Continuous development and training obligatory for property professionals

With the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) clamping down on agents in the property industry who have not renewed or ever applied for their fidelity fund certificates (FFCs), as well as disqualifying agents for non-compliance with their continuing professional development, it is now more important than ever to insist on continuous training as an essential part of operating within this industry, says Cornel Haskins, sales manager at property company SAProperty.com.

“The new Property Practitioners Bill was passed by the National Assembly in December 2018 and has now been sent to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence. This piece of legislation will change the governing body for the real estate industry as well as the way this industry is run. And while agents wait for the bill to be enacted, what is important is continued work at upgrading skills of all agents,” says Haskins.

“There is also a high rate of interns dropping out of the sector because of the lack of training and mentoring, as they often find it daunting to complete either the NQF4 requirements or the log book that the EAAB requires.

“Having a good training provider and a company that mentors and supports and helps the agents with their log books and NQF4 is vital, in order to complete and write the PDE exam.”

She says many people don’t realise that agencies can partner with attorneys, who could help with some of the contractual training or guidance on completing the log book. In this way, agents get the chance to ask all their relevant questions, learn of current and changing issues, and can also become re-inspired to be specialists in their field.

There are three major steps to becoming an estate agent:

  • Completing a log book.
  • Completing the NQF4 training.
  • Writing the Professional Designation Exam.

Keeping agents’ skills up to date and increasing interns’ knowledge of the industry is a necessity as the real estate sector is forever changing. Continuous training helps agents stay motivated and it provides better understanding of the happenings in the sector, as well creating an urge to provide a better service to the clients, says Haskins.

“Rogue agents have given the industry a bad reputation and it is up to the EAAB and estate agencies to employ and empower their agents to be better equipped in order to give the best service possible,” she says.

The public can, however, protect themselves and only use registered, qualified agents when buying or selling property, and the first thing to check is whether the agent they intend dealing with has a valid FFC. All agents should have Privyseal signatures on their emails, websites or social media, which show a real time validation of their FFC and status – whether they are principals, full agents, or interns- with the EAAB.

In addition, professional and qualified agents will be able to provide references from previous clients if asked as well as a sales track record, to ascertain whether they have been successfully dealing in property and for how long. It is also advisable to check whether agents specialise in a specific type of property and how long they have worked in this industry.

“Buying or selling a home demands a lot of trust in the person dealing with the transaction, as it is possibly the biggest asset anyone will ever own. Ensure that you vet the agent you deal with properly and don’t just go to someone you know or a friend of a friend,” says Haskins.

Call Cornel Haskins on 076 130 5758 or email cornel@saproperty.com.