Becoming a real estate agent just became far more achievable as many of the onerous qualification roadblocks are now removed thanks to the introduction of the new Property Practitioners Act.
According to Tony Clarke, Chairman of the Real Estate Business Owners of South Africa (REBOSA), the new act is a welcome step in the right direction for an industry previously plagued by unclear and often poorly implemented legislation. The new regulations also promise smoother and more affordable property practitioner training.
“Under the PP Act, prospective agents can study and sit their Professional Designation Examination (PDE) before joining an agency,” says Clarke. “No more year-long internships or expensive NQF4 exams. If you’ve passed your PDE, you can literally start selling property in less than six months – under supervision – provided you complete a further six practical course modules.”
Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, explains that this removes one of the largest obstacles aspiring real estate professionals face when attempting to join the profession. “Under the previous regulations, it could take a year before a new agent could earn any of their commission. This hindered transformation within the industry and kept many from successfully making the transition into the real estate profession,” he explains.
All this changes with the introduction of the new Act. Regulation 33.2.3 under chapter 7 of the PPA Regulations states the following:
“no person shall be entitled to practice as a property practitioner unless such person has first completed a practical training course […] will constitute a minimum of six modules to be completed over a maximum period of six months.”
According to the Regulations, “for a period of six months following the date upon which a person first becomes qualified and registered as a non-principal property practitioner, such person shall not in their capacity as a property practitioner (a) enter into any mandate for the sale or purchase of any property or the letting or hiring of any property with any member of the public or (b) conclude or cause to be concluded any agreement for the sale or purchase of any property or the letting or hiring of any property, unless such mandate or agreement has first been reviewed and co-signed by another qualified property practitioner”
Goslett explains that this allows anyone who has passed the professional designation examinations the opportunity to earn commission much sooner, providing that they have a registered property practitioner to sign off on and oversee their transactions. “This also only lasts for six months, which is far less taxing for both the candidate estate agent as well as for the registered property practitioner who has to oversee the deals,” Goslett highlights.
To ensure greater access to the professional designation examinations, the Act states that the professional designation examinations will be capable of being written at least four times per annum at such intervals as are determined by the Authority. These exams may be written in any official language other than English and can also completed orally.
In addition to this, the costs of the regulated Continued Professional Development training are also significantly reduced thanks to the introduction of the new Act. Businesses are now allowed to develop and run their own CPD training “which shall be charged for by the Authority at the rate of R 500 per annum” subject to inflationary adjustments (Regulation 33.5.4 under chapter 7 of the PPA Regulations). The Act also states that “[c]ontinuing professional development will be charged for by the Authority at a rate of R1500 per annum.”
Goslett mentions that all CPD training prepared by anyone other than the Authority itself will need to be in compliance with both the rolling three-year cycle requirements and the requirement that there be 12 modules and that a minimum of four modules must be completed during each year of such cycle.
“Course content must be approved by the Authority, but this approval can’t be unreasonably withheld,” says Clarke. “Those doing CPD training via the Authority should also have a smoother experience, as all course modules can now be available at all times and at a reduced fee, i.e., R1500. This should make issues like delayed course content a thing of the past, supporting agents in honing their skills rather than acting as a professional roadblock.”
All these changes introduced by the Act bode well for both South Africans as well as the property industry. “I believe that the real estate industry has the power to change lives as it offers greater earning potential to those who are willing to put in the hard work to achieve it. Many of the obstacles that hindered aspiring real estate agents have now been removed with the introduction of this act. I therefore remain hopeful to see the real estate sector continue to grow and transform with the introduction of this new Act,” Goslett concludes.
To learn more about what is covered by the Property Practitioners Act, readers can download a free copy of it by visiting the government website.