Are you someone who loves helping other people? Do you have a positive outlook, a good work ethic, love competition and working in a team environment? The world of real estate could be the industry for you!
The real estate industry in South Africa offers the chance to work and study at the same time. And, although there are no income guarantees, the earnings potential of rookie estate agents far exceeds what they might earn in other entry-level or unskilled positions. In terms of the regulations governing the industry, you will need to complete a 12-month internship under the supervision of a fully qualified agent. There are also a formal qualification (Further Education & Training (FET): National Qualification Forum (NQF) Level 4 Real Estate) and a Professional Designation Exam Level 4 (PDE4) that you need to complete, and you can do these at the same time as your internship.
Clearly, the agency you choose to do your internship with is extremely important. How do you judge if the agency you’re looking at offers you a bright future? Will it be a good learning environment? Will the culture be a good fit for you? Will you receive support within a well-constructed internship programme? And looking ahead, will you be able to rise to the top of the profession with this firm?
Paul Stevens, CEO of national market leader Just Property, outlines four key criteria for determining which property company to join: “First, make sure the agency exhibits a creative mindset,” says Stevens – you don’t want to be stuck in a business that is still doing things the way they always have, simply because that’s the way they’ve always done them. “Times change. People change. At Just Property we’re always introducing new methodologies and innovative products to make our clients’ and our agents’ experience better. The agency you join should be doing the same.”
“Here’s a good tip: ask the agency if they offer a Buyer’s Mandate like we do. It will give you a good idea of where they place importance and whether they’re looking ahead.” (Just Property’s Buyer’s Mandate gives buyers access to all the support and best-in-class tools that our agents have at their fingertips.)
“Secondly, evaluate their technology and walk away if it’s outdated. Just Property, for example, has a very strong focus on tech for the management and delivery of sales and rental related activities (e.g. client relationship management, CRM, as well as marketing of both agents and properties). The standard of the tech will tell you a lot about how much a firm values its agents.”
Stevens notes that in the past year, Just Property Head Office has rolled out numerous initiatives and on-the-job aids including a new national website, Your Property Journey (a first-to-market buyer education and real-time qualification tool), a world-class eLearning platform for agents, digital documentation and electronic signing capabilities and a suite of marketing collateral. “Look for an agency that is agile in mindset and operational capacity,” says Stevens, emphasising that strong Head Office support is essential.
Thirdly, says Stevens, remember that your internship is a learning period, so try to find out if the agency has a strong learning and development culture. “Do they offer a structured new-hire onboarding programme; do they have a specific internship programme? A key indicator is whether they offer intern logbook training and mentorship… that should give you an idea of whether your internship will be planned and focused or a waste of your time.”
Stevens says that when he went into property, one of the things that attracted him to the industry was a future where he’d be his own boss. “You may be an intern now but where do you want to be in five, ten years’ time? Is the franchisee you’re considering vested in the success and happiness of their agents? My over-riding prerequisite when I became an agent was that one day I’d be able to buy my own franchise with the brand I joined.” He advises applicants to ask about such opportunities and listen closely to what the franchisee says about the parent company. Is there support from Head Office along with a sense of ownership and independence?
“Most importantly, ask yourself: Is this a company that reflects my values, is this a firm that values optimism, integrity, equality, collaboration, excellence innovation, personal development and loyalty?”
Stevens smiles, remembering when he first entered the property industry. “I had a real passion for helping people find solutions to their property needs. And that grew as I immersed myself and gained experience. I’m looking for the same ethics in the people we invite to join our internship programme: passion and commitment is essential, along with strong values, people skills and attention to detail. If you’ve got those traits, you’ll fit in at Just Property.”