Business

Save the real estate practice, save the real estate industry

TRADE FORUM - Chris Malazarte - The Freeman

I would say it was a fruitful meeting between the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) Region 7 and the real estate brokers and salespersons who were in the forum yesterday at the Sacred Heart Center.

I would like to commend Mr. Anthony Leuterio for taking the cudgels to clarify some of the issues not known to many real estate developers but also to those doing real estate service. More than just the insights and the healthy interaction, it was also a point of reflection for both sides that they need to cooperate to keep the industry alive.

What is clear in the forum is that the industry as a whole is just excessively regulated. Of course, much as we want to protect the interest of the investing public, but if those who invest and participate in the selling of real estate products are buried with a rubble of unnecessary requirements, then they are also killing the enterprise itself.

A cursory look at the kind of regulation on the side of real estate service alone, HLURB now wants to take part of it. Real estate service is already being regulated by the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) which by the way, is actually the wrong agency to regulate a profession that is an utter disconnect to the typical or traditional profession we know like engineering, accounting, nursing, medicine and so on.

Real estate service is a profession on its own, because it belongs to the marketing or selling industry which should have been assimilated to the sale of insurance, shares, and the like. But it is water under the bridge now. The Real Estate Service Act (Resa) is already in force which relegates the PRC to do its perfunctory duties to give licenses as it would to other professions. But it defies every good sense why such profession must be under the care of PRC when the PRC itself does not even want to do with it at all.

Look, if you want to become a real estate salesperson, you have to go through quite a lot. Pass all your school records, birth certificate, and all, plus attend and pay a meaningless CPD (Continuing Professional Development) seminar from an insipid guy who barely understands the industry itself. Once you complete all the requirements, you wait. You wait not one, not two, but three years for your PRC accreditation resolution to come out!!! PRC alone as an agency is unwittingly killing those who want to sell real estate legitimately.

The Resa law is just one part of the industry that is anti-livelihood and anti-progress in which, sellers and developers must advocate for its repeal. It's a long shot but worth pursuing.

But the ordeal of real estate practitioners does not end there. You have to go through another new layer of requirements to comply with and pay for with HLURB. And HLURB is completely unaware of the consequence this new regulation they are going to implement. The new layer actually does not only deprive legitimate agents to sell real estate, it dampens new investments in real estate development thereby slowing down employment in the construction industry.  

There is something really wrong with the way government designs and exercises its regulatory powers. The notion has always been protecting the public with the presumption that those who are out there to offer products to them are evil. What about those well-meaning people who really want to do honest service? Why can’t we protect their interest also?

Therefore, if we are to save the industry, we must also protect the whole of it. If something has to be enforced or a new regulation to be made, maybe they should consult those who are likely to be affected by it. Remember, a regulatory agency does not know everything what is going on and what is there to know. It cannot isolate itself to act merely as an observer and an overbearing disciplinarian that follows procedure to the letter that it deadens initiative and private enterprise.


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