Global to Local: Community Legend Uniting People and Businesses Through Collaboration

Jannie van den Berg
Jannie van den Berg

Jannie van den Berg’s retirement plan has seen him sell six homes in just 14 months. While he may be a relative newcomer to the property industry on the East Rand of Johannesburg, he is among the first of a new wave of real estate disruptors who are master collaborators.

As a long-standing member of the Benoni community, van den Berg is proving that local is lekker.

The real estate industry is competitive by nature, and agents tend to keep their cards close to their chests. Further, this is traditionally a profession defined by physical location; thus, until recently, agents only sold locally and buyers always viewed in person. The business of selling houses was still largely face-to-face. Until now.

Enter Jannie. He runs his independently owned business which is head-quartered regionally and powered around the globe. And the real doozie is that it’s taken an international real estate giant to bring the locals together as a commercial ‘rainbow nation’.

eXp South Africa (eXp SA) launched in South Africa only 19 months ago but Jannie has taken their collaborative and innovative cloud-based business model and run with it.

“Once you’re in real estate powered by eXp SA, you need to think sharp and act fast,” said Jannie. “There’s no handbook on how to break new ground or get past the legacy gatekeepers, but the technologies, systems and collaborative workspaces offered by eXp SA is my silver-bullet.”

Jannie says, “With eXp SA it’s real estate done differently. The company offers the very best online training, mentorship and support in the world, with thousands of hours of intelligence to draw from and direct access to the leading local and international property professionals. Business is conducted in the metaverse and it’s 100% collaborative. We’re able to remain independent, non-franchised business owners but meet our colleagues and interact with them online. The same applies for our clients.”

From the initial viewing to all the paperwork, finance applications, conveyancing and more – eXp’s online systems are making it easier, simpler and less time consuming for the agent, buyer, seller and third party players too. “The value of in-person is still there and will never be replaced, especially when it comes to physically viewing the asset.”

Jannie unpacks another shift in gear in the way he’s building his new real estate business; “an unofficial but highly effective collaboration and networking group has been setup. Other eXp property professionals, industry colleagues looking to network and suppliers who work and live in the area get together on a regular basis.’’

Now, the East Rand team of about 50 property professionals meet at Emperors Palace fortnightly. Jannie, well networked in the community, with thanks to his Benoni Sports Club days, has become the unofficial chair.

“It’s been a game-changer for us independent brokers. We meet, and we share listings and referrals. We’re constantly learning and play to each other’s strengths, for example, we’ve worked out who prefers to do rentals and we channel the work in their direction.”

Guest speakers are also invited to the networking meetings: “these are often motivational or knowledge-sharing talks which are integral to staying on the ball and keeping morale up,” he says.

“Barter exchanges are another terrific benefit coming out of the group as we get the best deals for our members and clients. From bond originators to business card printers through to moving companies and more, we have developed solid relationships with the local business community. We’re helping to get fellow entrepreneurs off the ground and up against Goliath, and offering our clients a world-class service at the same time. Working this way is a win-win for everyone.”

Even auctioneers attend meetings because they know Jannie and their involvement offers a quicker turnaround when needed.

“What you know is important, but who you know is critical. It’s time, in 2022 to collaborate, to tap into our networks and knowledge base. This is us as South Africans. There is that spirit of Ubuntu and we have taken our online skills and relationships out into the community and cast the net wider.”