Picture: Herschel Jawitz, CEO Jawitz Properties; Xoliswa Tini, Xoliswa Tini Properties; Ebo Quagraine, Propertyzz.com; Dietmar Muller, RE/MAX Advance.
The real estate business can be a tough environment in which to find your feet as a new agent or to build up your own business. However, if you set your foundation right then you can weather any storm or pandemic. Property Professional asked some real estate professionals for their top tips for success in this industry. This is what they had to say.
What it takes to build a business
Long-term commitment. Just like any other career, to make a success of being in real estate takes time and commitment. Herschel Jawitz, CEO of Jawitz Properties grew up in a property family, so for him his career in real estate began early. “The most important factor is that you make a long-term commitment to building your career in real estate, same as you would in any other profession. ’Giving it a try to see how it goes’ is simply setting yourself up for failure,” he says.
Having the right foundation is key. “The great thing about residential property is that there is no substitute for passion, energy and a real commitment to delivering a great client experience that will form the foundation for your future success,” Jawitz adds.
Have a vision and a plan. Former teacher and black real estate entrepreneur Xoliswa Tini of Xoliswa Tini Properties loves to help young estate agents realise their dreams. That is one of the reasons why she began the first black-owned training academy in South Africa. Having a dream is not enough though, “you also need long-term goals with short-term milestones to provide you with a roadmap,” she adds.
Pick the right team. Doing real estate in South Africa is complicated with lots of highly technical legislation that is constantly changing. Starting out it is a good idea to align yourself with an agency that will provide you with the correct training, tools, models and systems.
Be open to learn. Many new agents just rush through online training courses to get the certificate of completion. Not Dietmar Muller of RE/MAX Advance who achieved Premiere Club and Platinum Club status in his first year as a real estate agent. “I took notes and watched it over and over until I understood the real estate strategies and culture of success that these videos revealed,” he says. This then became the foundation he used to get his business off the ground.
Put in the effort. Lastly, there is no substitute for hard work. Former financial advisor Ebo Quagraine built up his own real estate business Propertyzz.com and says as cliché as it may sound, the adage hard work killed no man, applies in real estate. “The hard work is in the mind work, the systems building and the client management processes. Get this right and you will be called for the mandates instead of you chasing after deals,” he says.
Build relations that will keep
Building and maintaining good relations are one of the fundamentals to building a successful career in real estate. This applies in your relations with your clients, in your agency with your team members and with other property professionals.
Build a strong network. Estate agents must have a professional network to tap into. This is not only one of the best-selling points to point out to a seller but in these tough times property professionals need to support each other. “It is the relationships that carry us through the hardships,” says Muller. Reach out to your attorney, financial partners and local businesses to find out how you can work together to promote each other’s businesses.
Equally important is to build a relationship of trust with your team members so that you know you have each other’s backs. “Your success is directly correlated to the quality and effectiveness of the team around you. Build them up and they will build you. Think, there is enough for all and you will never starve,” says Quagraine.
Property is a people business. People buy homes. “We often say that we’re not in the Property business, we’re in the People business and that people buy from people,” says Candice Andrews, team leader at Adrienne Hersch Properties. Buying or selling a home is one of the biggest decisions that most people will make. This decision is often an emotional one and the technical and legal intricacies of this transaction are daunting to most people. Therefore, it is vital that the agent genuinely cares about connecting with the client’s emotional state and needs, providing sound advice and quality customer care, she adds.
Candice Andrews, team leader Adrienne Hersch Properties
Serve people well and put them first, then there is a really good chance that they will refer your business to many other people says Tini. She says her mother taught her that people has to be your first investment as they can either build or break your business. It depends on how you serve them. “This lesson has taken me very far,” she says, “My business focus is to build relationships. If you chase money without empathy and humility, money will run away from you.”
Successful agents who have been in real estate for a long time will tell you that repeat referrals are part of their success. They have often built relationships with families that for generations will keep coming back to them when they make a property transaction. “The nature of residential sales is long term, so relationships often have to be developed with clients that may only be realised in a year or even longer when the clients need to sell or buy. With rentals it may be shorter but the time frame is still long,” says Jawitz.
Most estate agents don’t earn a regular monthly salary – their income is completely dependent on the commission they earn from sales. In your first year it can take up to six months or longer to see your first commission. It comes as no surprise that many estate agents leave the industry after only a short while because of this. If you plan to stay in the game, you need to plan your finances carefully and with a long-term view in terms of living expenses and retirement planning, says Jawitz.
For those that are venturing out on their own, Tini advises that they try to keep expenses low by doing everything themselves while applying strict control over financial expenses. This includes investing sales from commissions back into their business. Complying with tax duties. Keeping overheads low. Get a seasoned bookkeeper and make sure your accounts are managed well. It is a good idea to have a basic understanding accounting so that you are able to understand financial statements. Also keep an annuit
“Money is a tool. Treat it well and it will serve you, abuse it and you will be enslaved to it,” ends Quagraine.
The right mindset
Entrepreneur. The most important mindset for anyone entering the real estate industry is one of entrepreneurship says Andrews. This is a career that lacks the structure of a normal 8-5 job. To be successful will require a tremendous amount of self-discipline. The prospective agent has to approach their career as a business owner, even if you are part of an agency or in a franchise, adds Jawitz. “Real estate is an industry, where more than in many others, where what you put in is what you will get out. This is a vital change of thinking for success and key in understanding personal accountability,” continues Andrews.
Be prepared for anything. There are a lot of things that can go wrong with a property transfer. Currently the backlog and intermittent closure of deeds office is frustrating hundreds of agents and home owners with property transfers delayed by months in some cases. It is important to be prepared to face all kinds of challenges, including a lot of rejection says Tini. “Always understand that not everyone is going to agree with you or support your business. Avoid taking it personally and remain positive,” she adds.
Stay positive. Dietmar agrees about the importance of keeping a positive attitude. “Negativity is not going to help you to succeed, but it will inspire you to quit. People don’t want to do business with someone who is negative. People are looking for leaders and innovators during this time. Let us lead and innovate,” he ends.