Estate agents must embrace ongoing training and development

Jun 10, 2019 8:00:00 AM Share this:

With the EAAB (Estate Agency Affairs Board) clamping down on agents trading in the real estate industry who have not renewed or ever applied for their Fidelity Fund Certificates (FFC), as well as disqualifying agents for noncompliance with their Continuing Professional Development, it is now more important than ever to insist on continuous training as an essential part of operating within this industry.

With the Estate Agency Affairs Board clamping down on rogue agents, it is now more important than ever to insist on continuous training as an essential part of operating in the real estate industry.

This is the word from Cornel Haskins, sales manager at property company SAProperty.com, who notes that the new Property Practitioners Bill was passed by the National Assembly on 4 December 2018 and has now been sent to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence, and this will change a) the governing body for the real estate industry and b) the way this industry is run - what is important is continued work at upskilling all agents.

There is too high a rate of interns dropping out of the sector because of the lack of training and mentoring, as they often find it daunting to complete either the NQF4 requirements or the log book that the EAAB requires, she says. “Having a good training provider and a company that mentors and supports as well as assists agents with their log books and NQF4, in order to complete and write the PDE exam, is vital.”

Haskins says many do not realise that agencies can partner up with attorneys, who could assist with some of the contractual training or guidance on completing the log book. “In this way, agents get the chance to ask all of their relevant questions, learn of current and changing issues, and can also become re-inspired to be a specialist in their field.”

To become an estate agent there are three major steps: 

- Completing a log book;

- Completing the NQF4 training; and

- Writing the Professional Designation Exam.

Keeping agents’ skills up to date and increasing interns’ knowledge of the industry is a necessity as the real estate sector is forever changing,” says Haskins. “Continuous training helps agents stay motivated and it provides better understanding of the happenings in the sector, as well creating an urge to provide a better service to the clients.”

Rogue agents have given the industry a bad reputation and it is up to the EAAB and estate agencies to employ and empower their agents to be better equipped in order to give the best service possible, she says.

How buyers and sellers can protect themselves

The public can, however, protect themselves and only use registered, qualified agents when buying or selling property, and the first thing to check is whether the agent they intend dealing with has a valid FFC.  All agents should have a Privyseal signature on their emails, websites or social media, which shows a real time validation of their FFC and status (whether principal, full agent, or intern) with the EAAB.

In addition, professional and qualified agents will be able provide references from previous clients if asked as well as a sales track record, to ascertain whether they have been successfully dealing in property and for how long. It is also advisable to check whether the agent specialises in a specific type of property and how long he or she has worked in this industry.

“Buying or selling a home demands a lot of trust in the person dealing with the transaction, as it is possibly the largest asset anyone will ever own,” says Haskins. “Ensure that you vet the agent you deal with properly and not just go to someone you know or a friend of a friend.”


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Topics: Harcourts South Africa, Real Estate Agents, Estate Agent, Estate agent training

Harcourts South Africa growth defies market decline

Apr 18, 2019 9:20:54 PM Share this:

Despite the industry experiencing a decline in year on year sales, March 2019 was Harcourts South Africa's best month since Harcourts started in South Africa in 2009. Boasting 10% growth on the same month last year. In addition, Harcourts South Africa's first quarter was up 11% on the same period in 2018.


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Topics: Richard Gray, Harcourts International, Real Estate Agents, Harcourts Growth, Harcourts Real Estate

Smart Tips for Buying Success

Feb 4, 2019 8:00:00 AM Share this:

Whether you’re looking for your first home or thinking about an investment property or holiday home, the following steps will help you achieve a successful result.

Arrange your finance
Take a good look at how much you will be able to save as a deposit, or how much equity there is in your existing property/ies if you have one. This will give you a good place to start when it comes to deciding what you can afford. A good idea is to then work with a reputable mortgage broker to help you find the best home loan, and interest rate for your circumstances.

Mortgage brokers aren’t aligned with any particular financial institution so they’re really about finding you the best deal. They also don’t eat into your budget, as their commission is paid for by the financial institution you eventually choose. Harcourts can even help you find a mortgage broker in your area through our partners at Mortgage Express.

Select a reputable sales consultant
Looking for a property on your own is fine as a starting point, but when it comes time to dig deeper and really get to know your local area, it pays to work with a knowledgeable local expert and that’s where a great sales consultant comes in.

