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Chief Executive Officer of the Real Estate Board and Strata Corporation, Sandra Garrick.
Photo: Contributed

Story Highlights

  • Acquiring real estate is a major investment that can be catastrophic if the purchaser incurs losses resulting from an incorrectly or inaccurately negotiated transaction.
  • As such, the Real Estate Board (REB) urges real estate buyers to exercise caution when purchasing property.
  • “We’ve realised that the public is not as knowledgeable when it comes to real estate buying, and it is very important that we sensitise persons on this,” Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Real Estate Board and Strata Corporation, Sandra Garrick, tells JIS News.

Acquiring real estate is a major investment that can be catastrophic if the purchaser incurs losses resulting from an incorrectly or inaccurately negotiated transaction.

As such, the Real Estate Board (REB) urges real estate buyers to exercise caution when purchasing property.

“We’ve realised that the public is not as knowledgeable when it comes to real estate buying, and it is very important that we sensitise persons on this,” Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Real Estate Board and Strata Corporation, Sandra Garrick, tells JIS News.

Mrs. Garrick informs that many persons are not doing the necessary checks before they seek to purchase real estate, noting that the REB has received numerous complaints about transactions gone wrong.

“Rather than coming to us from the forefront to find out who is acceptable to deal with, persons are coming to us after the fact. They are not looking to see if the person is a registered developer or dealer, and that’s our only way to protect them,” she shares.

Mrs. Garrick explains that under the law, all real estate agents must be trained and licensed to practise in the field.

The REB is currently the only local entity that offers pre-licensing training in real estate sales.

“There is a misconception that selling real estate does not require training… and that’s not the case. You can be prosecuted if you are untrained and acting as a real estate agent. Currently, all our REB inspectors are District Constables for this very reason, and when they come upon persons practising real estate without a licence they can make an arrest on the spot,” the CEO informs.

Mrs. Garrick points out that previously when the REB notified the police about persons practising illegally, the culprits managed to flee before they arrived.

Consequently, it was decided that all REB Inspectors should be District Constables to rectify this problem, she adds.

“The challenge we have is that members of society don’t want to provide information and copies of their document for court cases… even when they lose their money,” she reports.

“Our aim is to protect the purchasers to ensure that all contractual obligations are honoured by developers,” Mrs. Garrick adds, citing a recent prosecution in Montego Bay.

She indicates that the REB through the Real Estate Training Institute (RETI) offers courses for eligible persons to become certified and licensed real estate dealers.

The training covers the areas of salesmanship, dealership, and property management.

In order to qualify for these courses, applicants must be at least 18 years of age at the date of application and possess CXC General Proficiency Grades I, II or III in four subjects, including English and Mathematics or the GCE O’Level equivalent with a minimum Grade of C in those subjects.

Applicants fulfilling the basics requirements must also satisfy a final selection interview.

Meanwhile, the REB has announced that effective April 1, 2019, there will be an increase in fees for real estate practitioners.

For more information, persons may visit the REB’s website at https://www.reb.gov.jm/.