Author: Kelly TK Masoek
All estate agent’s, practising as such in South Africa, are subject to a controlling body. This controlling body is the Estate Agents Affairs Board (also known as the “EAAB”) which serves both as a regulatory and controlling function. Amongst other powers, the EAAB aims to regulate the registration of estate agents, manage the educational standards of estate agents and regulate activities of estate agents. The sole purpose of the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) Act of 112 of 1976 is to protect consumers from any misconduct from unscrupulous estate agents. Estate agents, like other property industry role players, have a duty to operate ethically and, estate agents particularly, have a duty to operate in accordance with the EAAB Code of Conduct.
In all transactions between estate agents and their clients, the best interest of all parties involved should be of the utmost importance. The estate agent is expected to work diligently and ethically, in a manner which protects public interest. No estate agent is permitted to discriminate against any person on the basis of race, gender or creed.
Estate agents are required to operate according to a mandate which protects all parties involved in the transaction and encompasses each parties’ rights and responsibilities. The mandate should be transparent and in language understood by the parties. The contents must be explained to all signatory parties. Included in the mandate should be information such as the selling agents’ full name and the place (estate agency) where he conducts his business.
In preparation for marketing the property, it can be expected that any information provided by estate agents is factual and well researched. Estate Agents are expected to acquaint themselves properly with the property they are marketing, bearing in mind that; as far as defects are concerned; the estate agent will only be aware of that which has been disclosed by the Seller and will be obligated to bring those defects to the attention of potential buyers, allowing them to make a properly informed offer on the property.
An estate agent is required to get all offers reduced to writing, this will filter bona fide offers to be presented to a Seller. An estate agent, when presenting competing offers to the seller, must be able to clearly indicate advantages and disadvantages of the various competing offers made. Once the Seller is satisfied and an offer is accepted, the offer will become binding on all parties. An estate agent is not authorised to make any amendments on an offer or agreement of sale without signed acceptance by all parties involved. The agreements terms and conditions must be properly explained to all parties involved with a copy of the fully signed agreement given to all parties in the transaction.
In all property transactions, estate agents endeavour to ensure that the best interest of the relevant parties are considered. This is done in a fair and non-discriminatory manner. The mandate, between a Seller and a Estate Agent, will determine the Estate Agents responsibility and will be a guide as to what the Seller expects from his appointed agent.
In addition, it can be deduced that one of the great perks of working with estate agents is that when estate agents market a seller’s property, all parties can be rest assured that they have done their due diligence in researching on the property which allows them to make a properly informed offer on the property. Estate Agents further assist in facilitating the technicalities which comes with a property transaction and serve as the mediator between the parties involve, thus promoting a seamless transfer and handover process.
In conclusion, mandating an Estate Agent to assist with your property transaction helps alleviate the burden of personally attending to the complexities involved with a transfer and handover. The Code of Conduct serves to provide a guideline for how all estate agents should conduct themselves in their dealings with parties to a property transaction and the EAAB further serves to protect consumers, as well as regulate registered estate agents, thus promoting quality service and professionalism in the industry.