Big game hunter now hunts down property sales

FORMER big game hunter, who tracked lion and leopard over vast tracts of land across Zimbabwe, turned his skills to real estate in one of South Africa’s premier franchises – and recently won a national award.

Anton Coetzee , who works in partnership with the Pam Golding East London area principal Hanlie Bassingthwaighte , was judged the National Franchise Agent of the Year.

He also excelled on a regional level within the group, winning four awards – Highest Number of Units Sold, Highest Total Commission Value, Highest Average Negotiated Commission Percentage, and Agent of the Year .

Born in Bulawayo in Zimbabwe, Coetzee grew up in South Africa and completed his schooling in Pretoria. He then left for the land of his birth and started a safari hunting business, where he was ranked the best dangerous game hunter for two years straight, in 2000 and 2001, by the Zimbabwean Professional Hunters and Guide Association.

But, when the hunting industry changed, along with the concept of fair chase, Coetzee made an ethical decision and moved back to South Africa with his wife and two daughters. “I decided that I didn’t want to live in a big city and was fortunate that my brother had already settled in East London. We had often come down for holidays here, and I just fell in love with the place.”

Coetzee worked in East London as a sales manager, but was head-hunted by Bassingthwaighte. “She approached me about four years ago and asked me if I would be interested in selling property developments, which was where the market was growing back then. Although I had never sold property before I said why not, and haven’t looked back since.”

Coetzee said it all came down to the way you dealt with people. “When you spend 21 days in the bush with affluent people, day and night, you learn a lot about dealing with people.”

Coetzee said selling homes was much the same, especially in a declining market when people were often forced to sell as a result of circumstance, rather than by choice.

“You need to be able to deal with people and be honest in your approach,” he said.

Coetzee said when the industry slowed down, he refocused on selling second homes rather than developments.

“There is no day that is the same in this industry; it’s extremely exciting and I still get a buzz from it.”

Talking about making it through the recession, Coetzee said there were very few industries where people knew exactly how much you earned.

“What many people don’t realise, though, is the expenses that estate agents incur, and in the current economic climate we are working twice as hard for half the turnover.

“It’s a very small portion of the overall commission that ends up in my back pocket.”

And his future plans?

“I’m planning on being in the property game for a long time to come. There is a lot of scope here and it’s just a question of being able to adapt to the changing market conditions.”

Article by: DERRICK SPIES - www.dispatch.co.za