Rais­ing the es­tate agency bar

House buy­ers and sell­ers can look for­ward to an in­creased level of pro­fes­sion­al­ism from es­tate agents. Michelle Swart speaks to No­mande Mapetla, CEO of the Es­tate Agency Af­fairs Board, to find out more

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Q AThe Es­tate Agency Af­fairs Board (EAAB) was es­tab­lished in 1977 in terms of the Es­tate Agency Af­fairs Act 112 of 1976 with the man­date to reg­u­late and con­trol cer­tain ac­tiv­i­ties of es­tate agents in the pub­lic in­ter­est. 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 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. South African Qualifications Author­ity (SAQA) Act 58 of 1995 and the reg­u­la­tions framed un­der the act. These new qualifications will cre­ate cer­tainty that the con­sumer — whether a buyer or seller — has as­sur­ance that the es­tate agent they are deal­ing with is com­pe­tent and pro­fes­sional. The EAAB an­nounced in July 2008 that the old ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing dis­pen­sa­tion was to un­dergo a fun­da­men­tal change to en­sure com­pli­ance with the act, es­pe­cially in­so­far as the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Na­tional Qualifications Frame­work (NQF) is concerned; pro­fes­sion­alise the es­tate agency in­dus­try; and en­sure trans­for­ma­tion of the in­dus­try to re­flect South African de­mo­graph­ics. To meet these ob­jec­tives a new en­try qual­i­fi­ca­tion frame­work for es­tate agents that com­plies with the act and con­forms to the prac­ti­cal re­quire­ments of out­comes based ed­u­ca­tion was

No­mande Mapetla, CEO of the Es­tate Agency Af­fairs Board. de­vised, and is cur­rently be­ing im­ple­mented. These reg­u­la­tions were ini­tially pub­lished in the Govern­ment Gazette for com­ment on Au­gust 13 2007, and na­tional con­sul­ta­tion with af­fected stake­hold­ers also took place. Pre­vi­ously es­tate agents were only re­quired to take a 40ques­tion test, there was no set syl­labus and many facets of the home sell­ing and buy­ing process were not in­cluded. The re­vised cur­ricu­lum, which now has a set syl­labus, equips both new en­trants into the es­tate agency in­dus­try and ex­ist­ing es­tate agents with a mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary and in­te­grated prac­ti­cal and the­o­ret­i­cal ground­ing on the ba­sic prin­ci­ples and prac­tices of es­tate agency in all its facets. The fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing cer­tifi­cate: real es­tate is the pre­scribed train­ing for non­prin­ci­pal es­tate agents. Re­ferred to as the NQF level 4 qual­i­fi­ca­tion, it equates roughly to ma­tric­u­la­tion level. This qual­i­fi­ca­tion was es­tab­lished in ac­cor­dance with the SAQA reg­is­tered cur­ricu­lum and con­sists of 150 cred­its. The na­tional cer­tifi­cate: real es­tate is the course that is in­tended for prin­ci­pal es­tate agents. It is a NQF level 5 qual­i­fi­ca­tion that equates to ma­tric­u­la­tion plus one year post-ma­tric study, and also con­sists of 150 cred­its. There are two ways in which a qual­i­fi­ca­tion can be earned at present: namely, the tra­di­tional way when a per­son at­tends struc­tured train­ing and is there­after as­sessed for com­pe­tence; or through the recog­ni­tion of prior learn­ing (RPL), when a per­son who al­ready pos­sesses the re­quired skills and knowl­edge sim­ply needs to be as­sessed for com­pe­tence. Es­tate agents who have con­tin­u­ously held a full sta­tus fidelity fund cer­tifi­cate, whether as prin­ci­pal or non­prin­ci­pal es­tate agent, for a pe­riod five or more years from July 15 2008 — when the new reg­u­la­tions came into ef­fect — will be ex­empted from hav­ing to un­der­take the pro­fes­sional des­ig­na­tion ex­emp­tion (PDE) for prin­ci­pal or non-prin­ci­pal es­tate agents. How­ever, these es­tate agents may not have had any in­frac­tion of the act and its reg­u­la­tion and still have to pre­scribe to the aca­demic re­quire­ments for the RPL. To date, about 3 000 of these PDEs have been awarded coun­try­wide. The cut-off date is De­cem­ber next year. No ex­ten­sions will be granted, but as long as es­tate agents have reg­is­tered for RPL by De­cem­ber 2011 they have two years in which to com­plete the process. the NQF 4 qual­i­fi­ca­tion that was recog­nised in­ter­na­tion­ally last year as the best study guide out of 90 ju­ris­dic­tions for en­try-level es­tate agents. The NQF 5 study ma­te­rial is cur­rently be­ing mod­er­ated and is ex­pected to be com­plete by the end of Novem­ber this year. It is en­vis­aged that in the fu­ture un­der the new ed­u­ca­tional dis­pen­sa­tion that an NQF level 6 for both prin­ci­pal and non­prin­ci­pal es­tate agents will be avail­able. This will deal with dif­fer­en­ti­ated fields of es­tate agents, such as res­i­den­tial, com­mer­cial/in­dus­trial, leisure, farms/agri­cul­tural, sec­tional-ti­tle man­age­ment, busi­ness broking, es­tate-agency man­age­ment, com­mu­nal prop­erty own­er­ship and any other spheres that may be iden­ti­fied. A spe­cialised qual­i­fi­ca­tion for prin­ci­pal es­tate agents at NQF level 7 (hon­ours de­gree) is also en­vis­aged. These qualifications are cur­rently await­ing SAQA ap­proval. A con­tin­u­ing pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment (CPD) re­quire­ment will be im­ple­mented in ac­cor­dance with cur­rent best prac­tice re­quire­ments in most world­wide reg­u­la­tory ju­ris­dic­tions. These will be in the form of sem­i­nars, cour­ses and read­ing ma­te­rial, among other things.


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