Trade associations are organizations that provide a number of valuable services, both to society and to their member companies. There are trade associations for numerous trades and professions, and associations for estate agents are one important example. Other examples are trade and professional associations for lawyers, doctors, dentists, engineers, architects, designers and so on.
Most countries around the world will have their own national trade associations for the estate agents and other professionals that operate in those parts of the globe. These have developed because each country needs its own national voice for the industry, and each country will have its own particular issues regarding the operation of residential property markets. Although there will be national differences, these trade associations across the globe will all tend to operate in similar ways.
In the majority of cases, national trade associations representing well developed industries or professions tend to organize a global body, made up of leading representatives of the various different national trade associations around the world. Such global bodies can represent the interests of the public and their members on the global stage. They may, for example, be able to give a Europe-wide view, a view of the industry across Asia or for the whole of Africa for example.
One valuable service that trade associations for estate agents do is to represent the residential property industry in the various public arenas that exist. For example, the views of estate agents may be sought by national governments from time to time. There may be a select committee looking into the regulation of estate agents or another matter in relation to the sale, purchase and renting of residential property.
A national body that represents the profession will have the necessary resources for research and independence that an individual estate agent will not have. Even if an individual estate agent had the necessary resources to conduct or sponsor research into the national housing market, it would not have an independent view, and people would rightly be uncomfortable hearing from only one company with a commercial interest.
The views of estate agents may be sought by the news media. For example a national newspaper may want to run an article on property prices. Here, a national body will be able to provide an impartial view that will be exactly what the journalist needs. Otherwise the journalist would have to talk to a cross section of companies and try to give a summary view based on all the different views of the various companies that had been asked for their opinion.
The collective views of estate agents may need to be represented at conferences which bring together people, companies and other organizations with an interest in the residential property market. At such gatherings it is of value to hear the views of particular leading estate agents, but an overview of the industry can only be given by a relevant trade association which has the necessary independence.
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