Community Living – Keeping property values high

By Veruska De Vita

Living in gated communities and estates has become a growing trend in South Africa. This type of lifestyle offers security, hassle-free living and the type of community where everyone knows their neighbour by name. Many estates also provide the opportunity for residents to enjoy communal amenities such as a club house, swimming pool, tennis courts, gym and children’s play areas. Some estates are positioned on a golf course, others have mountain biking trails and some are equestrian. Participation in sports and recreational activities adds significantly to the lifestyle on offer as well as the demand for properties in these estates.

Craig Hutchison, CEO of Engel & Völkers southern Africa, explains that for investors and home buyers, the ‘community living’ lifestyle is attractive. But in order for estates to work properly, where residents are content and property prices remain stable, or better still appreciate, they need to be well managed.

“Living in a well-run estate can be bliss, but the opposite also holds true. It is immediately evident if an estate isn’t properly managed – the gardens within communal areas aren’t properly cared for, general maintenance is lacking, cars are parked where they should not be and the like,” says Hutchison.

For complexes to be well managed, it is beneficial for home-owners to understand what it entails and who the responsibility falls on. Below are the outlines of the two types of schemes pertaining to complex rules.

Full Title and Sectional Title Management

The way a residential community is managed depends on whether the homes are full title (free-standing or free-hold) or sectional title. Full title means that an owner has full ownership rights to the building and the land it is built on and refers to free-standing houses, cluster houses and small-holdings.

Sectional title refers to separate ownership of units within a complex or development. When you buy within a sectional title development, you purchase a unit together with shared ownership of the common property.  Sectional title properties include townhouses, flats, semi-detached houses and duet houses.

As such, different rules and regulations apply to full title and sectional title properties.

Full Title property and Home Owner’s Association

Full title homes in estates fall under the rules and regulations of a Home Owners Association (HOA). Estate residents who own property in the complex are elected on to an HOA board of trustees. The board is responsible for making sure that the rules and regulations agreed upon by the residents are adhered to. Usually these leaders are elected because of their abilities and time capacity. For example, it is beneficial to have someone who understands property law to be part of the HOA board, as well as an accountant, an architect, landscaper and someone who works within the relevant municipality.

People who are retired also offer valuable expertise as they have the knowledge, the time and the interest in maintaining standards within the estate. Having the right people lead the HOA will hugely benefit the entire estate community.

Sectional Title property and Body Corporate

When living in a sectional title unit within a complex, the governing body is the Body Corporate (BC). All registered unit owners within the complex are members of the BC. The BC is responsible for managing the scheme and taking care of its finances. The members elect trustees who ensure that the daily running of the complex is carried out. Also, when the buildings need painting and walkways need to be repaved, it is the responsibility of the trustees to manage the implementation of the project, on behalf of all owners.

A managing agent is often appointed to take care of the duties of an HOA and BC. Duties include ensuring compliance with the relevant Acts, collection of monthly levies, paying the scheme’s insurance, arranging meetings, and making sure that the owners and tenants adhere to the rules.

Estates to fit your lifestyle

When buying property within estates and complexes, you should always look at the rules and regulations first, as well as the financial statements. Some estates don’t allow pets, while others have various rules pertaining to animals. Some communities aren’t child-friendly while others are made up of young families and children are allowed to play freely in the streets and in the communal areas.

“With estate living there are complexes to suit everyone’s life stage and needs. In this way, you will get the very best out of community living as you’ll be surrounded by like-minded people with similar lifestyle requirements, which makes for optimum enjoyment of your home and its surroundings,” concludes Hutchison.

For investors wanting to explore the benefits of estate and complex living, go to Paddocks Estate and Oak Tree Village.

Investing in rentable property

By Veruska De Vita

Purchasing a rental property is a major investment and can be a lucrative one.  But before making a final decision, take a step back and do some research.

Craig Hutchison, CEO Engel & Völkers Southern Africa says that it is important to take precautions when deciding to invest in buy-to-let property. “Take your time, look around and seek advice. Do your research and understand the market. Chat to a professional real estate company about what they have on offer that both suits your budget and your long and short term needs,” says Hutchison.

Know your consumer and find your niche

There are a variety of consumer types who seek the benefits of renting property, rather than owning it. Each consumer profile requires a specific type of property in a particular area and within a definitive budget. Students, for example, require property that is walking distance to university for a period of between three to five years. The property needs to be affordable, small and one to two bedroom if students intend on sharing. Fully furnished is also preferable.

Corporate businesses looking to accommodate international consultants will need an entirely different type of property. This property needs to be upmarket, situated in a central business district close to the corporate offices as well as malls and restaurants. This renter prefers properties that are fully furnished and exude luxury. The tenant is usually a client or a consultant who will reside in the property for a number of weeks or months at a time.

