Elsewhere again

We’ve just managed to make the British economy a little more medieval, which really isn’t an improvement. A reasonable and useful reading of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations is to see it as a railing against the guilds and their control of the medieval economy, followed by an insistence that we must instead have a market economy, one with free entry into lines of work and production. Certainly, this discombobulates the producers who find the protections of their economic rents withering away under the force of competition, but then that’s the point.

It’s more than a little odd that in this neoliberal age we seem to be starting to rebuild those protections. But that’s what we’re doing as estate agents become the latest protected occupation. Mini-driving spivs who show you the front room of a “des res” will have to have a professional qualification. This will mean that showing people around front rooms will become a protected occupation, and only those with the appropriate piece of paper will be able to do it.

8 comments on “Elsewhere again

  1. Real estate agents are licensed in the U.S. Additionally, they work for licensed brokers. They split 6% of the sale price.

    Person-to-person sale is legal, but difficult. The seller pays the realtor fees, so the buyer has little incentive not to buy a professionally listed property. And realtors certainly pitch that buying direct is “risky.”

    Lawyers get a piece of the transaction as well in my state (South Carolina).

    Buying a house is the largest transaction most people will ever make. People are lined up to get a piece of it. There are licensed property inspectors, licensed contractors to fix what they find, and licensed mortgage agents and brokers to arrange the financing.

    I hope I didn’t leave anybody out.

  2. Britain’s real estate agents have applauded the government’s plan to professionalize the property sector, welcoming today’s announcement by housing secretary Sajid Javid that agents in the UK will be required to hold a professional qualification in order to practice.

    advise homeowners as they undertake the most important purchases and sales of their lives

    Remember, Javid used to be touted as a future party leader. That was pre-referendum when he was publicly anti-EU. Ten Ref came along and he outed himself as another Europhile BluLab.

    Estate agents do nothing of professional merit. They’re marketers & salesmen, nothing more. Surveyor plays a more important role.

    Advise homeowners? Hmm, they suggest a price to put on For Sale ad; they are not financial advisors.

    Javid also wants to ban gazumping – gazundering too then?

    Is this bilge from Javid an idea, proposal, consultation or a Bill ready for parliamentary approval?

  3. @Gamecock

    We do not want the over-licensing mess USA has where a nail-bar worker or barber must pass exams and be licensed. Then do it all again if they move state.

  4. @Gamecock

    Isn’t Trump trying to find ways to unlicense many jobs on a federal basis to negate state licensing?

    In UK one can be a hairdresser, barber, car repairer, plasterer, builder… accountant whenever one wants. Licensed are the roles which are important: Medicine & Law

    Long may it remain so.

  5. I have no objection to estate agents being *regulated* as opposed to *qualified*, on the basis of the less often a consumer interacts with a producer, and the higher investment the consumer makes in a product, the more the case for regulation.

    Eg, if you buy a dodgy daily loaf of bread, you chuck it away and buy bread from somebody else every day. But if you buy a dodgy once-in-a-lifetime hundred-thousand-pound mortgage you can’t chuck it away and try again, and you have no high frequency repeat transaction experience to build up consumer experience.

  6. This will probably go the same way as HIPS, anothe expensive cock up concieved by a HOC full of solicitors who couldn’t after two years of wrangling get anything right.

  7. @jgh

    Other than you, who buys a once-in-a-lifetime hundred-thousand-pound mortgage from an estate agent?

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