AMID the booming property sector in the country and the increasing purchasing power of the public, prospective buyers are encouraged to only transact with licensed real estate practitioners.
This as the practice of unlicensed real estate agents are still rampant not only in Cebu, but in the rest of the Philippines where more than half of real estate transactions are said to be controlled by this sector.
“It is still very rampant because of the huge opportunity to make money in this industry,” Samuel Lao, national director and vice president for the Visayas at the Philippine Association of Real Estate Boards (Pareb), said in a press conference for the 7th Real Estate Expo in SM City Cebu on Tuesday.
Bannering the theme “Showcasing the Finest in the Industry,” the event gathers the best real estate developers and brokers under one roof from Sept. 12 to 18.
As buyers flock to the expo to check out great real estate deals, Lao reminded the public to only deal with professionals.
He said many buyers, especially in the countryside, are still unaware of the ramifications of transacting with unlicensed real estate practitioners who are considered “colorum.”
Lao added that Pareb is currently undertaking an aggressive campaign to educate buyers about this issue.
“If they want to buy property, please deal with licensed practitioners. They can check if they are licensed. If not, don’t deal,” he said.
He explained that licensed and unlicensed real estate practitioners are the same, except that the latter kind do not have accountability.
Lao said licensed real estate practitioners would never compromise transactions with their clients as these can easily be traced through their accreditation with the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) or Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).
To check whether a broker is licensed or not, clients can simply ask them for a PRC ID card or HLURB registration.
Under Republic Act 9646 or the Real Estate Service Act of 2009, real estate brokers, appraisers and consultants should be licensed.
Violators of the law, if they are licensed real estate practitioners who are proven to have committed infraction, can be penalized with P100,000 and two years imprisonment. For unlicensed practitioners, these penalties can possibly be doubled.
Lawyer Nelson Chua, vice president for external affairs at Pareb-Cebu South Real Estate Boards (Cesoreb), said they earlier formed an “anti-colorum” task force to go after unlicensed practitioners.
“But Pareb is more on the educational approach. While we go after them and have them penalized, we also encourage them to come to the fold of real estate organizations to be accredited,” he said.
Pareb covers 68 boards all over the country, translating to at least 5,000 members nationwide.
Pareb-Cebu Real Estate Board (Cereb), according to its website, has over 400 members.