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Real estate runs in the family 

Real estate runs in the family

MAIN IMAGE: Gerhard Kotze, RealNet CEO

Staff Writer

RealNet was founded in Pretoria in 1996, opening the doors of its first franchise in 2001. Since then, the company has grown into a proudly South African success story spanning 21 years and counting, now covering over 60+ franchise territories, and employing 500+ Property Practitioners and staff.

CEO, Gerhard Kotze, began his career as a real estate agent in the 90s, achieving top agent status multiple times. He later owned and managed his own estate agency before joining Aida as a senior agent, eventually transitioning to Regional, and later National Franchise Manager.

Gerhard went on to become the CEO of ERA South Africa in 2002, during which time he was awarded the ‘Young Lions Award’ at the prestigious Property Professional Awards in 2008, before joining RealNet Properties in 2016.

Here Gerhard shares his real estate story, as well as the traits and habits he believes necessary to succeed in this business.

What attracted you to the industry?

I grew up in a third-generation real estate family, so it is safe to say that real estate is in my blood! For me, the real estate industry has always had a certain type of magic about it, magic that is accessible only to those willing to put in the work, make sacrifices, and dedicate themselves to a lifetime of growth and learning.

In this industry, there is no limit to what you can achieve or earn, the only limit you have is how big you can dream. If you have a big vision, big dreams, and the hunger and drive to turn those dreams into reality, your success in all aspects will follow. I also think what benefited me greatly, growing up in a real estate family, was knowing from the onset that a career in real estate would not always be easy, but if you are willing to make the necessary sacrifices you can make a great success of it.

What do you believe is necessary to succeed in real estate?

You must have a real and unwavering desire to create a better life for yourself and your family. You also must be willing to make the necessary sacrifices, put in the work and long hours, be teachable, and acquire the necessary skills to reach your goals. Having a good mentor who is willing to invest time, knowledge, and effort into you is also crucial. Lastly, you must have self-confidence and be self-assured. Truly believe in yourself, who you are, and the skills that you have.

Which skills do you think successful agents need to cultivate?

To succeed you need to focus on the fundamentals:

  • Get stock,
  • Connect that stock to the right buyers and close the deal, 
  • Remember it’s all about connecting people and places, connecting hearts and homes,
  • Develop a daily routine that works for you and stick to it,
  • You need to be able to break down your goals into manageable activities and tasks and execute them flawlessly and consistently,
  • Most of all, you need the self-discipline to commit to your goals and to do the required work, make the necessary sacrifices, and never stop working towards your goals, one small activity at a time.

What has been your proudest moment?

I have experienced many proud moments in both my personal life and my career. Every opportunity to step into a leadership position that I have been entrusted with has brought me great pride.

Recently my son took up his place as a fourth-generation realtor, completing his honors degree in real estate and starting his career at one of the leading development companies in South Africa. This was also an extremely proud moment for me.

However, I would like to answer this question in two ways: Proud moments as well as fulfilling moments, which I feel are similar but not the same.

After any engagement with our RealNet Network, be it Annual Awards, HUB meetings, or incentive trips, I experience a sense of fulfillment. When attending these events, you can tangibly feel the participants’ excitement, their sense of accomplishment, their realization of hard work that paid off, and how proud they are of themselves. That is a career worth having; one that can give back and able to instill that pride into people’s lives.

What is your advice for new entrants?

Don’t get stuck behind your computer or side-tracked by all the new tech. Focus on the foundational building blocks of real estate; perfect them and repeat them.

Focus on sourcing listings and connecting those listings with the right clients and the rest will follow.

It is also crucial to be part of a company that, is not only a good fit for you as an individual, but a company that can help you with the time-consuming administrative necessities offers guidance and growth opportunities, has qualified and knowledgeable support staff, and industry-leading systems that can help you focus on using your skills and talents to sell the property.

If not real estate, what would you be doing?

It’s hard to imagine my life and career any other way than it is at this moment. But, if I could choose, I could see myself being a farmer in the Green Kalahari or up North. I grew up on a farm, so nature and wildlife have a very special place in my heart and my life, and I try and get outdoors and into nature as often as I can. There is something rejuvenating and fulfilling about sitting around a campfire underneath the open African skies, the noises of the bush at sunrise, and the peace and serenity that nature gives us.

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