How to become an estate agent in SA
Are you someone who loves helping other people? Do you have a positive outlook, a good work ethic, and love competition and working in a team environment? The world of real estate could be the industry for you!
The real estate industry in South Africa offers the chance to work and study at the same time. And, although there are no income guarantees, the earning potential of rookie estate agents far exceeds what they might earn in other entry-level or unskilled positions. In terms of the regulations governing the industry, you will need to complete a 12-month internship under the supervision of a fully qualified agent. Formal qualifications that you need to complete are Further Education & Training (FET): National Qualification Forum (NQF) Level 4 Real Estate and a Professional Designation Exam Level 4 (PDE4) - and you can do these at the same time as your internship.
Clearly, the agency you choose to do your internship with is extremely important. Will it be a good learning environment? Will you receive support within a well-constructed internship programme? And looking ahead, will you be able to rise to the top of the profession with this firm?
Paul Stevens, CEO of national market leader Just Property, outlines four key criteria for determining which property company to join:
First, make sure the agency exhibits a creative mindset - you don't want to be stuck in a business that is still doing things the way they always have, simply because that's the way they've always done them. Times change. People change. Choose an agency that keeps introducing new methodologies and innovative products to improve their clients' and agents' experience.
Secondly, they should have a strong focus on tech for the management and delivery of sales and rental related activities. The standard of the tech will tell you a lot about how much a firm values its agents. "Look for an agency that is agile in mindset and operational capacity," says Stevens, emphasising that strong head office support is essential.
Thirdly, says Stevens, remember that your internship is a learning period, so try to find out if the agency has a strong learning and development culture. "Do they offer a structured new-hire onboarding programme; do they have a specific internship programme? A key indicator is whether they offer intern logbook training and mentorship.
Stevens says that when he went into property, one of the things that attracted him to the industry was a future where he'd be his own boss.
"You may be an intern now, but where do you want to be in five, ten years' time? Is the franchisee you're considering vested in the success and happiness of their agents? My over-riding prerequisite when I became an agent was that one day I'd be able to buy my own franchise with the brand I joined." He advises applicants to ask about such opportunities and listen closely to what the franchisee says about the parent company. Is there support from their head office along with a sense of ownership and independence?
"Most importantly, ask yourself: Is this a company that reflects my values; is this a firm that values optimism, integrity, equality, collaboration, excellence innovation, personal development and loyalty?"