A top London agent is ploughing the expertise he gained abroad into his hometown of Port Elizabeth as RE/MAX Independent’s newest recruit.
Born and raised in PE, Bernard Richter started his career in the property industry after a shoulder injury while playing rugby abroad forced him to find alternative employment.
“I had to get a job and didn’t want to be stuck behind a desk from nine to five. I figured I enjoyed people, had an interest in property through my mom and might find working as an agent to be just the right job for me,” he says. (His mother Joan is one of Re/Max’s top agents, having received the Millionaires’ Club award for the past two years.)
Bernard’s business and marketing studies stood him in good stead as he started his career at the London-based Rolfe East estate agency and quickly moved through the ranks. He started out as a trainee but progressed to senior sales negotiator within two years and was soon managing his own branch in west London.
“When I started I was a real rookie but really wanted my particular office to do well. I replaced a man who had just resigned and I felt from the start that if I wanted this job, I needed to pull in some figures. I got to work early and stayed late, and my boss recognised this.
“Over time I was given additional responsibility and responded well to pressure but always did what I said I was going to do for my clients and this seems to be the key to my success. If you just do what you say will, call when you say you will, and keep things simple and be honest, you have a winning formula and it’s one I’ve stuck with.”
Bernard was the first manager at his London company to gain his National Association of Estate Agents qualification, which consists of examinable subjects such as property law, practice and procedure, financial crime, building design, consumer protection regulation, and ombudsman compliance and rules.
Richter took the company to the number one spot out of 73 competitors in the area. But, after 13 years, he decided it was time to come home and said he was very happy to be investing his experience in his new venture with Re/Max.
“Being new to the Port Elizabeth property profession, clients need to get to know me. With more and more people looking to the Internet, it makes sense to use a professional property website such as Private Property to introduce myself to the market and advertise my listings. My mother already uses Private Property and I am very impressed with the quality of the adverts. The website is user-friendly and current. I have found it a very useful tool when searching for suitable properties for the buyers I am working with.”
Richter says that the local industry is “very different” to its British equivalent. “In fact, agents seem very nice to each other. Most split deals with each other, which is unheard of in London. And then, of course, a big plus about working in SA is that you get to show houses in the sun, which is a lot more enjoyable than in the snow.”