Gone are the days when a real estate agent was someone with a pulse, a car, and a cell phone. The industry has come a long way over the past 7 years. Changes in legislation require than estate agents now need to be qualified as professionals.
By the end of this year most estate agents would have qualified as full-status agents under the new legislation. They will be in possession of an NQF 4 or NQF 5 qualification, as well as having passed their PDE exam with the Estate Agency Affairs board, or obtaining an exemption.
New agents, called Interns, will be put through a lengthy mentorship whilst they obtain their qualifications. But what does this all mean for the public?
It means that, when you work with a qualified estate agent, you should be working with someone who gives you the correct advice and has a high minimum level of knowledge. But be careful to ensure your agent is qualified. If in doubt, log on to http://www.eaag.org.za and search for the agent and their company to ensure they are correctly licensed.
As with most other professions it is necessary to enroll in a “continuing professional development” (CPD) program. The Estate Agency Affairs Board has prescribed that all full-status agents and principals enroll and commence with the program this year. This hasn’t been met with much excitement from estate agents.
It’s not so much the need to continuous training. It makes perfect sense that estate agents need to be kept informed of changes to the industry and related law. The benefits for agent and customer alike are clear.
The problem that estate agents in general have is the current inability of the EAAB to provide this prescribed training. As the legislation stands, 75% of the training currently may only be provided by the EAAB, and the other 25% by other institutions or through various personal development processes.
You can appreciate the concern of estate agents when the EAAB doesn’t have it’s own house in order. The issuing of Fidelity Fund Certificates (the license an agent needs to trade) is a debacle, with endless delays, missing certificates, and the like.
It’s not uncommon to send dozens of emails and leave scores of messages, without even the courtesy of a response. This is the experience of many over the last decade or so, despite the genuine efforts by some, including the CEO Bryan Chaplog, to improve things. Whilst the intentions are good – the execution leaves much to be desired.
Most recently the EAAB has instituted additional annual fees for agents and principals to cover the cost of their annual CPD. Most are paying under protest and will watch with interest to see if the EAAB can deliver the necessary CPD training that will, no doubt, be of benefit to agent and consumer alike.
Principal of Harcourts Platinum, and Director of Harcourts South Africa
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