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An agent who beat the odds

Hayford Obeng is certainly not your run-of-the-mill estate agent. Despite not having a driver’s license or owning a car he still managed to win the award of most units sold at the Seeff Pretoria East office in 2017, even if this meant that he had to make use of public transport or walk far distances to meet clients all over Pretoria.

Hayford, who hails from western Ghana, came to South Africa in 2007 at the age of 25. Despite obtaining various qualifications including diplomas in computing, marketing and accounting (he completed the first part toward becoming a chartered accountant) in his home country, it was tough to find professional employment in South Africa.

“I came to South Africa in the hope to complete my qualification in accounting, but it was not easy to find professional employment that would allow me to study part time. I found employment as a security guard and handled access control to a residential complex at night, while I worked as a teacher during the day. There was not a lot of time to sleep, but I was committed to making a success of my life,” Hayford says.

Hayford was quickly promoted to a security supervisor. In this time he also joined a church where the pastor’s wife was a property agent. “I stopped teaching and started to help the pastor’s wife with property listings in my free time and learned as much about the property industry as possible. In this time I also worked as a gardener at a guest house in Waterkloof for a while.”

The pastor’s wife who Hayford assisted mentioned his name to Ronel van der Linde, who is the sales director at Seeff Pta East, and she and her husband and branch MD, Gerhard, decided to give Hayford an opportunity to work for them.

Although Hayford attended many courses in property, he was exempted based on his academic background, but still completed his NQF5 qualification.

“Working as an estate agent without my own transport is not easy. I have a vast area to cover and some areas aren’t always safe, especially when you have to walk. When I do show days I often have to travel with many boards and banners which is especially challenging. Punctuality is also extremely important so I would leave with a taxi hours before an appointment to make sure that I arrive on time.”

Despite these challenges Hayford still managed to sell three homes in the five months he worked at Seeff in 2015, made 12 sales in 2016, almost 21 sales in 2017 and six sales to date this year.

Hayford usually gets home at around 10pm every night because public transport is not always reliable, but he has saved money for a car and hopes to own his own vehicle in the next few months.

“In addition to owning my own car I want to make between 30 and 50 sales this year and I also want to continue my studies towards becoming a chartered accountant.”

Gerhard van der Linde says Hayford demonstrated exceptional ambition and dedication and for this he was awarded with the

“Most units sold in 2017” award, and the “Most Inspirational Agent in the Branch award” because of his positive attitude and strong work ethic.

“You really have to work very hard and do show houses every Saturday and Sunday, like I do!” Hayford concludes.

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