|Word from the editor|
Dear CyberAgent user,
Who makes the better estate agent, male or female? Although the real estate industry has been a male dominant industry for many years more females are joining the industry. In fact looking at our CyberAgent users there are currently far more female estate agents.
Back to my question and my accolade this month goes to the females. Bets Breytenbach-Badenhorst of RE/MAX Jowic send me an email and attached to it was a recipe for pumpkin fritters. This truly impressed me and not because Im also female but because she was different! As with everything, Im sure it is safe to say, some men are better than women, and some women are better than men. Send us your viewpoint to email@example.com.
What qualifications should an estate agent have before he or she can call themselves an estate agent? This differs from country to country. One thing that South African estate agents cannot get pass is their NQF 4 qualification.
Agents and principals have till end of this year to get their National Qualification Framework qualification NQF 4 (agents) or 5 (principals) as prescribed by Law. There are still a lot of agents who dont realize the urgency to enroll in order to achieve their qualification before the end of this year the RPL process takes an average of 4 to 6 months to complete. Crunch time for agents and principals
This month we focus on the Consumer Protection Act as we are bombarded with questions from our CyberAgent users. I am far more scared of the NPA [Consumer Protection Act] than I ever was of the NCA [National Credit Act] when it came in.The fines are quite horrific up to 10% of your annual turnover or R 1,000.000.00 whichever is the greater if we as suppliers step out of line whether intentionally or not. Is it going to come out on the 1st April as promised or will it be delayed who knows? Read up on the Act in the meantime and get to as many seminars and talks as you can, Jill Corfield.
More information regarding the Consumer Protection Act under Unscrupulous estate agents beware and CPA could make estate agents' task difficult
Lastly, we place a lot of articles provided by the Paddock team which now invites our CyberAgent users to join the Paddocks Club. In the current climate, there is a lot of competition in the estate agency business. One needs to stand out from this competition and those that can provide a superior service are those that will do well. This according to Prof Graham Paddock. Read more in Why estate agents need to join Paddocks Club
Until next month!
|Why agents should use CyberAgent Anywhere|
I would like to start off by saying with this by saying that having you own account would benefit you primarily in the fact of portability. You can access your own data from any internet access location. If you have a cell phone with a nice size screen, you can access the web page, and do anything you need to wherever you are.
Imagine, Friday at five thirty, a client calls and complains that the selling price is too low in the internet. You can then easily go to the listing and make the change, and do a "Website Update", and within minutes the problem is resolved
The next point is the ease of finding what you are looking for. Instead of having all the agencies data (clients and properties) only your own data will show. This shorter list makes it much quicker to look up information, such as the reference number someone quoted for more info
You will be able to maintain your Canvassing data in a better fashion, as you will be the one in control. From there you can create the property and client data ready for the website advertising
I'm sure that you will find that access to this kind of portability and convenience is well worth your while.
|CyberAgent Programme Enhancements|
With the updates now going to Private Property and Fnb Quicksell via an interface, it becomes more difficult to see what is on both systems.
FNB has provided an interface to you, the agent, to view what information they have received.
Their internet page can be accessed by following the following link.
You will need your own unique branch GUID as provided by FNB.
Then type in the unique listing number and it will give you a status update for that listing.
You can also request all listings and from there you can view the status of that listing.
CAA for Agents
In CyberAgent Anywhere, there is a management section. It can be found under the Quick Links section of the main page.
This module is for management reports, and as such is only accessible by the administrative user.
Individual agents will not be granted access to this module.
We will be adding more managerial reports as and when needed.
As some clients have noticed, the Property viewed section was slow and reported incorrect figures.
This has been corrected and will now function better.
We have analyzed the data and restructured the workflow to improve speed and accuracy.
New Support Ticketing System.
If you have recently sent an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, you would have received a return email with a Ticket Number.
We recently updated out systems to automatically log all support emails. These emails are then assigned automatically to a support person.
This support person will contact you as soon as possible with an answer. If you phone in to inquire about the status of your query, please quote the ticket id.
