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Hard work pays off: from intern to Rookie of the Year

MAIN IMAGE: Chwayita Hoyi receiving her award as Rookie of the Year from Craig Hutchison, CEO of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa. Source: Engel & Völkers Southern Africa 

by Chantalle Bell

From an intern agent to team leader to being awarded Rookie of the Year in only two years – Engel & Völkers estate agent, Chwayita Hoyi, is living proof that hard work in the property industry pays off.

Her career in real estate began in 2015 as an intern with Engel & Völkers through the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) ‘One Learner One Agency’ program. At the time Chwayita worked as a public relations officer with no thought of going into property marketing.

“I was not intending to pursue a career in property, the industry literally found me and I could not be more grateful,” Chwayita comments.

She says that she had her choice of agencies to join and had to do some investigation to see which would be the best fit. The Engel & Völkers brand appealed to her because of its reputation, international footprint as well as the professional training that their agents receive.

After finding her feet in the company and industry, she inter-branch transferred to Engel & Völkers Hyde Park in 2015. The reason for the move was purely strategic, as their licence territory covered the area in which Chwayita ideally wanted to operate. It did not take her long to show her skills and professionalism in her new office and before long she was promoted to the role of team leader by Scott Pharoah, the licence partner and Debbie Robertson, operations manager.

“It is seldom that a rookie would reach team leader status in such a short period of time, but Chwayita truly was an exceptional candidate,” notes Craig Hutchison, CEO of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.

Chwayita says that she will never forget her very first sale. “It was a unit in upmarket Hurlingham which sold for R2 million in a space of 2 months during a challenging time in the industry. After numerous viewings and show days, a buyer got in touch with me, and I took her to view the property. It was love at first sight, and an offer followed almost immediately, and a new listing as a bonus, as she asked me to sell one of her other properties too.”

Although her passion up to now has been more for the residential side of property, Chwayita says she is intent on becoming a well-rounded property professional and learning about other areas such as commercial, property leasing and management too.

When asked what she has found to be the most challenging part of the property industry, she shared that it is advising potential sellers on a market-related price for their properties. “Although we have the statistics and data to provide them with an accurate valuation, it is still difficult to convince someone that their property might not have the same value as the emotional value they attached to it. To that end, I also have to add that the most enjoyable is hearing that a client is happy. Whether it be a buyer with the properties that have been shown to them, or a seller about the successful sale – both sides are equally rewarding.

Chwayita believes the following is important to be a great estate agent:

  • Be a good listener that pays attention to the buyer’s needs
  • Be an ethical agent that can be trusted by both the seller and the buyers
  • Be knowledgeable in order to advise clients correctly
  • Be passionate about what you are doing.
  • Have an entrepreneurial spirit as you are essentially running your own business within the franchise business

She says the sales environment comes with a lot of financial rewards but with that it also comes disappointments and sometimes rejection. She believes the most vital business tool that estate agents should have at their disposal in today’s market to ensure success is knowledge of this dynamic industry and flexibility to accommodate clients.

“This will set them apart from the rest,” she says.

The one thing Chwayita wishes someone had taught or told her when she first started out in property is that it’s a full-time job. “If you really want to become successful at it, you need to invest a lot of time.” She advises rookies to decide whether this is really what they want to pursue long term and if so be prepared to work hard because it is a very competitive industry.

When Chwayita isn’t working she spends her free time having fun with her 9 year old daughter. She recently joined the gym, and also likes going out to bookshops for a coffee and a read, or going out to watch live performances in the theatre. Ideally when the opportunity arises one day she would love to travel extensively.

In April at the company’s annual rewards function Chwayita received the top Engel & Völkers Rookie Agent of the Year award in terms of her commission turnover achieved for 2017.

Chwayita believes she still has a lot of work to do before she can consider herself as successful, however she is very grateful for the recognition the company has shown her and for what they have done thus far. Her top three secrets to success are: Determination, Education and a Passion for whatever you decide to pursue in life.

About the author: Chantelle Bell is a feature writer for Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.

You are welcome to share inspirational stories about your agents or agencies with our consideration by emailing

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