Bill Rawson punts estate agency careers
Although more than half a million jobs are said to have been lost in SA since the onset of the late 2007/early 2008 credit crunch, relatively few middle class unemployed people these days consider becoming estate agents, says Bill Rawson, Chairman of Rawson Properties.

“During the boom years we had literally hundreds of applicants coming to us for training. Now the perception seems to be that a person has to be really exceptional to crack it as an estate agent,” said Rawson. “Many people, having done one job for a decade or more underestimate their skills and do not see that they have abilities and talents which could be useful in property.”

The range of opportunities in the property sector is wide, said Rawson. Even in the current difficult conditions there are openings in property development, property investment, property management, office administration, bond finance and other fields as well as sales. For those with management or entrepreneurial experience, a franchised agency can give an excitement, a flexible lifestyle and rewards not easily found elsewhere.

“The big objection to property work is often that you are on duty over weekends or in the evening, when others are relaxing. However, it is exactly this factor that makes it possible for the energetic, self-motivated person to earn an above-average income – and to do his own thing when others are at the grindstone.”

The current slowdown, said Rawson, has less than a year to run.

“Now, while conditions are still tough, is, therefore, the time to get in and learn the business – the rewards will be there down the line.”

Asked just how much competition there is now in the property marketing sector, Rawson said that at its high point the Estate Agency Affairs Board had 96 000 registered agents. This had dropped to a low point of 35 000 and is now standing at 42 000. However, he said, it is quite possible that as many as 10 000 registered agents are either wholly or partially inactive – and the NQF4 training, which will soon be obligatory, will by 2012 deplete further the numbers of those able to operate legally as agents.

“The field is, therefore, wide open – within the foreseeable future it is likely that there will in fact be too few agents and that they will be able to hold out for better fees and more equitable conditions because competition will be less stiff.”

Footnote: Rawson Properties’ northern region has just sold eleven new franchises since the start of this year, a figure matched by the southern region for the same period – an indication that some people are taking Rawson’s message seriously.

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