This will speed up our support response to you.
Vesta update from CyberAgent
KZN agencies that are part of NLS (Natal multi listing system) can update to Vesta from CyberAgent.
There is a fee to be activated with NLS, onc3e this is in place, the system can be activated.
For agencies using CyberAgent Anywhere there is no setup needed from the agency side.
CyberAgent Desktop is set up by putting a text file (vesta.txt) into the cagentv3 folder (of the server pc). This then allows the access the CyberAgent MLS section in the property manager. You will not be allowed to tick the share with MLS (as this is not true CyberAgent MLS). If you are part of a CyberAgent MLS group, you can still use this as normal.
All you need to do to transfer this to Vesta is to have an agent populated in this section (this will automatically load from the property when this form is opened)
For it to be a shared Vesta listing the mandate MUST be MLS Mandate, otherwise it will only show under your own Vesta profile.
Please note that the normal Vesta rules apply (e.g. a seller telephone
number is required, at least one picture etc)
|From our webmaster|
Please will you advise us on how to get our website to the top of a website search for Port Elizabeth properties. One of our agents just did such a search and got a host of other agencies and sites on the first page but not ours.
I can make some changes to your meta tags and home page, also added a link to your site from the CyberAgent that will make a difference but the most important factor is adding more content about PE on the site and also by creating an area information page. Content is the best way to improve your ranking.
Last month we heard from Google on how to climb search engine rankings without breaking the bank. Part of Googles advice was to give people strong reasons to link to your real estate website, as more links means a more authoritative page. But how do you go about doing this, exactly? This is what we will be focusing on this month.
As Google Changes, it Pays to Check Your Rankings
Most changes to Googles ranking algorithms go unnoticed by the wider web, but a recent change targeting duplicate content has some industry commentators warning of significant shifts in rankings.
Googles Matt Cutts described the change as a targeted one. Slightly over two percent of queries change in some way, but less than half a percent of search results change enough that someone might really notice, he wrote. The net effect is that searchers are more likely to see the sites that wrote the original content rather than a site that scraped or copied the original sites content.
While Cutts description is of a minor change, search engine marketing firm Greenlight says some of its clients are seeing collateral damage from the change.
Greenlight advises businesses that have recently lost rankings to identify their affected pages and then search Google for some short snippets of text from the pages, encapsulated in quotes, the company says. If the page does not rank first, or at all, that is a strong signal the problem could be duplicate content-related.
Hopefully this update wont affect your website, but even if your rankings havent changed, this is a good reminder to check how well your site ranks for the keywords you are targeting on a regular basis.
Do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions
|From our Support Desk|
Build 3.100.1498 is now available. Please make sure that you are running on this version.
Multiple admin users:
There is now an additional field in the Bid table for those agencies who would like to use multiple admin user accounts. The cost for additional admin users are as follow:
- One additional user R100 excl VAT
Please email Support@cyberprop.com for more information.
How to load a location
On the main page of the property manager when the property manager icon is clicked,
You will see the location section. This is where you load the location of the property.
This needs to be loaded in this order:
1. First selecting the country the property is in.
If you have selected the suburb without selecting the Country, Province and city then the system will give you a message saying that the location of the property is invalid.
Please make sure that you complete the location of the property in the correct order.
Should you experience any problems or have any questions, please contact our support desk on 011 955 9100 or email Support@cyberprop.com
|Crunch time for agents and principals|
every agent and principal should know to stay in business after 2011.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
1. WHY DO ESTATE AGENTS NEED THE FURTHER EDUCATION TRAINING CERTIFICATE (FETC) NQF LEVEL 4 AND 5 QUALIFICATIONS?
The Real Estate sector requires well-trained and knowledgeable professionals to meet their clients demands.
All agents and principals are required by law to achieve this Qualification at NQF level 4 or 5 by December 2011 if they want to practice as real estate agents in this country. The Department of Trade and Industry introduced the NQF 4 and 5 Real Estate Qualification in June 2008...
|SAPTG Data problems|
Knowledge Factory (SAPTG) did a massive reload of transfer data and clean-up. This includes the new transfers table, consolidations, endorsements, more data, correction of multiple owners plus sequence number as well as cleaned date columns.