Singles are consumers who have started their career and are building towards purchasing their own home. They prefer the lock up and go lifestyle so an apartment in a newly built development where there is access to a clubhouse, laundry and gym, is ideal for this tenant.

Vacation property attracts a different tenant altogether. This type of buy to let usually generates high yields during very specific times of year, the rental period is short and can be days or weeks. It goes without saying that this type of property needs to be well located in areas where people enjoy vacationing, close to public transport, entertainment, beaches and places of interest. These need to be fully furnished and refurbished regularly to keep them attractive, especially where vacation rental property competition is high.

Do a pro forma analysis

Hutchison suggests doing a pro forma analysis on the property you’re looking to buy. “Look at similar properties in the area, research how the rents have changed in the past five years and how they are projected to change in the next ten years. Calculate the estimated maintenance and operational costs and you will have a better understanding on how much nett income the property would generate and what the capital growth would be,” concludes Hutchison.

Powers of attorney…can this expedite the transfer process?

By Sarikha Singh

Powers of Attorney are often used in property transactions where one of the parties for example, lives overseas or is out of the country for a short period of time. Using a Power of Attorney can expedite transfer, but bear in mind that certain documents such as affidavits would still have to be signed in person, and authenticated at for example, an overseas embassy.

“Powers of attorney is normally drafted by a person who wants to make provision for someone else to manage their property and affairs. Often the intention is to cater for when they are no longer able, capable or available of doing so for themselves. They then give such authority to a family member, friend, attorney or financial adviser to do so on their behalf” says Karien Hunter, Licence Partner of Engel & Völkers Dolphin Coast.

In certain circumstances the banks would allow for the signature of loan agreements and bank documents under Power of Attorney. Powers of Attorney however lapses in the event of death or mental incapacity.

In simple terms a power of attorney is defined as:

A written document in which one person appoints another person to act as an agent on his or her behalf, thereby conferring authority on the agent to perform certain acts or functions on his or her behalf.

  • The person granting power to the agent does so in writing and in the presence of 2 witnesses.
  • Powers of attorney executed outside the Republic must follow the correct authentication processes.
  • In terms of the Deeds Registries Act 47 of 1937, a power of attorney to transfer a property, must be registered in the Deeds office.
  • The Conveyancer attending to the transfer will add the Power of attorney to his/her lodgement set.
  • The person granting the Power can do so only if he/she is over 18 years of age and have mental capacity. The agent receiving the authority to act, must also be over the age of 18.
  • Powers of attorney can only be granted in respect of actions that the grantor already have the right and capacity to carry out, and no more.

There are two kinds of powers of attorney:

  1. General Powers of Attorney

Under this Power of Attorney, the agent is given authority to act generally on behalf of someone else. A general power of attorney is wide and all-encompassing.

If a person wants the agent to sign documents or enter transactions or agreements on his or her behalf, then you a general power of attorney would be advisable. This allows the third party to authorise the transactions, agreements, or conduct various activities on behalf of the grantor and is generally used where there is a physical disability.

  1. Special Power of Attorney

Under a special power of attorney, the agent is given authority to act in specific transaction and the power to act would come to an end once such action has been performed.

Termination of the Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is generally terminated when the grantor dies or becomes incapacitated. The grantor can revoke the power of attorney at any time.

Selling and moving overseas – How will this affect the conveyancing process

Whether you are selling or buying property in South Africa while living or working abroad, it is noteworthy to know that your property transactions can be concluded. Contracts of sale can be signed, scanned and sent back to the conveyancers or agents from anywhere in the world, however, from a conveyancing point of view, the signing of conveyancing documents when a party resides outside of South Africa is not so simple.


“Conveyancing documents that are signed overseas can only be used at the Deeds Office if they are properly authenticated, Section 63 of the Uniform Rules of the High Court regulates these requirements. Authentication can be done at any foreign South African Embassy or consulate service overseas” advises Karien Hunter, Licence Partner Engel & Völkers KZN Dolphin Coast.


In the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland, a Notary Public in that country can authenticate the documents that have been signed. Once signed, such documents then need to be sent back to the conveyancers by courier as the original documents are required to be submitted at the Deeds Office with the authentication certificate.


“If you are planning to be abroad when purchasing or selling a property it will be advisable that a Power of Attorney is signed prior to your departure from South Africa, enabling a third party to sign some of the documents on behalf of the client. Some documents however cannot be signed under Power of Attorney such as affidavits” Karien concluded.

Intern to Rookie of the year to Team Leader – Chwayita Hoyi, proof that hard work pays off

The past two years has definitely been exciting and successful for estate agent, Chwayita Hoyi achievements. Her story begins in 2015, where she started her career in real estate as an Intern Agent when she was introduced to Engel & Völkers through the EAAB’s “One Learner Program”, where she started her internship with Engel & Völkers Broadacres and has just been awarded as the top Engel & Völkers Rookie Agent of the Year in terms of commission turnover achieved for 2017 at the annual rewards function which took place in April.


