A new initiative launched last month by the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB), where estate agents have to register themselves for digital accreditation through PrivySeal, will go a long way toward protecting the public against illegal operators in the property industry

Key bodies in the property industry agree that consumers need to deal only with registered estate agents, says Annette Evans, regional general manager of the Institute of Estate Agents of South Africa’s Western Cape branch. After going through extensive training and qualifying exams, they can be trusted with the intricacies of property buying and selling.

PrivySeal is a digital seal, which offers a hyperlinked verification certificate that confirms the real-time registration status of the estate agent in question.  This summarises the agent’s professional credentials and enables the public to check whether they are registered and suitably qualified in their field. The PrivySeal is only displayed once it is confirmed via the EAAB’s database that the agent concerned has a valid Fidelity Fund Certificate (FFC). It should be embedded into all agents’ email signatures and their digital media (such as websites and social media profiles). As from this month, it is a requirement for all agents to be registered with and use PrivySeal. Members of the public are urged to check whether they are dealing with current FFC holders.

All estate agents can obtain their personal PrivySeal online. They should first, however, check that all their information is correctly recorded on the MyEAAB portal as this will be used for their PrivySeal. Once the agent has successfully signed up, he or she will automatically be  issued with a PrivySeal to use on all their correspondence and digital portals. Further detailed information may be obtained via the EAAB’s website by clicking here.

The EAAB began their public awareness campaign in August, says Evans, so agents are urged to get their registration done as soon as possible.