Make sure you can trust your estate agent

(Article by Keeran Madhav, Director of Mazars Forensics Services)
Tough economic times can often lead to opportunistic people trying to make an extra buck or two. It’s therefore important to be savvy when it comes to dealing with estate agents, or people who claim to be estate agents.
This particular industry has unfortunately seen its fair share of property scams from fake listings to fictitious property developments.
Fortunately, there are some precautions you can take to make sure you are dealing with a reputable estate agent and there is legislation on your side for your protection against this type of fraud.
It’s all in the paperwork
The Estate Agency Affairs Act 112 of 1976 (EAA Act) governs the industry.  Section 34 of the Act says that no remuneration can be paid to a company or an individual acting as an estate agent if they don’t have a valid fidelity fund certificate. This is the key document ensuring you are dealing with a legitimate agent, one registered with the Estate Agency Affairs Board, and you are entitled to see it. You can also verify an agent on the Estate Agency Affairs Board website ( where all agents who are marketing properties must be registered.
Look out for con artists
It is worthwhile noting that someone selling his or her own property can’t be an estate agent. On the other hand, a person could be an estate agent if they sell property belonging to their spouse or parents. Investigate who the property belongs to as well as who is trying to sell it to you.
In addition, you should also see the property or development land in person, especially if it’s far away. Trusting a smooth salesman is all good and well until you end up buying a piece of a large fish factory that won’t actually be converting into a luxury retirement village after all.
Know the scope of estate agents by law
You might think an estate agent is simply someone who helps customers buy or sell property. However, there could be many other entities and/or individuals providing services in the property industry that may fall within the definition of an estate agent. The EAA Act defines an estate agent as any person on their own, or as part of a partnership, who directly or indirectly advertises services such as selling property (including business premises), canvassing for buyers, letting property or collecting money from lessees.
Justice should be served
If you come across a fraudulent estate agent, you must really report them to the EAAB. In fact, any person who doesn’t comply with the EAA Act is committing an offence and liable if found guilty to a fine of up to five thousand rand or to imprisonment for up to five years. Be vigilant and do your bit to protect yourself and your community from an agent acting fraudulently. 

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 22 May 2018
      Buyers feel that they are getting value for money in the Northcliff area without having to compromise on aesthetics and amenities
    • 21 May 2018
      Secure living is one of the growing property trends in South Africa and Nooitgedacht Estate in Stellenbosch certainly ticks the right boxes for buyers who want a secure, exclusive lifestyle in one of the Boland’s most sought-after estates, says Pam Golding Properties.
    • 21 May 2018
      As the impact of technology on the real estate industry becomes more significant, it is clear that there is a need for an objective look at not only traditional real estate models but also online and other alternative low-commission real estate agencies, to examine what they offer and what their impact might be.
    • 21 May 2018
      With sectional titles growing in popularity, an increasing amount of homeowners simply do not have the garden space to install a tool shed in their backyard.
    • 18 May 2018
      Home improvements are a great way to add value to your property, but not all of us have bottomless pockets for a full-on renovation. Lucky for us, there are plenty of affordable DIYs that can spruce things up over a free weekend.
    • 18 May 2018
      The need for large office spaces is slowly eroding as more and more employers choose to allow their staff to work remotely. As a result, the home business model has grown in popularity, with many new entrepreneurs choosing to start their business from home rather than in a business district. But, what are the legal implications of operating a business in a residential area?
    • 18 May 2018
      Proxi Smart Services Pty Ltd, a company that deals with the day to day administration of property transfers while the conveyancer attorneys perform the legal side of transfers, lost its bid for the court to allow them to do business in this regard.
    • 17 May 2018
      If you’re a first time buyer, then you are probably only just beginning to realize how expensive furniture can be. That three-piece lounge suite you’ve had on your “Dream Home” inspiration board probably seems like nothing but an unrealistic fantasy to you now. But, a little bit of financial discipline mixed with a dash of smart shopping can go a long way towards helping you furnish your fantasy.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us