Did you know that Estates Agents now come in four flavours? To make things easier, let me use the example of a small agency with let's say seven agents.
At the top there is the owner - who will often be the one with the most experience. They are the 'Principal Agent' and have an NQF5 qualification and have passed the PDE (Professional Designation Exam). They use the title 'Master Practitioner in Real Estate'.
Then there are 5 'Non-Principal Agents' (what you might consider as standard agents) who report directly to the Principal. They each have an NQF4 qualification and have passed the PDE and use the title 'Professional Practitioner in Real Estate'.
Then there is the new kid on the block - they have just started in the industry. They are an 'Intern Agent' and also report directly to the Principal. They are serving a one year internship. They work under the supervision of the Principal who is mentoring (or shadowing) them. The intern must maintain a logbook of their various activities and this is signed-off by the Principal. The intern is not allowed to sign a sole mandate or an offer-to-purchase without the presence of the Principal. They may sell property - but require regular supervision. Hopefully they will eventually complete their training for the NQF4 qualification and will then have to pass the same exam as Non-Principal Agents.
All the agents in the above small agency have to have a current FFC (Fidelity Fund Certificate) issued by the EAAB (Estate Agency Affairs Board). Without this document it is illegal for them to operate.
By this point you are thinking 'but you said there are four flavours - what is the fourth?' That last type of agent is an 'Illegal Agent' or one who is not in possession of a valid Fidelity Fund Certificate. They work through crooked law firms and are a huge problem in the industry. Buy more on that sordid subject next week.