50 Year Flashback: Real Estate and the REIQ Journal  

Industry News, Journal,  Principals,  Property Managers,  Salespeople

Can you believe it? It’s been twelve months since the REIQ transitioned from a monthly, physical Journal to a fortnightly, digital one – now conveniently delivered to the inbox of 22,000+ real estate professionals across Queensland. 

The REIQ Journal, in its 70years of existence, has gone through tremendous changes and covered pivotal moments in history. Following such a momentous year, the team at the REIQ would like to take you on a journey down memory lane by grabbing some historical copies of the Journal from our archives to reflect on the real estate profession over the past 50 years.  

1970 – COMMISSION RATES

While the 70s were fifty years ago, some of the issues faced by real estate professionals in those days are not dissimilar to the experiences of real estate agents today.  

In 1970, a topic of contention among the Queensland real estate industry was commission. In early 1971, REIQ President Alex Overett told members that the Board of Directors were “most disappointed” that proposed legislation presented before Parliament during the 1970 December sittings. At the time, the REIQ was asking the Minister for Justice and Attorney General for an increase in commissions. “It is interesting to note that commission rates in other States are beyond ours,” wrote Overett. “In New South Wales and South Australia, the commissions start at five per cent on $8,000 and in all other States, five per cent on $5,000. As you are aware, we are seeking an increase to 5 per cent on $4,000 and, I believe, this is a most urgent need for all members alike.”  

1980 – PROFESSIONALISM IS OUR OBJECTIVE

The focus of the early 80s centred around professionalism and training standards of the real estate industry. At the time, the REIQ was lobbying Government on an array of issues, including commission, amendments to the Act and most pressingly, the issue of Real Estate Licences and its eligibility requirements. 

Then-REIQ President, F.R.H Walters used his presidential column to comment on the REIQ’s stance on Real Estate Licences 

Our Institute is dedicated to the objective of professionalism. We have been negotiating with Government for some time on the qualification for Real Estate Licences and also requirement that all real estate salespeople should have a prerequisite in education in real estate agency practice before registration as a sales representative is granted. 

We consider that the regulation that provides for the applicants for a Real Estate Agents Licence who have not passed a course of Instruction in Real Estate Practice, but who have business experience, may be considered for the issue of a Real Estate Licence should be abolished. All applicants for a Real Estate Licence should be required to pass a course on real estate before any person is licenced. We consider that today’s complex legislation in real estate and the requirements of the Auctioneers & Agents Act in respect to the proper management of trust funds are such, that general knowledge and business experience are not sufficient and are no longer adequate to warrant the issue of a Real Estate Licence 

1990 – RECESSION, RESIDENTIAL TENANCIES ACT AMENDED AND NEW REIQ CONTRACT IN LINE WITH CONSUMER PROTECTION LAWS

The 90s was a relatively challenging year for real estate professionals. The early 1990s marked the beginning of a deep recession, which saw standard variable home loan interest rates skyrocket to 17 per cent, and the unemployment rate to 11 per centIn addition, the reputation of real estate agents in Queensland were becoming increasingly marred, according to then-REIQ President, Dave Allen. “The reputation real estate practitioners have in the community is not as it should be,” wrote Allen in the REIQ Journal’s President’s Report (December, 1990). “There is a level of mistrust which is earned by a few but which tarnishes the reputation of us all.”  

Despite the aforementioned doom and gloom, positive change came about in the 90s too. Amendments made to the Residential Tenancies Act provided tenants with a copy of their finalised tenancy agreement. At the time, Justice Minister Mr Glen Milliner said: “It’s only fair and just that when a tenancy agreement is executed, a copy is given to the tenant. That ensures that both parties to the agreement are fully aware of their rights and obligations, reducing the change of unnecessary disputes through ignorance.”  

For sales agents, the contract of sale for residential property aligned with contemporary consumer protection laws and practicesThe contract, prepared jointly by the REIQ and the Queensland Law Society enabled purchasers to withdraw from the contract if the property didn’t have required building approvals and/or didn’t fully meet local authority building regulations. In modern terms, this relates to clause 7.6 of the REIQ’s Contract for Houses and Residential Land.  President of the Gold Coast branch of the REIQ, Peter McGrath noted “agents have to do a little more work at the time of listing and remind the vendor of his or her responsibility to check that all building approvals and certifications on the property have been obtained.” The format of the contract of sale was also improved by having the standard conditions as a separate booklet. 

