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Veteran female estate agent gives REAL Advice

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Jill Lloyd gives the inside scoop on how she is surviving the post-election slump and the little moments that keep her going.

Jill Lloyd is a veteran agent and area specialist in Rondebosch and Claremont for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty. 

Q: How did you get into the real estate business?

When my children were born I needed a more flexible schedule. Before I was actually a supply control manager of a clothing factory which required very long hours. I thought I’d just give real estate a try.

It’s actually suited me very well. I found I had a flair for chatting to people. Selling, in actual fact, is listening to people and finding out what they need and fulfilling those needs.

Lloyd now partners with her daughter, Robyn Bradley. Picture: Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty

Q: What is the best part of the job?

I absolutely love helping young couples struggling to buy their first house. They don’t know what they’re doing with regard to the bond or anything. Taking them through the steps and handing the key over to them afterwards is quite rewarding.

This one time I gave a pen to this young couple for their first house signing. Six or seven years later they called me with a mandate to sell the house. They say hang on a minute and fetch the same pen. They kept it all those years. It’s funny little things, you know.

Q: How about the hardest part of being an estate agent?

There’s a lot of disappointment. You have to be able to take a smack in the face and bob up just keep trying.

I worked very hard on a Rondebosch house I had a mandate on. They insisted on having the house for a higher price. I said, ‘look it’s going to sell fine but the price seems to be just a little bit lower. And just as soon as the election is finished then it’s going to sell.’

My mandate ran out and they gave me a dual mandate, insisting on getting this other company involved. That other company had a first show house and they sold it. If I’d been doing the show I would have had the buy.

It swings in roundabouts, I mean I did that to another company.

Hear Jill tell the story below.

Lloyd on popping a sold sign up on a property that another company was trying to sell.
Video: Abbie Wolf

Q: You mentioned the patience sellers need in this economy. How about for estate agents, in this post-election economic slump, how do you survive financially?

It’s so hard right now because you have a lot of outgoings in this job as well: you’ve got to run your car, petrol, we have an assistant that we have to pay for every month and other expenses like buying a cake when people move in.

This is definitely a limiting factor for people of limited means to go into the work. You could possibly have to carry yourself for three months before you sell something, and it’s another three months before the transfer is going to go through. So it could be that you got to keep yourself going for six months.

I think it is very important to not overspend because you can suddenly get a whole load of money. You’ve got to almost pay yourself a salary each month because you might not get any more for ages.

Q: So it sounds like there’s a huge barrier to entry.

Well there is a bit of a barrier, but if the companies see someone that really shows good promise they will sub them for a bit. But that could become quite a burden.

Q: What kind of person would show great promise?

You have got to have a hard head, guts, a huge sense of humor and doggy persistence.

My boss told me I was just like a terrier once. I had a deal and I just kept on wriggling around at it for a few weeks and eventually it went through.

On top of a competitive nature, an agent needs to be able to be attentive and able to soothe clients in time of distress. Video: Abbie Wolf

Q: Any specific advice for first time home buyers?

Setting up a good record with the bank not overextending themselves. Someone came in a little while ago and said I’m sure we’re good for credit because we’ve just bought a new car. I look at the car and it’s a BMW.

This is like the kiss of death for someone buying a house. The credit for buying a car is very much easier than buying a house. So they’ve lent the money for this car, which takes money away from their available income and they haven’t checked it out as hard. So I would say don’t go and buy a car yet.

Q: How is the rental market doing?

Rentals at the moment are not doing as well as normal. People are wanting cheaper rentals. I think it’s a question of affordable basic affordability – the normal working man paying tax in this country is being squeezed very hard at the moment and I don’t know how much more they can squeeze him.

It’s the first time I’ve ever known when the rentals and the sales of houses are down. Normally it’s one or the other. Getting higher price rentals is very hard at the moment.

Q: If you had between R1 and R1.5 million where would you invest and why?

The top of town is going for very good prices. You could pick up a really small, but nice, flat up there.

Something in the Rondebosch and Rosebank university area, a little place would be a good investment because you’ve always got student demand.

For a little more at R2.5 million in Rondebosch I could get you a two bedroom townhouse in a security estate with a garage, garden and community pool.

There are some nice properties around which won’t be in a while. The market will turn. It always does, the wheel always goes around.


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