Choosing to become an estate agent is no longer a stop-gap or part-time job, but a real career choice with excellent prospects. It is an option definitely worth considering for graduates and school leavers, especially those with ambition, drive and initiative and who enjoy dealing with people.
The property industry has always been entrepreneurial and it rewards personal initiative. You don’t earn a fixed salary; instead, your income will be proportionate to your own commitment, hard work and training. At present, there is scope for agents to do really well because so many agents have left the industry in the past few years. The demand for homes keeps increasing as the population grows and in spite of the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, many agencies experienced their best trading months in many years during the past twelve months.
The South African property industry has become much more professional in the past ten years, and a growing number of young adults are choosing real estate broking as a career rather than an occupation by default. Young agents with an entrepreneurial spirit find property to be a great opportunity to build their own personal brand and business.
To become a professional estate agent it’s no longer possible to join a company, work for 12 months as a candidate and automatically earn the right to open an estate agency business. You have to join an accredited estate agency, hold an intern fidelity fund certificate (FFC) issued by the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) for a minimum continuous period of 12 months, and pass the Further Education and Training Certificate (FETC) Real Estate NQF level 4 exam.
Once you have passed the first exam, you need to apply to the EAAB to write the Professional Designation Examination (PDE) to become a Professional Practitioner in Real Estate (PPRE).
To become a principal of an estate agency, you must also pass the National Certificate Real Estate NQF level 5 exam to become a Master Practitioner in Real Estate (MPRE).
Most established agencies are prepared to hire and train interns and help them qualify.
The effective use of technology is key to increasing productivity and service delivery, which are vital to the sustainability of any business, including real estate.
Marketing of property is moving into an increasingly technology-driven age, defined by online marketing, content and contact management systems, social networking, website analytics and tracking. This appeals to technology-focused agents, whose notebooks, tablets, iPads and smartphones are extensions of themselves and the way they communicate and live their lives. Accordingly, they tend to be the agents preferred by younger buyers and sellers, as they function at the same level.
The global trend towards online learning has been given a boost by the Covid-19 pandemic, and a number of training programmes for estate agents have significantly ramped up their online offerings in the past year, making training for this lucrative career more readily accessible. Online learning enables students to complete their qualifications in their own time and conveniently in their own environment. Students can follow their preferred sequences, which reduces stress, and course administrators can monitor their progress remotely.
Social media platforms and the use of more traditional communication tools also ensure that students remain in contact with training providers and have access to support when needed.
As a newcomer to the industry, you can expect to work for at least six months before your start earning commission. However, the future rewards can be really good if you apply yourself diligently. The property profession is, after all, a long-term career choice and requires building of a trusted brand and reputation for agents and agencies.