A sales consultant will be able to support and guide you through the buying process, letting you know the ins and outs associated with purchasing a new home. A local sales consultant should also be an expert on your area, and be able to let you know all about planned infrastructure upgrades, the best local schools, restaurants and where the closest public transport hub is.

But that’s not all, a trained sales consultant can help you with lots of other services that become handy after the buying process, like moving services and utility connection. So its handy to have one guiding you through the process.

Decide on what you want
Your list should include the most important aspects to you right through to the least important. This will also be a valuable guide for your sales consultant. An easy way to break it down is using a ‘must have’ and ‘like to have’ list, so you know what you are willing to compromise on.

Make the most of inspections
Don’t hurry through a property visit. Take your checklist and note down questions while you are there. After viewing a range of properties, you can easily become confused about which house had which feature, so don’t be afraid to take notes!

Manage your offer
Don’t get caught up in the emotion of finding the property you like. Carefully consider issues like fixtures, possession day, price, and consider a builder’s and pest inspection so you know exactly what you are purchasing.

Contact your solicitor
Your solicitor will make sure any unforeseen complications are highlighted through checking official records and information before the deal goes through.

Settlement and moving
Try not to move in on the same day the previous owners are moving out. You may not get access until late afternoon, which can hold up a professional moving company if you are using one and also cause more stress than you need.

Enjoy your property!
It’s been an exciting time looking for the right place, and a well-organised moving day will help everything go smoothly to start you off on the right note.


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Topics: Finance, Real Estate Agents, Buying a home, Harcourts Real Estate

Settling into your new neighbourhood

Dec 31, 2018 8:00:00 AM Share this:

Buying a new home often means moving to a new suburb, city or even country. It may be a new location you chose simply because you loved it, or it maybe it’s where you need to be for work or family. Whatever the reason for your change in location, it can be a little daunting finding ways to get to know the neighbourhood and have it start feeling like home.


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Topics: buying property, Real Estate Agents, Tips for buying, Harcourts Real Estate

Positioning Your Property in the Market

Dec 17, 2018 8:00:00 AM Share this:

When your property first enters the market as a new listing, this is the time it will receive the most interest and enquiry. We call this your premium price opportunity. At Harcourts we believe it is all in the preparation. We can advise you on possible improvements that could increase the value of your property and will have completed through research to help you establish an expectation of price. We will make sure we have prepared every detail of our marketing strategy ready to launch your property to the market at its best during this critical time.


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Topics: Property Markets, Real Estate Agents, Buyers and Sellers, Harcourts Real Estate

Sellers, guard against the dreaded ‘double commission’

Dec 3, 2018 10:00:00 AM Share this:

Home sellers need to take special care now not to expose themselves to the possibility of having to pay a ‘double commission’ when their properties are sold.

If you choose an open mandate, you must insist upfront on a clause in the mandate that specifically provides for commission to be shared in any instance where more than one claim arises.

This warning comes from Gerhard Kotzé, MD of the RealNet estate agency group, who says double commission claims most usually arise when sellers award open mandates, or just allow multiple agents to market their property without a formal mandate, in a misguided effort to broaden its exposure to prospective buyers.

“In such cases, it is easy for a buyer to be introduced to the property by one agent, but to actually conclude a purchase through another - and for confusion and disagreements to arise about which agent was actually the ‘effective cause’ of the sale and entitled to claim the sales commission,” says Kotzé.

“Legal action may eventually be the only way to resolve these disputes, and a recent judgment by the Supreme Court (Wakefields Real Estate v Attree (666/10) [2011] ZASCA 160) underlines the fact that the decision will not automatically go in favour of the agent who finalises the sale. The agent who first showed the buyer a property has in many cases been held to be the effective cause of that sale and entitled to claim commission - even when the home seller had already paid commission to the second agent.”

Over the years, he says, the courts have made it clear that each case has to be considered on its own merits, but have also stuck to the principle that agents should not be able to “reap where they have not sown” - and this has in most instances resulted in the property sellers having to pay a second commission without much recourse except further legal action to try to reclaim the first commission.

“Consequently, it is important for sellers to know how to protect themselves from this possibility - especially in the current slow market, when they may be more desperate to get their property sold and more tempted to have several agents working on it at the same time.”

