Brilliant New Initiative!!
Two years ago about 86 000 estate agents were registered in South Africa – today there are fewer than 27 000 and numbers continue to drop. This is according to Jonathan Acutt, Operations Director of Acutts Estate Agents, who said agents who has weathered the recession were operating in what was a difficult and testing residential market. “However, those remaining are reaping the benefits of having survived through the hard times, with light beginning to appear at the end of the tunnel. ‘Things will get better and those on the ground now will be well placed to reap the rewards when the market turns,” said Acutt. With this in mind the Acutts Group is using the economic downturn as an opportunity to develop promising property entrepreneurs. Pat Acutt, chairman of the 162 year old group, said his company had launched a new initiative, Acutts Agent@home.” Acutts Agent@Home has been designed initially to help township-based operators and those in the traditional areas become part of a big brand without having to pay heavy franchise fees.” With agent numbers slashed, it was no secret that the market downturn was hitting home hard. But Acutt was taking a phlegmatic view. “I don’t mourn the loss of the non-performers, but I do care about retaining those people who, despite their limited means, have the potential and commitment to make a successful career out of real estate, given the right support,” he said. Those picked to participate in the Acutts mentoring initiative will have access to group training, bursaries, discounted marketing material and other perks available to members of a big brand. In return, Acutts, which has more than 70 offices and franchises across the country, will swell its national footprint without incurring onerous expenses.
The initiative will differ from the established model in its allocation of areas of operation. “Areas have traditionally been restricted to a single franchise operator,” Acutt said.
“The new model allows for a number of agents to operate from their home offices within the same area and share listings. They will also be able to buy into adjacent areas, except where these are closed to existing franchises.”
Acutt said this was an ideal opportunity for previously disadvantaged operators and ambitious self starters to develop entrepreneurial skills while partnering with a national group. “It’s also the solution for existing estate agents who have to reduce their operating costs during these tough economic times to remain in business. “It is also a chance for the younger generation to create their own real estate businesses.” On converting their regulatory status from non-principal to principal, Acutt said Acutts Agent@Home members would be required to house their fidelity fund certificates under a national close corporation, with him in the role of a principal. Once they had upgraded their certificates to principal status, they would be required to trade as a CC or sole proprietor. Jonathan Acutt said, “ in keeping with our groups commitment to community upliftment, the initiative has been designed so that it can be operated in any economic climate and in any market segment. “In conjunction with the 12 month learnership programme offered by the Acutts national training academy, which covers the full spectrum of estate agency requirements, Acutts Agent@Home will equip entrepreneurs with the tools and support to start and run their own successful businesses, wherever they may be.”
Author: Pat Acutt