This should resolve transfer related issues including owner flag and doubles as well as other data problems that you were experiencing.
If you have experienced any data problems in the last week please recheck if this problem is still occurring.
To ensure quicker turnaround times with data problems you can now contact SAPTG directly by mailing them on email@example.com
The contact person is Jolene Martin.
|Website Marketing - over 90 websites!|
|Monthly Stats - February 2011|
Website Stats as at end February 2011
*Please note these values were the last stats received, and are kept primarily as indicators
|CyberAgent Training and Info Sessions|
We provide you with FREE training session in the following areas;
During these training sessions more information will also be provided on:
The recent training in George and Port Elizabeth was received very positively and the overall comment was that they were very excited about using the extra features that they did not know about. They were very happy with the extras available to make the day to day running of the business more professional and efficient.
A warm welcome to all new Agencies February 2011:
We trust that by now you are well aware of what CyberAgent can do for you. If you need any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us at: +27 (0)11 955-9100 or 086 112- 9237
|To the editor|
I read with great envy in your 11th March weekly property news, that in Cape Town one agent can currently have completed 4 sales this year with a total value of approx R20m. This is obviously due to the fact that that agent is dealing with more expensive properties than we generally deal with here in KZN, however it is "well done" to the agent and we are still green with envy. We would even be elated having sold 4 x R1,5m properties this year which is a very uncommon feat in our area of operation today.
We are operating on the Kwazulu Natal Lower South Coast from Ramsgate in the South to Shelly Beach in the North. Our problem is trying to get information on property owners, the reason being that in excess of 50% of properties here are owned (and mostly only used in holiday seasons) by people residing inland of the coast and many even out of the country, being 2nd and 3rd properties for many owners. We have great difficulty in getting owners' contact details and thus are in a big way limited to identifying properties For Sale by For Sale boards of other agents/agencies placed outside a property.
Unfortunately new legislation in our area is limiting the use of our marketing boards to advertise properties for sale, to rent, even On Show boards etc. They are also putting a price tag on the placement of each board (e.g. R30/board/month for a For Sale board) which also makes it very costly. Sold boards and Sole Mandate boards are exempt from charges for now, but because of the factors mentioned herein and the vast number of agents operating in our area, even Sole Mandates are hard to come by.
You, as the Cyberprop editor, being in contact with and having knowledge of how many agents and agencies operate in South Africa, my questions are as follows:
1) Are there many areas in South Africa where agents experience similar difficulties in gaining property owners' contact details of "locked-up holiday homes"?
It would be interesting to hear any methods still untried and tested by us, in our area of operation, without having to pay R30 for each property/owner investigation!
2) Are there areas in South Africa where agents/agencies do not use marketing boards at all and can honestly testify that they are totally successful?
In our area we have recently had a couple of the larger agencies testifying in the local print media that they do not need the use of boards for marketing, but even they still utilize boards today.
I look forward to your feedback and any useful info would be greatly appreciated.
Send your viewpoints to email@example.com
|EAAB - EAAB chief loses urgent bid|
Axed Estate Agency Affairs Board CEO Nomonde Mapetla has lost her urgent bid to get her job back, the High Court in Joburg ruled on Friday.
"A matter of this nature and complexity should not be brought urgently," said Judge Lotter Wepener in handing down his judgment on the urgency of Mapetla's application.
He said he was not ruling on the validity of her case, but declined to grant her urgent access to the court...
|IEASA - A good time to join estate agency profession|
The training division of the Western Cape Institute of Estate Agents is concerned that, despite ongoing media and online publicity, too few estate agents are registering for (or already tackling) the studies and later examinations which will make them professionally qualified under the NQF4 and NQF5 regulations.
