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Estate Agent

What does an Estate Agent do?

Estate agents market and sell property for clients, negotiating between buyers and sellers. They use their knowledge of the local property market to get the best price for the seller. Estate agents are employed by estate (letting) agencies, banks and building societies. Self-employment is an alternative option for experienced people who are capable of starting a new business. A large proportion of the work involves liaison with clients and other organisations, such as mortgage companies or firms of solicitors.

An estate agent’s work includes:

  • viewing properties and taking photos and measurements
  • advising clients about the buying and selling process
  • valuing properties
  • marketing and advertising properties for sale
  • showing potential buyers around properties
  • negotiating a price that is acceptable to the buyer and the seller
  • arranging conveyancing (legal sale and purchase documents).

A large part of the work involves residential sales, but in some agencies you could also deal with commercial property, lettings, property management and auctions.


What qualifications do I need?

A degree is not required to become an estate agent, but strong competition often makes relevant experience and/or qualifications necessary. A degree in an appropriate subject such as marketing, business, property studies or real estate can be helpful. Estate agents and agencies are required by law to obtain a Fidelity Fund Certificate from the Estate Agency Affairs Board. One way to qualify for this certificate is to write the Estate Agents Board Examination, having participated in courses held throughout the year. Another way is to work an internship under the active supervision of a principal agent or under an appropriately experienced estate agent. Some estate agencies offer on-the-job training for estate agents. Training is also available from the Institute of Estate Agents of South Africa. Once qualified, estate agents must register with the Board as a professional estate agent in order to practice legally. It is also important to attend courses on an ongoing basis in order to keep up to date with property laws.

What subjects do I need?

Contact each institution for their specific requirements, but these subjects are recommended: 
• Languages
• Economics
• Business Studies
• Accounting


Where can I study?

University of the Witwatersrand
Bachelor of Science: Property Studies

National Diploma: Real Estate

University of Johannesburg
National Diploma: Real Estate

University of Cape Town
Bachelor of Science: Property Studies

Where can I get more info?

Institute of Estate Agents of South Africa – www.ieasa.org.za
Estate Agency Affairs Board – www.eaab.org.za


Interview with an Estate Agent

Krystal Kolnik | ESTATE AGENT | Jawitz Properties

Krystal Kolnik | ESTATE AGENT | Jawitz Properties


Why did you choose this profession?
It was a sequence of events… my father was (and still is) in real estate 13 years ago and a high-profile client of his suggested that I would make a good agent. I shrugged it off as I thought I wasn’t a people person and that estate agents were uncool, floral-dress-wearing, dumpy old ladies! As it turns out, I popped into my father’s office one day and one of his colleagues was in the process of starting her own company. My father introduced me to my new boss. She must have seen my potential, because she took me on at a mere 23 years old. At that stage there were very few agents under 50. She shared her wealth of knowledge; I shadowed her, observed her negotiation and valuing skills, and soon became a fully-fledged agent. It was difficult at first to get people to trust me with their most prized possession, but with determination I cracked into the market and slowly changed the face of the industry, proving that there was a place for young professionals.

What training did you undergo?
At the time I got into the industry there were two ways to qualify, either working under a qualified agent for a year before signing contracts alone, or doing the board exam. Today it’s a little more complicated, as they have recently made it a minimum requirement to get an NQF4 level and provide a portfolio of evidence proving competency. We constantly have ongoing training and legal updates to stay abreast of all the economic and legal changes in the industry. The most prestigious training I did was a Top Gun course for only the most productive agents. It was intensive, but highly beneficial to my overall performance.

What makes a ‘good’ estate agent?
It definitely helps to be confident and outgoing, and to enjoy people. You don’t earn a set wage – it is all commission-based, which can be a little stressful.

Describe your typical day
I don’t have set hours and I don’t have to report to anyone about how I spend the day, which is a wonderful plus. I do like to keep my own structure though, so I aim at heading to the office by about 9:30am. I call all my clients and set up my appointments for the day, work until 12pm, fetch my kids for lunch and then get back to work at 2pm. I will then either catch up with office work – like preparing valuations – or take clients out to see homes, or do any listing appointments I have set up. Every day is different and I work until about 5pm.

What do you like most?
I truly love my job. I enjoy the fact that it offers so much diversity and has unlimited earning potential, that my day is so flexible and that I don’t have to report to anyone. I feel like I work for myself but have the backing of my company.

Has there been a highlight for you?
I am a highly competitive person so the highlights for me are when I have won awards! Last year I scooped a Chairman’s Award for the second-highest units sold in the country on behalf of Jawitz Properties.

Any advice for rookie agents?
Persevere; it can be tough in the beginning. Do the groundwork, make those telecanvassing calls, knock on doors, do the show houses, set goals, and before you know it you will be signing your first mandate and selling your first house.