Advice and Opinion

Are real estate qualifications a hinderance?

With the property industry representing approximately 8% of South Africa’s GDP, this creates a huge employment opportunity for school or college leavers, which is not being taken advantage of in the way it should be, says Lanice Steward, managing director of Knight Frank Anne Porter. 

Younger people nowadays are quite happy to study for long periods and understand that they are required to pay for any post matric qualification, she said, but often don’t realise that the real estate model affords the intern the opportunity to earn while learning, which in most other careers cannot be done.

“Admittedly,” said Steward, “unless the company is able to procure a SSETA scholarship which will enable them to pay the intern a small basic salary, the intern will have to fund himself for approximately six months. This is usually when the first commission will come through if he has sold a property after three months in the industry. If he has not sold a property in the first six months there might be a problem.”

This is of particular relevance in the emerging informal settlement market, she said.

Both the development and second hand markets are increasingly growing at the lower end of the housing market, she said. This will be escalated once the title deeds in these areas have been formalised and given to the rightful owners of properties by the provincial governments (along with education on how to look after this investment) and the banks realise what the potential of this market could be.

Transformation in the property industry, she said, which has been predominantly white until now, should follow and this will create jobs and wealth for the owners of all of those township properties which have up until now had no formal ownership system.

The qualifications being introduced to become an estate agent protects the consumer as it ensures that agents will be properly trained. These qualifications are not a barrier to the industry, good training is necessary in all careers and ensures that the well qualified agent is able to serve his client professionally, she said.

“In property transactions huge sums of money are paid over, this is probably the biggest single financial investment any person will make in their lives and it is right that those dealing with the procurement of large investments must have the proper training and qualifications.

“The real estate industry is the only one where you are being educated while being paid, so this opportunity should be taken advantage of by those who are thinking about what career to follow on leaving school,” she said.

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