As regulated by Government Notice R 1409; persons who wish to write The Boards’ qualifying examination to become estate agents in Namibia need to apply to The Namibia Estate Agent's Board. Since incomplete or incorrectly completed applications will be returned by the Board, candidates should ensure that all necessary particulars are provided. Applications must reach The Board at least 4 weeks prior to the scheduled examination date. These dates and venues are normally announced well in advance by ways of advertising in local newspapers.
The prescribed examination fee of N$250.00 as well as a copy of the candidate’s Identification Document should also accompany the application. Once registered, candidates will receive an examination number by return mail. This letter should also be taken to the examinations the day of writing so that examiners can verify on their records.
To prepare for the examinations, candidates need to obtain a comprehensive study guide priced at N$350.00 from The Board as well as a copy of the Estate Agency Affairs Act, 112/1976 ("the Act")” for N$50.00. (Total cost of N$680.00)
To pass the examination, candidates need to obtain at least 50%.
The Examination is a combination of:
1. Multiple choice questions; and
2. A case/scenario from which candidates have to draft and execute a valid contract (complete with signatures and initials where required).
Normally examination results will be available 4 to 6 weeks after the date thereof. For any more information regarding the process and exams you need to contact The Board offices at 061 249 885.
It is not hard to become a real estate agent in Namibia and one may raise the question about the low requirements placed on real estate agents, who will be responsible for transactions that inevitably involve a great deal of money, with very little training to guide them. Although the Board together with principal estate agents and conveyancers can ensure smooth transactions, it might benefit the public and industry to introduce candidate estate agents. While working in the office environment, candidate real estate agents should have restricted capacity in relation to the completion and execution of property transaction documentation. So, while still a candidate real estate agent, property transaction documentation as well as working with the public must be done under supervision of a "full status" real estate agent/principal. The candidate can gain a lot of experience about the ins and outs of the real estate agency business by working under supervision of a good principal estate agent. Unfortunately, the candidate may also pick up a number of bad habits and misconceptions about the duties of a real estate agent from his/her mentor.
Standards set by The Board in order to become (and stay) a licensed Estate Agent: (keep the Section 27 disqualifications relating to Fidelity Fund Certificates in mind)
• Preventing unsuitable persons from entering the industry.
• Administering a qualifying Board examination for new applicants.
• Registration of aspiring estate agents candidates to sit for this examination.
• Licensing of estate agents.
• Promotion of further training of agents.
• Denying the right to practice as an estate agent to those persons who had been disqualified in terms of the Act.
Starting a career as an Estate Agent in Namibia:
After passing the examinations, prospective estate agents need to decide whether they want to join existing agencies or perhaps start on their own. In most cases, agents join the ranks of others to first learn more about the industry. This is highly recommended and in fact some regard it as a requirement for new agents. The Golden Rule is to start your business in the manner in which you wish to continue. As a prospective estate agent rather seeks to join a company which enjoys a reputation of solid respectability, coupled with a progressive marketing policy. This is important because you will be judged by the quality of your fellow workers and the reputation of the company that employs you.
Whichever way you decide to follow, you have to apply to The Board for the issuing of a Fidelity Fund Certificate. The Board will supply you with two forms you need to complete; a “pink” and “green” form. Both these forms need to be completed and handed back to The Board. The pink form is in the format of an affidavit and needs to be completed in front of a Commissioner of Oaths.
• If the firm is a company or a close corporation every director and alternate director and every member must individually apply for a Fidelity Fund certificate and each such person must pay the prescribed fees.
• If the firm is a partnership, the partnership itself must apply for a Fidelity Fund Certificate giving full particulars of the business and each partner [whether the partner is active or not], must individually apply for a Fidelity Fund Certificate to be issued to such person individually, and each partner must pay the prescribed fees to the Board.
• If the firm is a sole proprietorship, the proprietor must complete the necessary application forms, giving particulars of the business, and pay the prescribed fees. Only one certificate is issued in respect of sole traders.
The cost as well as time to complete registration of your business would depend on the nature of the entity you choose. It can take anything from 10 to 35 days and cost can range from N$ 1 000.00 to around N$ 6 000.00. Most dealings will happen with the Registrar of Companies and Close Corporations which is located at the Ministry of Trade and Industry. The first step will be the approval of the name of the entity.
Directors, members, partners and sole proprietors must submit their application forms and payment together with the firm’s application form in one batch. No individual Fidelity Fund Certificate can be issued unless the entity’s application form has been received with the principals’ application forms. The entity itself makes no payment although it must complete an application form.
Getting settled into a real estate agent position in the Namibian real estate business can take six months or longer. During this "settling in" period, a real estate agent's income will fluctuate (probably wildly), or even be totally non-existent! Real estate agents usually work only on a commission basis. So, to get paid you have to sell a property first. And getting to the stage of selling a property takes time.
A year of financial instability and struggling really does sound like an extremely long time. But that is how long it can take to get a foothold in the occupation of real estate agent. You have to remember that a real estate agent only gets money once the property is finally transferred from the seller to the buyer's name. Consideration of all the steps that are involved in the property transfer process and the fact that the average property transfer takes between two and three months to complete, a time frame of one year is fairly reasonable.
The application form must be accompanied by:
• A letter from the firm’s bankers confirming that a properly designated trust account has been opened for example, NFCA [Pty] Ltd, Trust account opened in terms of section 32 of Act No 112 of 1976 and recording the trust account number;
• A letter from the firm’s auditors confirming acceptance of such appointment.
Name of your Agency:
Estate agents may not use a name/trade name which is identical or confusingly similar to the name/trade name of an estate agent who has already been issued with a fidelity fund certificate or whose fidelity fund certificate has been suspended, has lapsed or has been withdrawn. Estate agents are warned, before incurring any expenditure, to ascertain from the Board whether a proposed name/trade name is acceptable on initial or subsequent registrations.
To choose the legal entity:
When starting your agency it could be difficult to choose the suitable legal entity, especially if you don’t have experience in legal and accounting matters. The most common business entities are Sole Trader/Proprietorship, Partnership, Close Corporation, Private Company or Public Company. The major differences between the entities relate to ownership, capital requirements, liability issues, profit sharing and statutory reporting requirements.
The Estate Agency Affairs Board will issue the Fidelity Fund Certificate to the estate agent concerned and only on the issue of these Fidelity Fund Certificates, may such estate agent commence operations. You should also seek membership of the Institute of Estate Agents in Namibia as this will provide you with several benefits when starting up.
Training for estate agents in Namibia
Many people are interested in joining the estate agents’ profession but quickly reconsider when they look at the conditions under which they will work for the first year or so and soon walk away from the real estate industry. Some agents on the other hand enter the industry with few or no formal training - only to face a long, lonely road ahead. Fortunately there are such training programs in Namibia to encourage and equip newly qualified agents into the profession and to assist them with training. It is one of the primary objectives of these programs, in conjunction with the Association of Estate Agents in Namibia to educate estate agents with meaningful literature, seminars and training methods. Please contact us for more detail.