How to Start a Real Estate Business in South Africa

Updated on 21 April 2023

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how to start a real estate business in South Africa

Starting a real estate business in South Africa is an excellent idea for ambitious entrepreneurs. It’s one of the best ways to get into the property industry, and real estate businesses offer a lot of room for making money.

South Africa is a buyers’ market, and there are always opportunities for new real estate businesses. However, it’s also a competitive market, so you need to take the right steps to strategically set up your business.

In this guide, we cover the main steps and processes you need to follow to start a real estate business.

Qualify as a Real Estate Agent

Before you can start a real estate business in South Africa, you’ll need to qualify as a real estate agency principal. This is essential if you plan on selling property under your own company.

Here are the three main steps you’ll take to do this.

Complete Your Internship

All new estate agents need to obtain their Fidelity Fund Certificate (FFC), which can be obtained through 12 months of work experience with an existing real estate agency.

The main purpose of this internship is to build up a portfolio of evidence (PoE) which you will submit to the EAAB.

Not only is this a necessary step in qualifying as a real estate agent, but it also helps you to gain valuable industry experience and knowledge. This is essential if you want to start a successful real estate business.

Complete Your Studies

Once you receive your Fidelity Fund Certificate (FFC), you will need to complete the following within two years:

  • National Qualification Forum Level 4 Real Estate (NQF4)
  • EAAB Professional Designated Exam Level 4 (PDE4)

These qualifications let you work as a full-status real estate agent.

Qualify as an Estate Agency Principal

You need to be qualified as an estate agency principal if you want to run your own real estate business. To achieve this, you’ll need to gain at least two years of work experience in a management role, or running a real estate agency.

You will also need to complete your NQF 5 course, gain a certificate of competency from SSETA, and submit your PoE to the EAAB. Once you have qualified as a real estate agency principal, you can now start your own real estate business.

Create a Business Plan

As is the case with starting any kind of business, you’ll need to have a solid business plan in place before you get started. This should outline all the details of how you will establish and operate your business.

Importantly, this should cover:

  • The area and market you plan to operate in
  • The type of real estate business you plan to run

For example, you could specialise in a certain geographic location, focus on residential or commercial properties, specialise in leasing, focus on property development, and so on. Your business plan will also need to cover detailed market research, your financial plan, business goals, and any other relevant information that will help get your business up and running.

Register Your Company

When your business plan is ready, you’ll need to register your real estate company. You need to do this through the CIPC and gain your official registration documents. The type of company structure you choose should depend on how many people are involved in the business and how your business plans to operate.

Market Your Business and Develop Strategic Partnerships

Once you have established your real estate business, you’ll need to get clients. This is why having a good marketing plan is so important. Figure out how people will discover your business, how you will attract clients, and how your business will grow.

It’s also important for real estate businesses to develop the right strategic partnerships. This could include partnerships with law firms, property developers, and other types of property-related businesses. The right relationships and partnerships can play a big role in how much new business you generate.

Starting a real estate business can be done relatively easily. With the right commitment, anyone can become a registered estate agent. Compared to other business models, you can also start a real estate business with minimal upfront capital.

The opportunities are also enormous. As long as people are buying and selling property, there are great possibilities to make money. If you’re interested in working with property, then getting into real estate is one of the best ways to enter the industry.


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