Please note that you are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer which is not compatible with some elements of the site. We strongly urge you to update to a newer version for optimal browsing experience.

Why you must work with a certified estate agent

04 Oct 2016

Property consumers need to become more aware of the dangers of doing business with unqualified and uncertified estate agents.

Every consumer who intends to have any business dealings with a person claiming to be an estate agent should first ask that person to produce proof that they have an NQF4 level qualification in real estate, and for a valid Fidelity Fund Certificate that is no more than a year old.

“Time and again we read and hear about unfortunate members of the public who have supposedly been taken for a ride by an estate agent, but in the great majority of these cases it turns out that the person was actually just someone masquerading as an agent – not actually an agent at all – showing that many consumers don’t know enough about how to tell the difference,” says Stoffel Janse van Rensburg, Rawson Property Group franchisee for the Vaal area.

Van Rensburg says recent scams have included fake sales, in which the bogus agents have pretended to sell stands in non-existent developments and disappeared with all the buyers’ deposits, fake rentals where con-artists have also just collected as many deposits as possible from prospective tenants or holidaymakers before disappearing, and the theft of money from sectional title body corporate accounts by unregistered managing agents, as well as the misappropriation of buyer or tenant deposits from an agency trust account.  

“All these frauds have happened despite the introduction of much stricter education and qualification requirements for estate agents, in addition to the requirement for anyone working as an estate agent to be registered with the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) and be in possession of a current Fidelity Fund Certificate,” says Van Rensburg.

Landlords should never allow their properties to be occupied by tenants until there is a lease in place and they are certain the deposit has been paid into a trust account.

Many consumers, he says, including sellers and landlords as well as buyers and tenants, often have no idea that estate agents need to be properly qualified, or that it is their right to ask for a valid fidelity fund certificate and check that any deposits paid are going into a proper trust account.

“We would really like to see the Department of Human Settlements or the EAAB do more to get the word out about the benefits of working with certified agents – and about the dangers of dealing with those who are not,” says Van Rensburg.

“We would also like to see more vigorous checks being done to ensure that agency principals who are certified are not letting their unqualified intern agents work without supervision.”  

Van Rensburg warns consumers to take note of the following:

1. Every consumer who intends to have any business dealings with a person claiming to be an estate agent should first ask that person to produce proof that they have an NQF4 level qualification in real estate, and for a valid Fidelity Fund Certificate that is no more than a year old.  

“Time and again we read and hear about unfortunate members of the public who have supposedly been taken for a ride by an estate agent, but in the great majority of these cases it turns out that the person was actually just someone masquerading as an agent – not actually an agent at all.

2.When it comes to rental property, both the property owner (landlord) and the person renting (tenant) should ensure any deposit collected by a rental management agent is paid into a proper trust account – not the agent’s personal account.

3. Prospective tenants should never pay over a deposit until they have viewed the property inside and out and a valid lease has been signed by the landlord as well as themselves.

4. On the other hand, landlords should never allow their properties to be occupied by tenants until there is a lease in place and they are certain the deposit has been paid into a trust account.    

5. Home sellers should know that in terms of the Estate Agents Act, unregistered agents are not entitled to sales commission. So if they discover, for example, that an ’agent’ has sold their home just to get their hands on a quick commission, they can refuse to pay that person anything at all.

6. Home buyers should also never pay over a deposit until they have thoroughly checked the property inside and out and a sale agreement has been signed by the seller as well as themselves. And if they are in any doubt about what this contract says, they should take it to their own lawyer before they sign it.

7. Sellers should never allow anyone to take occupation of their home or land until they have proof that transfer of that property has been registered in the Deeds Office. They should also never agree to pay any transfer costs or bond registration costs on behalf of the buyer, and never pay any commission to the estate agent before transfer has been registered.

Print Print
Top Articles
With a glut of rental property and flat growth in high-rent provinces, it’s a renter’s market. KZN showed rental growth above the national average, get the lowdown…

These apartments in new developments in Cape Town’s Observatory, Oranjezicht, Sea Point, Claremont Upper and more, offer a great lifestyle close to amenities. Take a look...

Fancy living in one of South Africa's prime residential estates, with a top-class golf course on your doorstep? Here are the best courses and what you'll pay for a home...

Loading

Your browser is out of date!

It looks like you are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer.

If you are using Internet Explorer 8 or higher, please verify that your Internet Explorer compatibility view settings are not enabled.

For the best browsing experience, update to the latest Version of Internet Explorer or try out Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.


Please contact our Property24 Support Team for further assistance. Tel. +27 (0)861 111 724