A northern province is planning to organize an exam to grant practicing certificates to real estate brokers. The number of applicants is so high that the local construction department is confused about how to mark exam papers and how to raise questions to so many examinees.

The news was related by Deputy Director of the Housing and Real Estate Market Management Agency Nguyen Manh Khoi at a workshop on the role of real estate brokers in the new development period.

Khoi said he knows a man who graduated from the Hanoi University of Civil Engineering and doesn’t work for any company, but still earned VND10 billion over the last five years from a real estate brokerage service. The man recently became the owner of a brokerage firm.

Real estate brokers can be seen everywhere. Pawnshops also provide real estate information. In the past, brokers only went with real estate project developers. Now, they go to every corner in large cities and villages in rural areas. They stimulate demand and push prices up through auctions in the countryside as well.

According to Pham Lam, President and CEO of DKRA Vietnam, about 300,000 people provide real estate brokerage services throughout the country. The real figure could be even higher as most people can qualify. However, the quality of services remains problematic.

Chair of the Vietnam Realtor Association Nguyen Van Dinh said that land prices are fluctuating in many localities which is attributed to speculators and unprofessional brokers. Even professional brokers lend a hand to push land prices up and create artificial ‘land fever’.

There are no assessments about the quality and capability of real estate brokers. While the number of brokers is increasing rapidly, the quality has been left open. The Ministry of Construction once set requirements on real estate brokers and standards for practice, but quality management has been absent for a long time.

CEO of Dai Phuc Land Nguyen Huong said the low quality of real estate brokers in many cases causes headaches to investors, clients and professional brokers.

Many new brokerage firms ‘steal’ real estate brands. They set up websites which look exactly the same as real websites. As a result, businesses lose credibility if they have been compromised like this. 

“In the primary market, investors can select brokers. The problem lies in the secondary market, where there is still no standard for management,” Huong said.

Thuan Phong