Harcourts Summerton’s Liz Fields has been in the real estate business for a long time and she is one of the best in the business. Honest, professional and just an allround nice person, she has sound advice for those thinking of pursuing this career.
How did you get into the real estate business?
After graduating from Rhodes University, I decided to take a gap year and actually ended up spending a couple of years working and travelling around Europe. When I returned to PE, I decided to join the real estate industry as my mom was a very successful real estate agent at the time and encouraged me to join the business with her.
What do you need to study to become an estate agent?
When I first joined the industry in 1992 we were required to write a Board Exam to qualify as an estate agent which I did during my first year of practicing but over the years, the requirements have changed substantially and intern agents are now expected to do a full internship with practical log book entries etc as well as an NQF 4 accredited real estate qualification. They then have to pass a PDE exam to become a qualified estate agent who can then operate independently. When the new legislation came into being, I was also required to requalify by doing a portfolio of evidence over a 3 month period supplying written evidence of the knowledge I had gained over the years in the real estate industry. This then had to be submitted to an external examiner as well as Services Seta. As a qualified principal agent who is NQF5 accredited, I am now required to do continual education on an annual basis to keep my qualification.
Any advice for people who want to enter the real estate business?
It is a fantastic career for self-driven motivated people who are wanting to build a career as a recognized professional. Real estate is a lot harder than people think but it is a very rewarding and interesting vocation and if you are prepared to work hard and offer excellent service coupled with honest, professional advice then this is the career for you. Every day is different which makes the challenges and opportunities endless and you meet so many wonderful people over the years and make wonderful friends along the way. And you spend every day learning! Always have a nest egg to fall back on as agents are paid on commission only and need to be able to budget accordingly.
2018 has been a fantastic year for me and it has been 26 years in the making. The biggest highlight for me is when someone contacts me looking for my assistance after having been referred to me by another client or mutual friend. I just love that past clients are willing to recommend me to their friends and family and feel extremely blessed by all their ongoing support.
The business has been through many tough years economically and politically and there have certainly been challenges. I remember a time when interest rates climbed to 21% and nobody could afford to buy houses. Then in 2008, the recession hit and none of the banks were willing to grant bonds etc but I honestly do believe that these tough times make tough real estate agents and these challenges give us an opportunity to grow and adapt and learn new skills etc.
Where do see yourself career wise in five years time?
Onwards and upwards hopefully! When I look back at when I first started in real estate, I am amazed at all the changes that have occurred and because of this, I can’t actually imagine what the business will be like in 5 years time. Technology is advancing so rapidly that it is quite difficult to imagine what new marketing techniques we will be using in 2023. All I know is change is inevitable and I can’t wait to see what new skills I will have learned by then and how my business will have grown.
What are you reading at the moment?
Jodi Picoult’s “ A Spark of Light” which centres around the pro-life/pro-choice debate.
One wish for South Africa.
Peace, love and tolerance!