It is clear from our country’s unemployment rates that many people are hungry for meaningful employment, but how many South Africans actually consider a career as real estate practitioner a favourable career option?
Historically our industry was branded a poorly regulated environment inundated with “fly-by-night” operators; and more than often reference was made to unqualified estate agents, unethical estate agents, etc. In some instances, estate agents were even treated as the outcasts of society – at times with good reason.
However, in recent years the real estate industry has been metamorphosing to a much more professional environment. We believe that the local industry has embarked on a detox and diet programme - not only because the Estate Agency Affairs Board has been trying to shape up after being under scrutiny for the past few years, but also because today’s real estate practitioners recognise the unlimited scope and excellent business opportunities that the real estate arena offers. The mere fact that you are reading this magazine means that you agree with our notion – the new South African real estate industry offers very favourable career options, as well as long term business opportunities.
Working in this multi-disciplined industry, practitioners need to acquire skills and practical knowledge of several related disciplines such as the legal, financial and marketing sectors – it is not only about real estate. This changing and competitive landscape necessitates strategic thinking, careful observation, exceptional business plans and very importantly, relentless implementation. One has to ask whether the average independent real estate business owner, or the prospective real estate business owner, has the ability and the capacity to continuously gather information, keep an eye on real estate trends, competitor intentions, human resources, corporate governance, risk and compliance related issues. These can be daunting and time consuming tasks; and the worst of all is that these are not the most critical business drivers yet.
To add to the complexity, we are experiencing a brand new “consumerism”. In this era of highly informed, price conscious and rights savvy consumers, staying up-to-date is
no longer optional. One has to consider the holistic consumer behaviour in regard to aspects such as affordability, lifestyle, safety, status, return on investment, migration patterns, retirement and estate planning. Any real estate business owner who is serious about his business will be mindful of consumer behaviour and other external influences that could impact his business and as a consequence, continuous research and development is inevitable. How does one stay abreast of relevant research results, new technology, changes in legislation and regulation, social media marketing trends and the like?
This is where real estate franchisors play a significant role. Experienced franchisors will consider factors such as geographic features, demographics, psychographics, socio-cultural variables, use-related data, brand awareness, brand loyalty, convenience and security. Thorough analyses of these factors provide a better understanding of consumer behaviour and marketing plans can be altered accordingly. By allowing the business owner to concentrate his resources on the greatest opportunities available in a particular segment and thereby increasing sales without necessarily increasing the overhead costs, the implementation of a tailor-made South African franchise solution can result in a substantial competitive advantage.