According to Alan Grima, Dhalia Real Estate Services’ CEO and a bona fide leader in Malta’s real estate sector, the upcoming regulation of the country’s real estate agents will not be enough to change the industry on its own, and must be supported by “consistent and timely” enforcement by the licensing board.
According to the Real Estate Agents, Property Brokers and Property Consultants Act of Malta, which came into force on 7th July 2020, no person shall carry out the activity of a property broker or real estate agent, or be engaged as a branch manager or property consultant after 31st December 2021, unless they hold a licence to do so.
Sitting down with BusinessNow.mt to discuss the regulation, Mr Grima presents a hopeful outlook on the regularising of the industry, as well as the progress his company has made towards filling the new requirements already.
Asked how he would characterise the quality of Malta’s real estate professionals currently, Mr Grima posits that as an industry, real estate has come “a long way over the last decade or so.”
However, discussing whether real estate agents were in need of regulation, Mr Grima responds resoundingly, saying, “yes absolutely,” while pointing out that the management team and all property consultants at the real estate agency he helms have already completed the necessary training and submitted their applications to the licensing board.
He emphasises that as a company, Dhalia has long been committed to ensuring its property consultants offer services according to its ethical standards, resulting in added value to all customers. It also has an internal code of ethics which has been in place since it was founded, before being fine-tuned over the years.
Dhalia has been pushing for regulation for over a decade, he says, as agents have “an integral role in the largest investment most people will make.” The new ordinance, he adds, ensures that this major investment is made based on professional and accurate advice.
The company believes that the new legislation will result in more professional services being offered by real estate agents, but Mr Grima reiterates that this needs to be backed up with the right enforcement structure, and that “this will benefit the whole industry.”
Dhalia is something of a trailblazer in terms of agent training, offering a dedicated programme, which Mr Grima explains it introduced to ensure that its management team and property consultants had knowledge to not only fulfil, but exceed, licensing requirements.
“This is in line with our continuous drive to offer a unique experience to all our clients based on established international standards,” he asserts.
The company’s training pedigree is perhaps best emphasised by the fact it was the first real estate agency in the country to be licensed by the Malta Further and Higher Education Authority (MFHEA), with the process to receive this licence being “extremely rigorous” and taking over 18 months of work.
However, Mr Grima states that Dhalia has always recognised the importance of training, particularly in the real estate industry, meaning the decision to have its own, internal, training programme was a strategic one.
The training programme not only meets the licence requirements, but also covers additional areas which are necessary to becoming a licensed property consultant.
This is also backed-up by on-the-job mentoring by the company’s management team which bring decades of experience in the property industry.
Moreover, Mr Grima states that Dhalia is sponsoring the full costs for its training programme for anyone who would like to become a real estate agent or property consultant.
“I feel that we are not only the first, but the only real estate agency that can offer the smoothest induction for anyone interested in working in our industry,” the CEO concludes.
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