There are still some agents, including several top performers, whose aversion to training and to study is so great that they have been able to persuade themselves that the new qualification requirements will go away or that the deadline will be somehow miraculously extended but neither of these things will happen, said Sandy Walsh, who heads up the Institute of Estate Agents training efforts in the Western Cape.
|News from Jill Corfield|
COMSUMER PROTECTION ACT
I recently attended a Seminar given by Henk Delport on behalf of the Institute of Estate Agents Durban Branch. This is probably the 4th or 5th seminar presented by different people and each time I learn something new or my understanding of something changes.
I am far more scared of the NPA [Consumer Protection Act] than I ever was of the NCA [National Credit Act] when it came in.
The fines are quite horrific up to 10% of your annual turnover or R 1,000.000.00 whichever is the greater if we as suppliers step out of line whether intentionally or not.
Is it going to come out on the 1st April as promised or will it be delayed who knows?
Read up on the Act in the meantime and get to as many seminars and talks as you can.
Consumer Protection Act No 68 of 2008
Application of the Act
A regulatory authority may apply to the Minister for an industry-wide exemption for one or more provisions of this Act on the grounds that those provisions overlap or duplicate a regulatory scheme administered by that regulatory authority.
I understand that our present Estate Agents Act does not exempt us but maybe our new Act that is in the pipeline will. We will have to wait and see.
|Unscrupulous estate agents beware - by Micel Schnehage|
The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) becomes effective on April 1 2011, and those who are affected, especially suppliers, have been urged to familiarise themselves with the legislation, or face stiff penalties.
The Act is particularly relevant to practising estate agents, especially those who unscrupulously sell defective properties to unsuspecting investors or prospective homeowners. This is particularly relevant when it comes to developers selling property off plan. Marketing companies, who often undertake the promotion of such developments at exorbitant fees, are often known for using the rather intimidating "hard sell" tactic. This method will, once the Act comes into effect, be closely monitored and the understanding is that if the developer and the marketer fail to deliver on promises made, they can and will be taken to task.
Deneys Reitz associate, Rosalind Lake, says real estate is only one of many areas targeted by the Department of Trade and Industry due to the number of people who lose large amounts of money after being misled into buying less than satisfactory property or developments. Estate agent principals will have to be particularly vigilant in that that their agents are not making misrepresentations to prospective buyers. Also, consumers will have a five-day cooling off period after entering into a transaction. This will include buyers who feel they have been short-changed.
Lake says the same is not necessarily true for private sales. The voetstoots clause can still be applicable. Depending on the sale agreement, the clause can benefit either the buyer or the seller. Lake says this could be problematic in terms of the new Act which stipulates goods can be returned if found to be defective. In terms of immoveable property, delivery takes place once the transfer has been registered at the deeds office. If, for example, it has been found that the seller had deliberately withheld information of defects to the property, the deal can be cancelled, if the latter can be proven. In the case of transfer fees having been paid, the buyer will have to take the matter to court and if it is found that the seller had acted wrongfully, he or she will have to foot the bill for the re-transfer of fees paid.
Advice to estate agents at this stage: make sure your representations regarding any property are accurate, that you have the appropriate insurance in place and that you know what your obligations as a service provider are to your consumer. Agents have also been cautioned that whereas the proverbial fine print tended to protect sellers in the past, this will no longer be the case. Lake says any restriction of sale will have to be spelled to any prospective buyer or investor.
Consumers will also be happy to know that the dealings of developers will be heavily scrutinised within the new Act. Developers will no longer be able to prescribe to buyers buying off plan which service provider to use or not to use. Hopefully this will eliminate to some extent "jobs for pals" and rebates and kickbacks. From April 1 2011, developers will have to prove some form of "economic benefit" in using prescribed service providers.
|CPA could make estate agents' task difficult|
Sandy Walsh, head of training for the Western Cape branch of the Institute of Estate Agents, has followed up on statements made recently by Prof Henk Delport at a well attended morning conference organised by the Institute recently.
