Real estate agents need to operate with integrity, professionalism – Housing Minister
…as int’l real estate firm Century 21 is launched in Guyana
With the real estate sector in Guyana now up-and-coming, Housing Minister Collin Croal has issued a warning to agents and companies operating in Guyana not to sell to clients dreams when they are not able to deliver on those promises.
The Minister made this remark at the launch of United States-based real estate franchise Century 21, which is one of the world’s largest real estate companies, operating in more than 80 countries across the globe.
Delivering the feature address during the launching ceremony of Century 21, at the Guyana location at Lot 85A Lamaha St, Alberttown, Georgetown on Wednesday, the Housing Minister pointed out that one of the first things potential investors look at when exploring business opportunities locally is the availability of space, and they would therefore consult operators in the real estate industry.
“So, in this way, we can agree that real estate agents and companies are frontlines for the investment chain. You are conduits to business in Guyana, and your interaction with investors determines whether the business will stay here… Therefore, it is the duty of real estate agents to conduct themselves in a business-friendly or investment-friendly manner; that is, to facilitate and promote integrity and professionalism,” he stated.
According to Croal, this would strengthen the relationship between Guyana and investors. He disclosed that, too often, there are complaints of real estate agents taking advantage of unsuspecting clients, and he admonished operators not to indulge in such a practice.
“We must guard against this. We must avoid selling dreams to clients… I want to use this opportunity to issue a call to the real estate sector… You will be amazed at the amount of information we receive daily. We have already impressions of town houses and condominiums that are touted by various persons.
“But let me warn this sector, persons who are investing their hard-earned money expect to get what they’re promised. In simple terms, don’t put a whole roof garden in the picture and then don’t even have some grass to show. We are paying attention, and we will do whatever is possible to protect our citizens-investors,” the Housing Minister posited.
He went on to outline that Government is already playing its part with the recent passing of the Condominium Bill on Tuesday, which outlines a structured and clear policy framework to guide the ownership and management of town houses and condominiums.
Minister Croal also noted that Government, via Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall, SC, is currently working on establishing legislation to govern the real estate industry in Guyana. Only last week, Nandlall met with stakeholders in this regard.
“I want to assure you that our Government is working steadfastly on reforms and to ensure that the way we conduct business is less bureaucratic [and] more efficient. And as a Government, to ensure that we position Guyana even more as the premier investment destination,” he stated.
Nevertheless, the Housing Minister lauded the introduction of the internationally-branded Century 21 real estate franchise in the Guyanese market, which he noted is flushed with opportunities.
Croal has said he expects nothing but excellent service from Century 21 Guyana.
“Investors (especially in the oil and gas sector) want First World standards, and this is where real estate comes in. So, Century 21, with its own expertise and experience in this very area, is very well positioned to deliver beyond not just a satisfactory service to its clients, but also, more importantly, to help with the upliftment of this sector,” he said.
“The standard that we would expect you to set in terms of the principles that govern the real estate industry, even in absence of draconian regulatory authority, our Government stands ready to help you,” the Housing Minister reassured.
The Century 21 Guyana franchise was acquired by overseas-based Guyanese Chief Samsair, who said he was responding to a call made by President Ali for diaspora members to take advantage of the abundance of opportunities available in the country and play their part in the development of Guyana and its people.
“The economy in Guyana is growing rapidly, mainly because of the oil and gas sector… which, in turn, has seen all the other sectors seeing a great increase in production and productivity, one of which is the real estate industry. So that’s where I come in,” he noted.
According to Samsair, he intends to take Century 21 Guyana in all the regions across Guyana where there will be investments, thus creating hundreds of jobs throughout the country for citizens.
The businessman has said his aim is to service the local real estate industry where it is lacking. In this vein, he reiterated the need for laws to be in place to govern.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest), Dr Peter Ramsaroop, also welcomed this venture and spoke of the abundance of opportunities in the local real estate industry, given Guyana’s unprecedented growth. (G8)