2000 – GST PREPARATIONS IN FULL SWING

Passed as legislation in June 1999 and coming into effect on 1 July 2000, the implementation of GST had a major impact on the real estate industry – so much so that it dominated most of the REIQ’s Journal headlines in the year 2000. In the February 2000 edition of the Journal, then-President Jean Hamer used her presidential issues column to address GST and its proposed impact on the real estate industry and market. 

2000 looks set to prove a challenging year with issues such as the introduction of GST on July 1 and the possibility of new legislation impacting our industry. 

However, the year has started off well with many agents reporting a significant increase in sales since Christmas. Clearly fears of Y2K problems have been allayed and the buying public has begun to take advantage of a market that has remained flat for several years.  

The expectation of post-GST price rises combined with the likelihood of a hike in interest rates has many buyers locking into a low fixed rate and investing their dollars in property. 

Last year was a tentative year for the property market in Queensland with little movement in prices and sales activity was very sporadic. However, it’s likely that improved consumer confidence and consequent improvements in the market will result in Queensland beginning to experience an increase in capital growth, something that has eluded many regions over the past few years.  

2010 – SOCIAL MEDIA: IT’S HERE TO STAY

In August 2010, former REIQ Journalist Emily Maher wrote a feature article in the REIQ Journal about the rise of social media, and how agents can implement Facebook, Twitter and blogging into their overarching marketing strategy. At the time, the REIQ had only just launched their own Facebook, Twitter and YouTube accounts themselves, proving to the broader real estate community that these digital communication tools were a viable way of connecting to their target audience. Instagram didn’t launch until October of the same year. Here’s a snippet from the article: 

Social networking; digital media; the internet age; Generation Facebook. However you refer to it, you can no longer ignore it, because it’s not going anywhere, anytime soon. We’ve heard it before; most commonly referred to as ‘social media’ and how it’s revolutionised the way we communicate, do business and even socialize. But for a certain demographic, even the words social media can create an overpowering sense of skepticism and uncertainty, while others see it as an opportunity. An opportunity for growth, exposure and branding; for communicating, connecting and networking; and yes, an opportunity for negative consumer feedback. 

2020 – THE JOURNAL GOES DIGITAL, COVID-19 AND EVERYONE MATTERS IN REAL ESTATE CAMPAIGN

For more than 70 years, the REIQ Journal was Queensland’s most loved and respected printed real estate publication, covering the issues that matter most to the property sector. As a new decade dawned, the REIQ decided it was time for a change – and the Journal everyone knew and loved became a fortnightly release of digital articles, emailed directly to the real estate community.  

The timing of the Journal’s transition was particularly useful at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent Everyone Matters in Real Estate campaign, which allowed for the REIQ to disseminate information quickly to the broader real estate profession. You can read more about the REIQ’s COVID-19 response and advocacy campaigns here 

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REIQ MEMBERS’ MEMORIES OF YESTERYEAR 

We asked our REIQ members on social media to share their memories of working in real estate in the ‘good old days’. Here are some of their responses!  

REIQ Chairman, Peter Brewer: Back in the 80s and 90s, we’d be desperately waiting on Tuesday and Friday mornings for the courier to drive past the office at 40 miles per hour. He’d hurl the latest multi list listing books out his window and we’d all fight to see what the new listings were from each office. Conjunctional sales between offices were common, and usually at 70/30. We had no internet, so the multi list books were where we’d get our listing and sales data. 

Once we got the addresses from REIQ Multi List, we’d race out to take a photo of them all, and then drop the film to the chemist to get the pics processed. We’d have to wait 2-3 days for the pics to come back and hope like ship that the properties were still for sale. If they were, we’d staple them to a window card and ask the ‘typist’ to type up the description. 

Life Member, Wayne Nicholson: In 1980 we would take two photos of the house – one was black and white, one was colour. The coloured one we would put in the window and we would drive into the city to the Townsville Bulletin and give them the black and white for our Saturday page ad. We were the first agency to do auctions and exclusive with VPA. The common was you would see six signs on a fence for sale. 

Life Member, Nanette Lilley: Women were not able to borrow money to purchase a house unless it was guaranteed by their husbands. Noel Whittaker assisted me to acquire finance for my first house and a second when I worked with him in real estate, and these properties formed the early basis for my real estate career. 

Finance was very limited in the 70s and 80s, and quite often the banks and building societies had a limited number to give out to the agents for their customers. 

Lorene Jeffery: Colin Jeffery started in real estate and also joined the REIQ back in 1983, this article was written in 1993. Colin is still in real estate and still is a member of the REIQ today. 

He certainly does not miss getting up early to knock in all the open for inspection pointer signs on Saturday morning as was the custom back in those days.  

Newspaper clipping on Colin Jeffery

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