With recent signing of Property Charter, time is right for black people to enter property sector

Maryanne Maina

Maryanne Maina

The property industry contributes more than R480billion to the South African economy. Though there are 78000 estate agents registered in this country, only 6000 are non-white. The government's mandate and focus on affordable housing presents the perfect opportunity for black real estate agents to enter the industry.

Portia Tau-Sekati, chief executive of National Association of Real Estate Agencies (NAREA) said: "Real estate has many opportunities and there are various factors prompting its growth. The government, being the largest owner of property in the country, is striving to ensure that property is affordable for people and is creating channels for the entry of more blacks to work in this industry.

"The Property Charter, signed in March by the government, gives black people the opportunity to penetrate, transform and develop this market, thus creating more opportunities for the people. This means that there are more affordable houses to sell and we need people to sell these houses."

NAREA works to ensure practical implementation of the Property Charter. It also protects estate agents by keeping them up-to-date on relevant industry legislation and informing them of existing opportunities.

To promote skills development, the organisation puts students in this field in touch with various companies to take advantage of internship opportunities.

"We have initiated and are committed to driving a transformation programme that will ensure that previously disadvantaged people know and understand the opportunities in the real estate industry.

"Additionally, we are educating and driving awareness and comprehensive understanding of the Property Charter and its intent. Also, we are ensuring that we get a number of non-white estate agents to enter the industry," said Tau- Sekati.

"Lack of employees is a major challenge. Also, the fact that the salary is commission-based makes many people quite undecided about this career. But we are working towards changing the payment structures," she said.

So what does it take to work as a real estate agent?

There are various qualifications available such as a bachelors degree in real estate management, which could be supplemented by a masters degree in real estate.

A aspirant estate agent needs to have excellent selling skills, be a good listener, have effective organisational and planning skills, enjoy taking risks and have the ability to multitask.