Kotzé says the most obvious - and safest - way to do this is simply to award a sole mandate to a reputable agency that has the backing of a large national group. “This step not only protects sellers against double commission claims, but also assures them of wide exposure through the group’s referral networks.

“It also stands to reason that agents will work harder to sell those properties on which they hold sole mandates than on those where it is quite possible that another agent could conclude a sale and reap all the reward.”

Kotzé says sellers can also try to obtain indemnity against a double commission claim when there is more than one agent involved in a sale, but that this will only be valid if the agent who was in fact the ‘effective cause’ of the sale grants it - before the sale agreement is signed by themselves and the buyer.

“So in cases where the sellers do decide on an open mandate, they really must insist upfront on a clause in the mandate that specifically provides for commission to be shared in any instance where more than one claim arises. And if they aren’t sure whether they are properly covered, they should ask their own attorney to look the mandate agreement over before they sign it.”


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Topics: Harcourts South Africa, Real Estate Agents, Buyers and Sellers, estate agent commission, Harcourts Real Estate

What should you look for in a sales consultant?

Nov 5, 2018 8:00:00 AM Share this:

Selling a property is one of the most significant financial moves you will ever make, and it is vital you get the best possible price, whether it’s your home, a rental property or even a business or commercial property.


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Topics: Real Estate Agents, Buyers and Sellers, Choose Harcourts

Why should I appoint a Property Manager?

Oct 22, 2018 8:00:00 AM Share this:

It’s important to ask yourself “Do I have a thorough understanding of the Residential Tenancies Act and other associated statutes?” This is a highly specialized aspect of Real Estate and it is fraught with the danger of litigation in almost every task you undertake.

Industry understanding

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A competent Property Manager not only possesses a strong understanding of their role, they continually increase their knowledge of insurance requirements, changes to legislation and industry and market trends to ensure all clients achieve the highest level of service at all times.  Agents are often engaged to pick up the pieces of poorly self managed properties after it has cost the owner countless hours in trying to resolve conflicts with their tenant, not to mention the monetary cost. It’s important to ask yourself “Do I have a thorough understanding of the Residential Tenancies Act and other associated statutes?” This is a highly specialised aspect of real estate and it is fraught with the danger of litigation in almost every task you undertake.  A competent property manager not only possesses a strong understanding of their role, they continually increase their knowledge of insurance requirements, changes to legislation and industry and market trends to ensure all clients achieve the highest level of service at all times.  Agents are often engaged to pick up the pieces of poorly self-managed properties after it has cost the owner countless hours in trying to resolve conflicts with their tenant, not to mention the monetary cost.

Considering managing yourself?

If you are at all considering managing your own investment property then it’s wise to consider the following points:

Do you possess a thorough understanding and knowledge of the Residential Tenancies Act in order to maintain a fair and professional relationship with your tenant? The tenant may be entitled to compensation if you inadvertently breach their rights.

Do you understand a Landlords' obligation under other acts affecting a tenancy? Discrimination, consumer protection, building and other statutes all impact a tenancy.

Are you confident that you know enough about the tenant selection process to ensure that you ask the right questions and receive the right answers before you place a tenant in your valuable asset – this can save untold heartache and frustration for you.

As a private landlord, you may not have the appropriate access to credit control databases and run the risk of putting a tenant into a property without knowing their full credit history.  Often we find that tenants without a good credit history apply for properties that are privately managed as they know they can hide their past problems.

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Topics: Harcourts South Africa, Real Estate Agents, Property Manager

Agency commission debate a product of the economy

Oct 12, 2018 10:24:16 PM Share this:

In recent years the commission of estate agents has been a point of contention, especially within industry circles. In the past few months it has certainly risen to the fore again as a product of economic circumstances which has influenced the demand and value of property in certain key markets, like the major metros and surrounding areas. 


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Topics: Harcourts South Africa, Harcourts Academy, Real Estate Agents, Buyers market, estate agent comission

Real Estate Career: where it can take you!

Aug 27, 2018 8:00:00 AM Share this:

When most people think about what a career in real estate looks like, they think about the nuts and bolts of helping people buy and sell properties.


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Topics: Harcourts Academy, harcourts careers, Real Estate Agents, Career Change