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UCT course

22 March 2007

New UCT sectional title course to empower estate agents and protect consumers

Most people have heard of the Estate Agency Affairs Board's (EAAB) plans to introduce compulsory education for estate agents over the next few years. With the base level Further Education and Training Certificate in Real Estate being at an NQF level 4, this is a very positive step towards regulating the industry for the benefit of both the estate agents themselves and the consumers.

A new sectional title specialist realtor course, the first of its kind in South Africa, is being offered nationally by the University of Cape Town, in conjunction with sectional title specialist Graham Paddock. Mr Paddock designed the course to provide estate agents with a means to empower themselves and hopes that the certification will assist consumers in choosing competent estate agents to sell their properties.

Sectional Title was introduced in South Africa in the 1970s. With over 50% of homeowners now living in sectional title units, and the majority of new developments being of this type of property title, the specialised sale of sectional title units by competent real estate agents is becoming an important provision for buyers and sellers and indeed the estate agents themselves.

Very few estate agents understand the differences between the sale of regular freehold property and sectional title property. The sale of sectional title property, including units, various types of exclusive use rights as well as whole and fractionalised future development rights in 'schemes' under the Sectional Titles Act, 1986 ('the Act') is an increasingly complex task, requiring an understanding of various parts of the Act and its regulations, various consumer protection provisions and a knowledge of the scheme management and conveyancing processes that apply to the transfer of such property.

A lack of knowledge relating to the sale of sectional title property could lead to negligence claims but the more obvious danger is for sales processes to be delayed, which leads to delayed commission payouts upon which estate agents depend.

Until now prospective buyers and sellers of sectional title property have had no way of ensuring the levels of competence of the real estate agents who assist them in buying or selling their most important asset. The UCT Specialist Realtor course aims to establish a professional benchmark in sectional title sales.

The course runs for 10 weeks, is delivered via the Internet to cater for the busy schedules of estate agents and is delivered nationally. The course also includes a 2-day contact session in the main centres throughout South Africa where students and lecturers have a chance to interact, and an exam is written. During the 10-week period, the course introduces students to the legal aspects of sectional title property sales and equips them with the skills to successfully sell sectional title property. Students who pass the course will receive a University of Cape Town Specialist Sectional Title Realtor Certificate and a credit card certificate that can be used to verify their qualification while canvassing.

Registrations for the first course close on 5 April 2007. For more information contact Robyn Allan from Paddocks Learning on 021 674 7818 or visit www.paddocks.co.za.

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