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Global integration creates real estate opportunity

While visiting South Africa in February for the RE/MAX of Southern Africa convention held at Sun City, Rick Yohn, Regional Vice President of Global Business and Franchising Solutions at RE/MAX LLC in Denver, Colorado, says that the best thing that happened during the recession was that the people, who he calls the ‘woulda-shoulda-coulda’ real estate agents, have all washed out.

“The ones who are unprofessional and semi-skilled are gone, and what we have left are the best of the best. The trying time has tested them and made them even better because of it.”

When asked what challenges and opportunities he believes lie ahead for real estate globally in the next five years, Yohn said that the global financial crisis and how it plays itself out will be pivotal to any real estate success, opportunities and challenges in the years ahead. “It seems like the recession has pretty much moved out of North America but Europe is still teetering on the edge a little bit. Asia seems to be doing fairly well but because of the world economy becoming economically tight, as one region goes, it can have a ripple effect on the other.”

But, he says, due to global integration, there is huge opportunity for the real estate professional that ties in with the global buyer. “Real estate is no longer limited within one city or country; real estate can now be transacted internationally. As I have travelled throughout South Africa I have gone to Durban, Jo’burg and Cape Town and asked where the buyers in each region have come from. While the majority are South African, there is a sizable minority of buyers who are coming from overseas, especially out of China. I think that the real estate professionals that understand the global market and are leveraging those opportunities will be the ones who are really going to thrive over the next five years.”

According to Yohn, one of the key must-haves that should be included in a real estate business’s toolkit for the next five years is the connection to an international brand because of the whole global buyers’ standpoint. In addition, he says, real estate professionals who have earned designations beyond basic industry qualification requirements, such as the certified distressed property expert (CDPE) designation, will definitely reap the benefits. “The more professional agents become, the more successful they will become.

For real estate professionals operating in today’s market, it’s all about stepping above the minimum requirements and furthering themselves. To be successful, a person needs to be able to achieve greater success and be able to push themselves further and shouldn’t settle for the status quo.”

Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that training will continue to be a core focus of the RE/MAX of Southern Africa group. “As we continually focus on providing all of our offices and agents with top class real estate skills and knowledge, our Global Learning Centre, which provides online training that is accessible 24-7 to the RE/MAX membership, will provide thousands of training programmes on real estate, technology, leadership, skills training and business development. With access to top international real estate trainers and, the RE/MAX Global Learning Centre will provide over 120 days of training to the RE/MAX membership in the year ahead.”

Yohn says that now is the perfect time to start a real estate business because new realtors will be starting in what is a ‘normal’ real estate market. “This is the normal market and in a normal market it means that you work. You have to work your clients, your referrals and your business. If you joined the real estate profession between 2001 and 2007, you didn’t really have to work very hard. It came to you very easily and you didn’t have to do anything. So the people who are joining the market now have a much better work ethic and understanding.”

When asked if he thinks the next property boom will be as big as the last one and what we have to look forward to in the global property market in the years to come, Yohn concludes by saying that a more stable market will be the order of the day going forward. “Everything is cyclical with good times and bad times. I don’t know if we will necessarily see a run up like we did when the century turned over. I can’t forecast anything with such acceleration, however, at the same time I cannot see anything that would cause a massive deceleration either. The highs and lows are going to be a lot less than they have been in the recent past.”


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