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Sector Spotlight: Estate Agents

As foreign investors infiltrate South Africa’s property market, sales are on the rise, making it an ideal time to set up shop.

Whether you plan to sell homes, luxury properties or work in the commercial sector, consider starting your business online to get a better grasp of the market. You should also have experience in the industry and extensive local knowledge. 

Facts and figures

  • There are roughly 36,000 registered estate agents across the country
  • All agents must be registered with the Estate Agency Affairs Board; a government body that regulates and controls certain activities of estate agents
  • The average commission on selling a property is between 4 to 8%
  • The county’s largest estate agents include: Aida, ERA, Homenet, Nationlink, Pam Golding, Rawson, REMAX and Seeff Property Services
  • Despite earning less, women are buying more residential properties than men
  • More foreign investors are buying residential properties in South Africa; with an annual quarterly increase of 20%


Essential skills

Do you plan to start off solo, or will you hire a team? If so, you need to have great HR and training skills to motivate your staff to hit their sales targets. Finding and nurturing talent within your business will go a long way in the real estate sector.

Local knowledge on the area and surrounding locations is also imperative; you need to know the demographics of local neighbourhoods to help your clients make informed decisions. You also need to understand the operating regulations in different areas. 

Other skills that will help you go far in the real estate industry are integrity, passion, communication and persistence. You should have realistic goals and clear strategies in place to grow your business; be organised and review your targets regularly.


Client relationships

Be honest with your clients through all stages of the selling process. Homeowners will do their research before they list their property with an agent, so your reputation is important; ask customers for their testimonials to boost your referrals and status. 

You can tarnish your career if you are dishonest or unethical. Buyers and sellers won’t work with an estate agent who has a dubious reputation or is known to be sloppy or a slow worker. Remember – a bad reputation can be hard to shake.

Follow up on leads and request feedback from your clients; this will help you know how to improve the business and services you offer. You also need to be able to negotiate all aspects of a deal so that both parties are happy with the outcome.


Embrace technology

You will need to be a dab-hand at accessing sales reports, filtering and managing data and managing employee schedules. Spend time researching the different online tools and Apps and find a user-friendly system that will work well for your business.

Integrated communication platforms will help boost cohesion between employees who work from home and those who are office-based. Virtual reality is being used on more agency websites to help buyers view properties online and avoid timewasters.

You should keep a categorised list of contacts so you can tailor your property sales to possible buyers. If technology isn’t your forte, it may be worth attending classes or booking one-on-one tuition to gain skills and keep your business up to speed.  

Krystena Griffin

About the author

Krystena Griffin writes for all titles in the Dynamis stable including, and as well as other industry publications.