Queensland’s peak real estate body has launched a new campaign in an attempt to make sure buyers in the state are working with real estate professionals who will act in their best interests.

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) this week launched the Are you with the REIQ? campaign, which encourages buyers to ask property professionals, whether it be a real estate agent, buyer’s agent, a property manager or an auctioneer if they are an REIQ member.

While membership of the body is not compulsory, REIQ chief executive officer Antonia Mercorella said professional standards that members must adhere to mean consumers will be more likely to deal with a professional who is above board if they choose an REIQ member.

“It’s our view that people can be confident that an REIQ member is somebody they can trust and is someone who will do the right thing for them,” Mercorella told Your Investment Property Magazine.

“We hold our members to higher professional standards and higher ethical standards, and we also offer a dispute resolution service. Our members are also required to have professional indemnity insurance cover of at least $1 million, which is an added burden for them.”

While the campaign has launched as Brisbane and south east Queensland move to the forefront of many investors’ minds, Mercorella said investors and home buyers from inside and outside the state have no need to worry about a wave of dodgy operators descending on the area.

“There’s no doubt that we’re seeing stronger investment in Queensland. At the moment we’ve got the edge on places like Sydney and Melbourne when it comes to affordability which is really helping,” she said.

“The campaign isn’t in response to a lot of unscrupulous people suddenly operating in the area. It’s just a reminder for people to make sure they’re working with somebody they know they can trust.”

Julio De Laffitte, chief executive officer of JDL Strategies, welcomed the REIQ’s campaign and also offered some advice on how consumers can tell if they’re dealing with a credible operator.

“I agree belonging to a credible body like the REIQ is important, but so too is a track record of honesty, reliability and professional conduct,” De Laffitte said.

“Check how many years your agent has been in business, ask for testimonials and be absolutely sure they can deliver the service they say they can. We have been helping people with their wealth creation strategies for over 20 years and many of our original clients are still with us,” he said.

Mercorella said the campaign is also part of the REIQ’s wider push to improve the professional standards across the state’s real estate industry.

“At the moment in Queensland, once an agent is registered or licensed there is no need for continual professional development like there is in states such as Western Australia and New South Wales, and that’s something we’re in talking to the state government about.

“The fact is that real estate transactions are probably the most significant transactions a lot of people will be involved in and a house could be somebody’s biggest asset. There’s often legislation and other changes that occur andwe think professionals should be required to undertake ongoing training and development to make sure they’re up to date with changes.”

Mercorella said REIQ members are currently required to meet annual training benchmarks as part of their membership.