Statistics SA released its Q4 Quarterly Employment Statistics December 2020 on 30 March 2021. According to the key findings, “full-time employment decreased by 565 000 or (-6,2%) year-on-year between December 2019 and December 2020”.
“Between March and June 2020, employment in the financial intermediation, insurance, real estate and business services industry decreased by 170 000. But Q4 figures showed a small but significant increase of 4 000,” says CEO of Just Property, Paul Stevens. “If you look at the stats, an interesting figure emerges. Full-time employment was down quarter on quarter by 14 000, but part-time employment was up by 18 000. South Africans, as they have always done, are making a plan.”
Stevens notes that these are just the kind of people the real estate industry in South Africa needs. People with a can-do attitude and a good work ethic, who love helping people and working in a competitive team environment will thrive in the property industry, says Stevens. “The current ‘buyers’ market’ may present a once-in-a-lifetime chance to buy a home or investment property at prices and interest rates not seen for many years. There is definitely an opportunity for ambitious recruits.”
Stevens confirms that there are no income guarantees but adds that “the earnings potential of rookie estate agents far exceeds what they might earn in other entry-level positions”.
In terms of the industry regulations, trainee agents need to complete a 12-month internship under the supervision of a fully qualified agent. There are also formal qualifications to achieve: Further Education & Training (FET): National Qualification Forum (NQF) Level 4 Real Estate and Professional Designation Exam Level 4 (PDE4). “These can be acquired while you undertake your internship”, says Stevens.
So how do you choose an agency to do your internship with? Stevens advises prospective real-estate interns to evaluate their options by researching the answers to four key questions:
How agile are they?
Does the agency have a forward-thinking creative mindset – how did they transition to working from home, for example? Were they able to nimbly adjust? You don’t want to be stuck in a business that is still holding on to legacy processes and ways of working.
Leading from that, how tech-savvy are they? The standard of their technology will tell you a lot about how much a firm values its agents.
Stevens explains: “Our focus on the IT side of the business meant that when lockdown was announced, we already had all the protocols and remote systems in place. Our teams could seamlessly work from home using the company’s digital dashboard. The company you’ll be working for should be just as focused on introducing new methodologies and products to make the buying, selling and rental experience better for clients and agents.
“For example, Just Property has a solid focus on tech for the management and delivery of sales and rental-related activities (e.g. client relationship management, digital documentation and electronic signing capabilities, a suite of marketing collateral for both agents and properties, and a world-class eLearning platform for agents.) Our excellent website also helps sellers and buyers with education and a real-time qualification tool.”
“Look for an agency that is agile in mindset and operational capacity,” says Stevens.
1. Do they place value on staff development?
Your internship is a learning period so try to determine if the agency has a strong development culture. “Do they offer a structured onboarding programme for interns? Do they even have a specific internship programme?” Stevens asks. He offers a tip that will help prospective interns ascertain the answer to this: “Ask about intern logbook training and mentorship… that will clearly illustrate whether internships are well managed or a waste of time.”
2. What are your prospects for advancement?
One of the most attractive aspects of the property industry is that it opens the way to self-employment and one’s own business. Check if the company you’re considering joining has a vested in the success and happiness of their agents. “If you hope to be able to buy your own franchise one day, ask about such opportunities,” Stevens advises, “and listen closely to what the franchisee says about the parent company. Is there support from their head office?”
3. Are you a good fit?
To be happy and fulfilled, you need to know that you and the company are a good fit. Ask about their values. Ask about how they live these values. Then ask if these align with your values. Stevens suggests weighing up values like optimism, integrity, equality, collaboration, excellence, innovation, personal development and loyalty. “Passion and commitment are essential, along with people skills, attention to detail and a thirst for learning.
CONCLUSION FOR DIGITAL MEDIA: For more information on how to become an estate agent, please read the following article from the Estate Agency Affairs Board.