Valuers lack marketing nous: Stubbs

A traditional short-coming of real estate valuers is their lack of marketing skills says newly appointed Australian Property Institute WA president Murray Stubbs.

It is this lack of marketability which he intends to address in his term as president.

Mr Stubbs hopes to increase the press coverage, and thus the profile, of the Institute by ensuring the Institute comments publicly on issues in which it has an interest.

He said the aims of the Institute lie with service to its members and it was not designed to be a political animal.

Despite the forthcoming WA Government election, the Institute has no plans to take sides in the political arena, preferring to liaise with government to address issues which its members face.

“The institutes main aims are to maintain its relevance to members and to expand its membership base, to provide the services that our members require and to liaise with the government,” Mr Stubbs said.

“We’re not in politics. We can lobby ministers but we’re not there to take any political stance.”

On the issue of recent bad publicity regarding the alleged improper practices of some valuers, Mr Stubbs said the Institute was unable to address those until a formal complaint had been received from the public in relation to one of its members.

During 1999, as convener of the complaints committee, Mr Stubbs received no written complaints although some verbal complaints came in.

“We can’t do anything unless we have something in writing,” he said.

“At this stage we haven’t had a complaint in writing from the public.

“There is a procedure in place and it has to go through certain channels and one of these is that it must first be in writing,” Mr Stubbs said.

In the 1999 annual report of the Divisional Council, outgoing president John Persse said complaints had to be substantiated with evidence that could withstand vigorous cross-examination.

“It should be understood that of the 450 plus members who are practicing valuers in this division, less than 1 per cent of members are allegedly bringing the Institute into disrepute,” Mr Persse said.

A pressing issue for the Institute is finding a new home that will encapsulate the higher profile it seeks.

Where this building will be has not yet been decided but the possibility of sharing a building with an organisation such as the Urban Development Institute of Australia in a more prominent position than the current office in South Perth looks likely.

However, sharing the load of any purchase is not part of the plan.

Mr Stubbs said the Institute intended to purchase a property in its own right, with the majority of funds to come from the sale of the current Charles Street offices which are currently valued at more than $500,000.

In his address at the recent annual general meeting, Mr Persse recognised that a major potential threat to the Institute lay in globalisation.

He said the Institute would need to ensure its members were looked after to stop a movement toward the large global or US organisations such as the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, which has more than 100,000 members.

Mr Persse said it would be likely the issue would come to the fore in the next few years when the API would need to decide whether it could stay relevant in the global economy as a stand-alone organisation, or whether it would need to join with other organisations.

Mr Stubbs said it was important to remain proactive by providing more services for members, particularly in the area of education.

He said he recognised the role the media can play in promoting the cause of the Institute and the property industry in general.

“We would like to get more involved in sending informed press releases on property issues, the GST and statistical trends,” Mr Stubbs said.

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