IEASA membership now a ‘must’ for serious agents

Any agents who want to call themselves professionals in future will have to belong to the Institute of Estate Agents (IEASA).

That’s the unequivocal word from IEASA national president Dr Willie Marais, who also says that the current apathy among agents about issues that could seriously affect their livelihood and their future needs to change drastically.

Speaking at the recent IEASA national conference, he said: “The Estate Agency Affairs Board has made it plain that it wishes real estate to be regarded as a profession and not just as an amorphous industry. But that would presuppose that every agent belonged to a professional association – as doctors, lawyers and engineers do.

“And IEASA is currently the only organization recognized to fulfill that role. Consequently, the time is coming when agents who wish to be recognized as professionals will have to belong to IEASA - and those who don’t will be beyond the pale.”

As it was, Marais said, it was shocking that only one in six of the agents currently active belonged to the institute, and that the rest were content to always leave it up to a handful of people to look after their interests and those of everyone else in the profession.

“They are also, one must infer, none too concerned about professional standards and that is a major worry for us. It is time for this to stop, and especially time now for the major real estate groups to show the way and insist that all their agents become members of IEASA – or better still, facilitate that membership. Between these groups we could quickly get to a very representative 15 000 to 20 000 members, and that would enable the institute to also give back more to members, especially in the realm of training.”

He says training, which is now compulsory, is going to become a significant cost factor for agents – and a matter of increasing concern to agents serious about their careers. They are going to need a professional association to give them a say in how the standards are set for that training and how they are monitored and upheld. IEASA takes the hands-on approach to educational matters and currently has representatives on no less than seven SSETA and NQF boards to ensure that constructive input is given on behalf of its membership.

Meanwhile, IEASA is currently addressing some other challenges too, including a shortage of management resources and difficulties in communicating with both members and consumers.

“We would like to see both national and regional management in the hands of full-time staff members and we would like to develop some new avenues of communication we have in mind, but to a large extent these aims also depend on having sufficient membership numbers and revenues,” Marais notes.

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