What exactly does it take to become an agent?

Private Property South Africa

If you'd like a career as a real estate agent, here are some tips on where to start.

Real estate selling and buying means that a lot of legal aspects and transfer laws have to be taken into account. Paper work and professionalism is top of list for any rookie wanting to take on the property industry as a career opportunity. To make sure you start by building a proper foundation to your new career one should consider joining a real estate academy. To be a fully qualified agent, you need to have your NQF4 qualification from the EAAB: this qualification is to the equivalent of a BA Degree. In order to obtain this status, there are a few steps which you will have to take – but it will be worth all of the hard work.

To start this process, you need to join a reputable real estate agency, and then register as a intern agent with the EAAB (Estate Agency Affairs Board). The EAAB regulates the estate agency profession through ensuring that all persons carrying out the activities of an estate agent as a service to the public are registered with the EAAB. A Fidelity Fund Certificate, which is to be renewed each year is issued as evidence of such registration and confirmation that such person is legally entitled to carry out the activities of an estate agent. Wendy Williams, Sales Director of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa advises potential candidates to do in depth research on your options available and what type of support and training each agency has to offer as that will guarantee your success in the end.

Once you have decided on your employer of choice, you will still need to apply for the position, and go through the interview process. “We at Engel & Völkers have set a procedure of interviews which are completed before we select our agents, as we only take on individuals who will live up to the company values. The first interview after receiving a CV will be a telephonic one, if you meet the basic criteria, you will be invited for an official interview. Should an agent pass the second phase, they are given an online test to complete which aids us in ensuring that the candidate will be successful” Wendy continued.

Although many people are under the perception that anyone can become an agent, Engel & Völkers strongly advises against taking any opportunity presented. If the employer does not take the time to work through a proper screening process, you might be entering a job which you are not suitable for, resulting in great disappointment. Should you however be appointed at a firm, you can now start your 12 month internship programme.

“Once we appoint an agent, they undergo 4 full days of introduction training at our in-house training academy to ensure that they are ready and equipped when starting to deal with clients. Our training is ongoing as it is vital for real estate specialists to remain at the top of their game as well as the latest laws and regulations” Wendy added.

After your 12 month internship, you can write your NQF4 exams to obtain your qualification.

If wanted you can complete your NQF5, which will open up opportunities to be a licence partner or principal agent, which in turn entitles you to run and own a franchise.

Now that you have all the theory, practical experience needs to follow. You have two options, joining an agency or being a lone rider? It is mostly recommended to join an agency due to having a support structure, database and brand awareness rather than starting out from Scratch. Not joining a brand will make it a lot harder to get the ball rolling. In choosing the correct agency to join, take into consideration the companies international relations and national footprint. The bigger the presence the bigger the opportunities are to grow in the company. Make very sure of your decision, because changing agencies to frequently can hurt your reputation in the industry, like it will in any career direction.

More benefits to joining an established agency is support for branding materials, the upkeep of a website to feature properties on sale, most established companies also have a marketing department and a public relations program. Having all of these departments in place makes your approach to potential customers and clients so much easier.

Understanding the property market and prices is crucial for negotiations. Every country, state, province, city and suburb is different. Research your chosen area, taking in to account the turnover period of homes, LSM group and accessibility to shopping centres, schools, recreational centres a help full website to use is www.lightstone.co.za.

Most real estate specialist still believe in following the traditional ways of finding clients to sell to and homes/stock to sell. Networking, talking to friends and family, cold calling, show houses and corner exhibitions have been proven to progress in to sales. Basically the number one rule is to build up your own database and deliver excellent service to make sure that you are referred to more families looking to buy or sell. Trust is key to building the perfect relationship with your contacts. At the end of the day, your clients and customers have faith in you to help make one of life's biggest decisions. Real estate specialists are enablers to help sellers and buyers make informed decisions on their transactions. Remember that property transactions take at least 3-4 months to clear, so as a intern you have to have sufficient resources available to maintain your lifestyle until your first deals conclude.

After sale service is fundamental to grow your business and to ensure that more business comes your way. Always keep a personal contact list of fellow tradesmen handy. Don't forget to recommend the painter that painted your own house, the handyman that fixed all the draws in your kitchen, your trusted electrician that connected your front porch light and the plumber that is to your disposal 24/7. After all a great real estate specialist is measured on how big of a neighbourhood specialist they really are.


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