SA estate agency sector moving into a better trained era


The South African estate agency world is now moving into an era in which ongoing, structured training will raise the level of professionalism across the face of South Africa.

This was one of the major improvements listed by Bill Rawson in a recently completed summary of his four and a half years as President of the Institute of Estate Agents.

Huge steps forward in training can now be expected, said Rawson, because the Estate Agency Affairs Board has come to round backing training completely.

'This is a major breakthrough '“ the Board now recognises the need continually to uplift standards and this will have far reaching effects'.

In the training, said Rawson, there are two clear challenges. The first is to ensure that all agents become computer literate and the second is to see that they are kept abreast of property legislation, which, said Rawson, these days changes with bewildering frequency and has become increasingly complicated.

Surveys taken by the IEASA, the EAAB and Property24 had shown that the typical South African estate agent is now 47 years old and has been in property for six years. He understands how to use a PC but does not get anything like the maximum benefit from it '“ and this is a major weakness.

'This failure to keep IT literate means that he or she is denied access to the latest information and is not communicating with clients and colleagues nearly as effectively as is today possible,' said Rawson, 'but the training now being put in place will remedy this'

The Institute, said Rawson, will never be an easy body to lead because 'quite rightly' its members operate on completely democratic lines.

'Those large players who would like to control the industry, have to appreciate that the regions, in particular, prize their independence and that 50% of the estate agency world is made up of small '˜moms and pops businesses. Successful estate agents have usually survived in the tough property environment because they are independent entrepreneurs - and always will be. Big guns coming in from large agencies have to accept that their success and status does not overawe Institute members '“ indeed, it can even be a cause for distrust. I like to think, however, that I did appreciate this early on, partly because my own franchise system is made up largely of small operations'

The Institute, said Rawson, has many passionate supporters who every day of their lives go the extra mile on behalf of the 8,000 Institute members and who do this on a voluntary unpaid basis.
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