Prof Delport, describing certain sectors of the new Consumer Protection Act, as highly ambiguous and bound to lead to a number of court cases in which the legislation will have to be interpreted, said that many of the practices now prohibited had in fact been illegal under other laws for many years...
|Why estate agents need to join Paddocks Club|
By Prof Graham Paddock
In the current climate, there is a lot of competition in the estate agency business. One needs to stand out from this competition and those that can provide a superior service are those that will do well.
Only those estate agents who specialise in home owners' associations and sectional titles schemes need to know how these types of community schemes operate to be able to iron out any difficulties that may arise in their sale process. But for the last twenty years, all middle and upper-class housing has come onto the market as either HOAs or sectional title schemes. So, for any estate agent concentrating in newer and up-market areas, this knowledge may be very useful.
Congratulations to all those RE/MAX offices that are affiliated to CyberAgent;
While 2010 was seen as the year of opportunity, the market showed very limited signs of recovery. But for RE/MAX of Southern Africa it was a period of unprecedented growth. The group reported a 37% growth on registered sales compared to its 2009 figures. RE/MAX of Southern Africa sold 18 new franchises during 2010, and saw 558 new agents joining the brand with a further 117 agents returning to work under the RE/MAX banner.
Today its agents account for 5% of all agents currently operating in the industry, and during 2010, agents within the RE/MAX of Southern Africa fold were responsible for 15% of all residential transactions that took place. This shows that RE/MAX agents are outselling their competitors by 3-1.
These figures were announced by Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa at the recent Celebration of Success breakfasts held in the major centres around the country during the month of February. Sponsored by Betterbond and Standard Bank, the event was hosted by internationally renowned speaker, Michael Jackson.
Debbie van Rooyen of RE/MAX Toti received a Lifetime Achievement Award for her exceptional sales results during their seven or more years of service with RE/MAX
We also had to CyberAgent user in the top five single offices in KwaZulu-Natal; RE/MAX Toti and RE/MAX Hibiscus
Special Awards for 2010 were presented to agents and offices from the Western Cape region and Broker/Owner Sales Team of the Year by Registered Commission which was awarded to Mark Brickles of RE/MAX Ultra Select. The Leadership Award went to Caron Leslie & Jose de Abreu, Broker/Owners of RE/MAX Property Associates for the exceptional level of guidance and tutoring they have provided to RE/MAX agents within their offices.
Gauteng laid claim to nine of the 14 special awards presented for 2010. Winners included; Nic van den Berg of RE/MAX Jowic who was awarded as Broker/Owner of the year. The award for highest sales volume by registered commission for a Multi Office went to RE/MAX Masters, while the Sales Associate of the Year by Registered Commission was awarded to Tracey Snyman of RE/MAX Masters, who also received the award for Sales Associate of the Year by number of transactions. The Sales Team of the Year by Registered Commission was awarded to Jenny Heroldt of RE/MAX Masters.
The Broker/Owner Individual of the Year by Registered Commission was
awarded to Roma Naude of RE/MAX Property Merchants.
The top five single offices in the Northern region included RE/MAX Platinum, RE/MAX First and RE/MAX Willows
The top five multi offices in the Central region included RE/MAX Masters, RE/MAX Jowic, RE/MAX Central and RE/MAX 2000
Looking at the year ahead, Goslett along with other industry experts including Standard Bank and South Africas largest mortgage originator, Betterbond, predict a fairly flat level of property growth. However they have identified numerous avenues for potential property investment for those who are in good standing. These include distressed properties and buy-to-let properties as the rental market is continuing to produce good yields.
While the proposed new Labour Act, the Consumer Protection Act, the NQF qualifications and the stricter regulation of the real estate industry might pose some challenges during the year ahead, banks are easing up on their lending criteria slowly but surely, consumers are beginning to sort out their debt-to-income ratio issues, and the demand for well-priced property in key areas around the country remains at a comfortable level. Most of these challenges, once overcome, will ultimately steer the property industry towards a better and more sustainable future. In the mean time, there are still plenty of brilliant property opportunities out there and we look forward to another year of good results with further technological innovations and a heightened level of agent professionalism, Goslett concludes.
|Quotation of the month|
A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.