How to Become an Estate Agent

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26 Oct 2012

There have been many enquiries from members of the public who have asked how to become estate agents, says Dianne Brock, general manager of the Institute of Estate Agents, Western Cape

The first thing to do, Brock says, would be to find an internship with a compliant real estate company. This company must hold a valid, current Fidelity Fund Certificate (FFC) from the Estate Agency Affairs Board, which is their licence to trade.

“Although it is not an easy job to do, it can be incredibly rewarding,” says Brock. 

The first thing to do, she says, would be to find an internship with a compliant real estate company. This company must hold a valid, current Fidelity Fund Certificate (FFC) from the Estate Agency Affairs Board, which is their licence to trade. 

Estate agents’ internships run for one year with no break in the term and if the intern is absent for more than 30 days they will be required to work another 45 days on top of the period they missed. The interns are mentored by qualified agents with a minimum of three years’ experience who have acquired their NQF4 or NQF5 qualifications.    

Interns must apply to the Estate Agency Affairs Board for their Intern FFC. This should be done as soon as the intern starts working for an estate agency. This is important as the date of issue of the Intern Fidelity Fund Certificate indicates the 1st day of the twelve month period of the internship. 

In order to complete the NQF Level 4 in Real Estate qualification, candidates must register with an accredited training provider. The NQF Level 4 Real Estate qualification is outcome based and no other formal qualification is required to register for the qualification. The Institute of Estate Agents, Western Cape offers this course through accredited training academies. The course is offered at the Institute’s training centre in Pinelands which includes lectures and assignments as well as building up a Portfolio of Evidence/log book.  

This course runs concurrently with the one year internship, says Brock. The content ratio of the internship is 30% theoretical and 70% practical. The approximate cost to attend the course such as this is between R9 000 to R16 000, depending on which training provider the intern chooses. Using a well-known and recognised training provider is very important, she says. 

On completing the twelve month practical internship and NQF Level 4 Real Estate theoretical section, which should take more or less six months to complete, the candidate will hand the assignments, portfolio and log book to be assessed and if these are found to be complete, these will then be externally moderated. 

If the intern is deemed to be competent the Services SETA will issue a certificate of competency. Once the intern estate agent has received his certificate, the EAAB Level 4 Professional Designation Exam (PDE) must be written. The candidate has three years from registration as an intern estate agent in which to do so. After writing and passing the exam (with 60% or more) a Full Status Fidelity Fund Certificate will be issued by The EAAB and the candidate is then recognised as a fully-fledged estate agent. 

“This is a full time commitment in training and work experience,” says Brock. “The good news is that although you are not a qualified agent, if you work as an intern with a valid Intern FFC, it is still possible to earn commission. You should, however, have at least six to nine months’ capital to cover your expenses as sales made can take three to six months to register. Commission is only paid out on registration of the property sale in the Deeds Office.” 

Anyone can become an estate agent but there are some exclusions. These are: 

  • any person who has at any time by reason of improper conduct been dismissed from a position of trust;
  • any person who has at any time been convicted of any offence involving an element of dishonesty; and
  • any person who is an insolvent and who has not yet been rehabilitated. 

Brock holds a career evening once a month at their Pinelands, Cape Town training centre to address the various questions prospective estate agents may have regarding qualifications and becoming an agent. The next Career Evening will be held on 14th November and those interested can book with Farah at or 021 531 3180. 

For those outside the Western Cape, visit

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