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IRPF Makes Major Progress in Bosnia

In 2004, through conducting an assessment of the real-estate market in Bosnia, IRPF discovered that the industry’s growth was prohibited by factors such as governmental obstructions, illegal and veiled practices, and a general lack of knowledge of European and global standards within the market. The party at the greatest disadvantage appeared to be the brokers, whose business suffers from the illegal practices of “black brokers.” Also stagnating the income of brokers and causing a marketplace price shift is the increase of “For Sale By Owner” properties and the decrease of affordable housing properties. Governmental barriers include expensive permits, ineffective approval processes, and zoning regulations.

After reassessing the market in 2006 and realizing the inhibited nature of current practices, IRPF established the need for a network of real-estate associations which could enable development by standardizing practices, respecting a Code of Ethics, and implementing training and advocacy services. Also identified was the association’s need to be in dialogue with the government in order to address and bypass the burdens that have thus far prohibited the real-estate market from flourishing.

Taking from previous success in Georgia’s real-estate market, IRPF proposed a plan to set up an association management company which could provide assistance to several real-estate organizations from a central office.

This past August, IRPF President and CEO Norm Flynn and Secretary Judith Lindenau met with broker and developer Mirza Muhasilovic, a prominent figure involved in establishing the brokerage organization is Bosnia. Because the expense and scope of hiring staff and funding an office seemed overwhelming to the new organization BREA (Bosnia Real Estate Association), which has not yet accrued a substantial member base, the proposal was made for a multi-association management company. This company would act as an umbrella company to existing entities such as appraisal and developers associations with shared staff and resources pooled to make the start-up of the association possible. Funding would also come from IRPF project monies with the goal of the company becoming self-sufficient in the near future.

IRPF also achieved great success in August in developing a Code of Ethics adapted to Bosnian standards and approved by BREA, and in strengthening the structure of the association by hiring an Executive Officer, Nermina Memic, who shows great promise with valuable experience. In an attempt to follow-up on the association’s progress, Mirza Muhasilovic will act as a local mentor to Nermina with long-distant advice also being received from Judith Lindenau. The commitment to the development of the new association was solidified with the Protocol signing that had an impressive turn-out of 40 people representing Bosnian real-estate brokers, USAID, the media.

IRPF’s efforts, along with the support and assistance of USAID, the newly formed BREA, and local brokers, appear fit and en-route to address the barriers and sub-standard practices facing the real-estate community in Bosnia.

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