Why use an RICS member to sell or let commercial property

27 Aug,2018 | Commercial Agency |

Why use an RICS member to sell or let commercial property

Engaging a commercial property agent can be a bit of a gamble. Spot an RICS logo, however, and you know straightaway that your property negotiations will be in the hands of a chartered surveyor with proven industry knowledge and professionalism.

RICS (the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) is the global body responsible for – in their own words – ‘promoting and enforcing the highest standards in the valuation, management and development of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure’.

This gives the organisation a vital role in the commercial property sector, where there’s no mandatory regulation and anyone can set up in business as a commercial agent. To be an RICS member, a firm or individual must meet stringent application criteria and undertake ongoing assessment.

You can be confident that if you choose an RICS member to sell or let your commercial property, they will:

Behave ethically

At the heart of RICS membership are 5 core standards designed to promote ethical and professional behaviour. Members must demonstrate that they:

  • Act with integrity
  • Always provide a high standard of service
  • Act in a way that promotes trust in the profession
  • Treat others with respect
  • Take responsibility

Act in your interests

RICS members commit to putting clients’ interests first. Surely all agents would do the same? Not necessarily.

Potential examples of unregulated agents prioritising their own interests include suggesting dropping the selling price for a quick sale simply to speed up commission, recommending lease terms that favour the tenant because the tenant is a friend or business connection, and not widely advertising a property to seek the best price but instead safeguarding it for a particular contact.

Be competent

Given the complexities of commercial property transactions, using an RICS member gives crucial reassurance that the person handling your transaction knows what they are doing and will negotiate both knowledgeably and effectively.

An RICS member must ‘Carry out work with due skill, care and diligence’ and all RICS-regulated firms must ensure staff are properly trained and competent. Here at Gifford Dixon for example, our principal Steven Gifford Dixon has an MSc in Real Estate and Property Management.

On top of meeting strict entry criteria, individual RICS members must undertake a minimum of 20 hours of CPD (Continuing Professional Development) activity every year. They must also update their knowledge of the RICs professional and ethical standards every three years. The CPD requirement is strictly enforced via a disciplinary process which includes fines and even potential expulsion from the organisation.

Have arrangements to cover incapacity or death

With an RICS member firm, there’s no risk of being left without representation mid-negotiation. RICS members with a sole principal must have arrangements in place to provide cover should the worst happen. The cover will typically be provided by a colleague in another agency in the local area.

Non-RICS firms without such an arrangement can put clients at risk of substantial delay or even of losing the deal if the principal is suddenly unable to work.

Provide a dispute resolution service

In the unlikely event that things don’t go smoothly, you have somewhere to turn.

RICS member firms must operate a complaints handling procedure that includes dispute resolution via a RICS-approved alternative dispute resolution (ADR) provider. Approved ADR providers include the RICS’ own dispute resolution service as well as arbitration through the Arbitration Procedure for Surveying Disputes. ADR providers can order firms to give compensation and take steps to correct mistakes.

If you’re unable to resolve a complaint to your satisfaction, you can complain to the RICS who will investigate and may take disciplinary action against the member or firm.

Be fully insured

All RICS-regulated firms must carry professional indemnity insurance that meets standards approved by the RICS Regulatory Board. So in the even more unlikely event of your agent proving negligent, you’re protected against any financial loss.

Gifford Dixon Director Steven Gifford-Dixon is a Chartered Surveyor and RICS member and the firm is regulated by the RICS.

For more information about the RICS, see the RICS website.

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