How to become a real estate agent in South Africa - 5 steps | Legal Articles


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How to become a real estate agent in South Africa - 5 steps

In order for a real estate agent to become qualified to earn a commission on sales made, a certain process must be followed.

how to become a real estate agent in south africa

Part of this process is undergoing sufficient education and training, making it harder to become a real estate agent than ever before.

Before anyone embarks on the journey of becoming an estate agent, there are certain aspects that must be known.

Who needs a real estate qualification?

Anyone who:

  • Buys property as a profession
  • Is selling property as a profession
  • Puts any property up for sale or to let on show for public viewing
  • Canvasses for a lessor or lessee of for property rental
  • Receives or collects money on behalf of a lease of immovable property or business
  • Provides any related service specified by the Minister of Human Settlements in the government gazette

Cost of becoming a real estate agent

Fees are applicable to any professional qualification. The cost of becoming a real estate agent is a total of R25 000.00 and are not required as a lump sum. This amount may be divided and paid in parts at different stages of the process

Requirements of becoming a real estate agent

A 12-month internship needs to be completed by the real estate intern during which he or she is mentored by an experienced estate agent. During this internship, an ongoing record of all the completed tasks and particular experienced gained by the intern is kept and given to the intern.

  • A detailed logbook of activities must be completed and maintained by the intern and signed off by the supervisor or mentor who is overseeing the internship.
  • The logbook is compulsory and no intern is exempt from completing it

Additionally, the intern is required to achieve their Further Education and Training Certificate (FETC) in Real Estate. This is done through an accredited provider who must issue a certificate of competence from the Services Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) and is an NQF Level 4 qualification.

  • The intern gains 150 credits with this qualification which is equivalent to 1500 study hours, known as notional hours which are needed to complete the course.
  • If the intern has completed at least 8 months of the 12-month internship they may begin the FETC NQF 4 qualification so as to complete the two concurrently
  • Should the intern already have a diploma or degree in particular areas, they may apply for exemption from the FETC.
  • As the last requirement, the real estate intern is required to write and successfully pass the Professional Designate Exam (PDE) once they have been found competent in their NQF 4 portfolio of evidence. This approval is done by the Services SETA.
  • Once an intern has been issued with a fidelity fund certificate (FFC), the intern has 2 years in which to successfully complete the PDE level 4. This upgrades the intern’s status upgrade to full-status non-principal estate agent.
  • No intern will be exempt from writing the PDE exam

Becoming a principal real estate agent requires an agent to extend their education and found competent in NQF level 5 as well as PDE level 5. Being a principal member allows the agent to own and run their own real estate business.

The entire process from internship to qualified agent takes between two and three years and between three and four years to become a principal agent.

The intern is permitted to sell property during this time. However, any legal documentation such as contracts or mandates may only be signed off in the presence of a full-status or principal agent.

An intern who has completed the PDE 4 are registered as a Professional Practitioner in Real Estate (PPRE) (PDE 4). An intern who has completed the PDE 5 is registered as a Master Practitioner in Real Estate (MPRE) (PDE 5).

5 Steps to becoming a qualified real estate agent in South Africa

1. Apply for an internship at a registered estate agency

Any person who wishes to become a real estate agent in South Africa is required to complete a 12-month internship under the supervision of a full-status or principal estate agent who has been in possession of a fidelity fund certificate for a minimum of 3 years.

Regardless of any other qualification the intern or supervisor may hold, a mentor-apprentice relationship is created. The potential intern must still go through the interview process before the internship is granted.

2. Registration with the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB)

Once an internship is granted, registering as an intern estate agent is the next step. This registration provides the intern with their intern FFC. The following must be provided when applying for registration with the EAAB:

  • Completed application form
  • Certified copy of valid identification
  • If a foreign citizen, a valid work permit
  • Proof of payment for registration
  • An official letter of employment which is printed on a letterhead and signed by the principal agent of the firm

3. Completion of the 12-month internship

A 12-month internship is obligatory and will commence of the date of the first issue of their FFC. This internship will serve as a means to equip the intern with the necessary theoretical as well as practical knowledge required for the workplace environment and to successfully practice within the real estate sector.

The following areas of the sector must be covered in a practical manner:

  • Law
  • Finance
  • Marketing
  • Management
  • Industry
  • Paralegal
  • Administration

The intern is obliged to complete and maintain a detailed logbook which records all activities. The supervisor or mentor must sign these activities off. The following activities must be completed and recorded:

  • Completion of inspections
  • Completed listings
  • Mandates negotiated
  • Arranged show houses
  • Property values established
  • Concluded lease/sales contracts
  • Agendas for meetings or trainings attended
  • Proof of time sheets
  • Completion of NQF level 4 through an accredited provider

This qualification provides the intern with 150 points which are equivalent to 1500 hours. The following topics are covered:

  • Code of conduct and Estate Agency Affairs Act
  • Legal environment – acts and contracts
  • Real estate product and services
  • Financial process FICA/accounting/tax
  • Marketing, selling, leasing of immovable property
  • Administration systems of estate agencies
  • Paralegal environment

The following are criteria for the NQF 4 qualification:

  • The candidate is required to be found competent in the outcomes based NQF level 4 Real Estate.
  • 30% of studying time must be spent in the classroom with the rest in their own time.
  • Successful completion within 2 years
  • Portfolio of evidence (PoE)

When an applicant applies for exemption, the following must be provided, among other things, along with the PoE:

  • Completed application form for exemption
  • A valid copy of identity document
  • A full curriculum vita
  • Original or certified copies of their qualifications

4. Write and successfully pass the Professional Designate Exam (PDE4)

After completing at least 8 months of the internship, the intern estate agent may apply to take their PDE4 exam with the EAAB. Once the intern has successfully submitted the logbook and PoE, enrolment for the PDE4 exam may commence.

Registration as a full-status agent may not take place unless the exam has been passed. A minimum of 65% is required to pass the exam.

5. Continuous Professional Development (CPD) in Real Estate

Although the concept of CPD is not old and has been practiced in many professional industries, but the real estate industry is following suit.

CPD is facilitated by the EAAB and is done so through road shows and conferences presented across the country. The themes of these seminars will highlight whatever is relevant at the time in terms of updates, amendments and new legislation.

Continuous professional development allows all registered estate agents to stay up to date with the industry and all its regulations as well as acts and laws.

60 CPD points are required for each real estate agent over a period of 3 years. These points are equivalent to 60 hours of training.

Property attorneys in South Africa – Van Deventer & Van Deventer Incorporated

Van Deventer & Van Deventer Incorporated will assist you every step of the way to becoming a qualified estate agent. Our focus on quality training, legal expertise and professionalism will equip you properly for your estate agent career.

Contact our property lawyers in Johannesburg for assistance with the process of becoming a real estate agent or other matters related to property law in South Africa.


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