Cape disadvantage areas now have many good agents

Those who believe that the real estate agencies serving the less affluent areas in Greater Cape Town are more informal and less professional than their big brand rivals in the prestige suburbs simply have not appreciated how radically these organisations have changed - and this, says Ivan Neethling, Chairman of the Western Cape Institute of Estate Agents, is due largely to the training programmes promoted by the Institute over the last few years. These, he said, have established new benchmarks which all estate agencies in these areas have had to try and achieve.

When his own estate agency, StartProp, opened their first branch in 2006, said Neethling, he realised that these areas were often serviced in an unprofessional manner with little training and development of estate agents.

“We knew that if we could operate ethically, respecting our clients, giving them the attention they deserved and applying the systems used by the big branded agencies we simply had to succeed because very few agencies in these areas were operating in that way,” said Neethling. “Many measures have now become standard practice in the agencies serving the Cape Flats.”

Among the practices of the big agencies adopted by Cape Flats agencies, said Neethling, has been an insistence that training must be carried out in every branch for at least two hours per week and sponsoring ongoing effective advertising.

Neethling says that the long awaited upswing in the housing sector could begin to materialise from the end of this year onwards and, he predicts, it will definitely be boosted not only by lower interest rates but by the excitement surrounding the 2010 World Soccer Cup. A complete revival, however, he repeated, depends on the banks in some way accessing and making available more bond finance.

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