Women in property: rewriting the script
The residential property sector might have been a male-dominated arena in the past, but successful and dynamic female real estate agents are fast rewriting the script.
CEO of Greeff Christie’s International Real Estate, Mike Greeff says, “We have been fortunate to employ some of the industry’s most respected female agents and rising stars. We believe firmly in investing time and energy into all of our agents and providing them with the support, guidance and advice needed. However, in most cases, we are the ones who are continuously learning from them, be it through their innovative ways of doing business or their tried and tested methods that earn them their sales success. Overall, we are excited for the future and look forward to what they have to offer.”
Alex Bolton, Greeff Christie’s International Real Estate agent, in Vredehoek and Oranjezicht, explains the main challenges she faces working as a female in the property industry. “As a female in a very male-dominated industry, I would say that the main challenge female agents face is gaining trust from clients. It immediately feels like you need to prove yourself straight away and show that this is your profession and a full-time job. You need to ‘disprove’ their misconception that you are doing this as a ‘hobby’. That is why, as an agent, you need to be professional and give 100% of your attention from the get-go, so that male clients don’t ever second guess you as their agent.”
Bolton adds that women are as capable as men in the property sector.
“As women, we do have to work that much harder to prove ourselves, and as unfortunate as it is in the 21st century, we still face many clients who, despite our very successful track record in the area, still only want to deal with a male agent. This denies us the opportunity to show them the service we can provide. Women are able to bring a very different and often, a more dynamic approach, to real estate and that is evident in the rising number of successful women brokers in the industry,” she said.
Another stellar broker and fellow Vredehoek and Oranjezicht agent, Christine Charlton, describes some of the highlights of her career thus far, “I have really loved the journey that I have been on. I joined the company four years ago, when we officially reopened on Kloof Street. I joined as the Operations Manager and assisted with everything, from choosing light fittings to registering the agency’s license. When I look back at how I have transformed, it really excites me and makes me feel like I’m meant to be here,” said Charlton
Charlton explains that helping a family find their home is a rewarding experience. “Over the last two years, the sales universe has really been on my side and we have played an integral part in assisting families and investors to find their perfect asset. Pulling a transaction together is such a heart-warming experience, as it brings so much joy, knowing that we have changed two families lives for the better, simultaneously. A must – mention for 2019, was achieving a record sales price of R 10.5 million, for our client’s penthouse in Vredehoek.”
Greeff Noordhoek area specialist and veteran agent, Dale Gremels provides key points of advice aspiring female agents:
- Join a good agency that will provide you with good backup support, training and administration support from day one.
- Learn how to manage your time effectively.
- Have a solid support system at home.
- Understand that this is a lot of hard work that is time – consuming.
- Have a good cash reserve when you start, as it may be some time before you see significant, consistent cash flow.
- Learn how to budget, as there will be good times and some lean times, depending on the market.
- Look after your clients and build relationships with them.
- Network and actively be part of your community.
- Look after your physical health and know when to take a break.
For current property trends in their areas, Bolton, Charlton and Gremels offered the following insights:
Vredehoek and Oranjezicht:
Bolton and Charlton say, “These areas have seen some interesting trends in the past few months, specifically with the decline of investor purchasers and increase in families or first-time buyers purchasing to live in. This has created a really great suburban feel to the areas, and has pushed trends for more city parks and family-friendly areas, as well as neighbourhood watch groups. Homeowners are now taking more pride in their areas, which is fantastic, as it ultimately drives prices up in the area. On an industry front, there are more and more younger professionals coming into the industry, which is also exciting to see.”
“Individuals are looking to avoid debt, by eliminating the need for a bond. Many are also trying to live more simply, by adopting an ‘off-the-grid’ lifestyle, in terms of electricity and water. Furthermore, people are also wanting to have dual living, so that they can help to support their parents or children,” Gremels says.
The success stories of female agents are fast becoming the norm, rather than the exception. With their knowledge, skills and dedicated attitude, they are a great example to all up-and-coming agents that the sky is the limit.