Higher educational standards will transform industry

Another executive in the Cape Peninsula residential property marketing sector has gone on record as saying that the general public still has not grasped just how thorough the comprehensive training for estate agents has become – and what a radical change this is making in the quality of those now able to join the industry.

Marion Taylor, Greeff Properties director for the Atlantic Seaboard, who has had 28 years experience in property marketing, said this week that the NQF4 examination for agents calls for real commitment and is already deterring the move-around job hopper, who formerly “gave property a try” for a year or two, trying to enter this work sector.

“There can now be no doubt that the higher educational standards will transform the image and reputation of agents,” said Taylor. “We are moving into an era in which the job will become sought after and highly respected.”

Taylor said that many years of watching agents in action had shown that the old maxim, “Eight out of ten agents are not really suited to the job” is regrettably true.

“The attrition rate in the first two years is about 80%,” she said, “and only just over 10% last longer than five years. This is not an easy occupation.”

What is frequently not recognised, she said, is that the successful agent has to be able to talk to the client on an equal footing.

“If it is clear early on that the agent lacks vital information, has no business experience or comes from a wholly different background, it is highly unlikely that the client will entrust so important a matter as the purchase or sale of a property to him or her – this job is all about confidence and credibility.”

Good agents, said Taylor, know their market – they study all sales in the area and can produce a comparative market analysis at any time.

This coupled to in-depth knowledge of the area in which the agent operates is vital to success in this field.

Agents, said Taylor, need excellent language skills, intelligence and sufficiently strong personalities to be able to enable clients to see things from a different perspective and have confidence. They also have to have the necessary accounting knowledge and to be up to date with the ever changing property laws. They must also be tough enough to live with constant rejection which is an integral factor in property sales.

“Unlike most agents in the UK and Europe,” said Taylor, “SA agents stay with the sale from the marketing through to the transfer. They are in fact, responsible for the price negotiation, the drawing up and signing of the sales agreement which, when handed to the conveyancer should be a fully completed and legally binding agreement of sale. In most other countries the attorney is involved with both parties to conclude the transaction. I am often told by our foreign purchasers how impressed they are by the transactional process in South Africa.

The anticipated shortage of estate agents in the near future and the ongoing need for mentorship training will, says Taylor, make it essential for qualified agents to take on and educate trainees.

“Principals of real estate agencies will need to encourage their agents to do this, I anticipate that many of the qualified agents may be unwilling to assist in this way as it could interfere with their own sales performance and income. The industry could soon have only 13 000 agents. In the near future, the Board will not be allowed to register any agent without qualifications – hence the expectation that there will soon be a serious shortage and that the whole profile of estate agents is about to change.”

Article by: www.Greeff.co.za