Before Chwayita established herself in the property industry she was in the PR and Marketing industry as a Public Relations Officer. “I was not intending on pursuing a career in property, the industry literally found me and I could not be more grateful” Chwayita commented.


She says that she had her choice of agencies to join, and had to do some investigation to see which would be the right fit. The Engel & Völkers brand appealed to her because of its reputation, international footprint as well as the professional training that their agents receive, and as she knew she would need the best guidance if she was going to make this work, she decided that it was the best choice as it would offer her the opportunity to grow in the new career she was embarking on.


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 ideally wanted to operate in. It did not take her long to show her skills & professionalism off in her new office as she was promoted to the role of Team Leader by the Licence Partner, Scott Pharoah and Operations Manager, Debbie Robertson. “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” noted Craig Hutchison, CEO of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa. This is a huge accomplishment in both the company and in the industry at large. She is delighted and humbled, and would like to thank all who have played a role in making this journey a remarkable one.


Chwayita said 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”.


Chwayita says that although her passion has been more for the residential side of the property industry up to now, she intends 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 do have the statistics and data to provide them with an accurate valuation, it is still difficult to convince someone that their property might not be the same value as the emotional value they have estimated it on. 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 that the characteristic that makes for a great estate agent is a good listener that pays attention to the buyer’s needs, an ethical agent that can be trusted by both the seller and the buyers, they have to be knowledgeable in order to advise clients correctly and passionate about what they are doing. The sales environment comes with a lot of financial reward but with that also comes disappointments and sometimes rejection. And lastly they need to have an entrepreneurial spirit as they are essentially running their own business within the franchise business. She believes that 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”.


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 is not working she is spending her free time having fun with her 9 year old daughter. She has recently joined the gym and prior to that, down time was relaxing at home with her daughter, 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.


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. In saying this, her top 3 secrets to success are: Determination, Education and a Passion for whatever you decide to pursue in life.

Engel & Völkers join forces with a global private equity investor

Engel & Völkers Southern Africa and International Housing Solutions sign the first Engel & Völkers Developer Driven Projects License in the SADC region.


The partnership brings together the best marketing, control systems, and depth of development knowledge, ensuring the delivery of quality housing stock country wide.


“Combining the complementary strengths of both companies has resulted in a unique delivery approach, guaranteeing that well priced, quality housing is being delivered in the most efficient and cost effective way possible” shares Craig Hutchison, CEO of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.


There exists attractive opportunities for both buy-to-let investors where rental track records are in place as well as first time home buyers eager to get into well located suburbs where well priced quality housing has been in short supply. “We are excited to bring to market such affordably priced housing units – all located in popular suburbs. The competitive pricing level ensures the beneficiaries of these units will be the middle income bracket, which as we know, is where massive demand exists and will continue to be our clientele as they climb the property ladder” Craig continued.


For more than ten years International Housing Solutions have been involved in the delivery of over 33 000 quality residential rental units. It’s these housing units which form part of the pipeline to be released into the market over the coming years.


The first phase of the roll-out, beginning July, will see the release of 900 housing units into the market with selling prices starting below R600 000. Over the next three years some 9,000 housing units will be released with a combined value just under R4 billion.


Grant Harris, Director of IHS Property Management explained that the value each company brings to this partnership cannot be understated. The synergies will ensure the success of this endeavour and we are proud to offer our well designed, energy efficient product into the market. In many cases these units form part of already functioning, vibrant communities that have been managed by us over a number of years. We look forward to Engel & Völkers’ approach to service as well as their ongoing care of customer needs”.


For more information on the upcoming developments, contact Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.

About International Housing Solutions: IHS is a real estate investment manager, focusing on the development and management of residential projects for the fast growing middle income market. They partner with financial institutions, real estate developers, private capital groups and government authorities to provide equity finance for various residential projects, delivering energy efficient, affordable residential developments. IHS works with developer partners who have the reputation, organizational structure, track record and financial capacity to execute the proposed transactions and property developments.

About Engel & Völkers: Engel & Völkers is one of the world’s leading service companies specialised in the sale and rental of premium residential property, commercial real estate, yachts and aircrafts. Based in over 800 locations in total, Engel & Völkers offers both private and institutional clients a professionally tailored range of services. Leasing, sales, consultancy and valuations form the core competences of the staff of more than 10,000 employees. The company is currently operating in over 34 countries on 4 continents. Intensive training schemes in its in-house real estate Academy and the high level of quality assurance governing its systematically structured service provision are key factors that account for the company’s success.

Property Scams

Our lives have been made considerably easier with technological advances such as the internet. Unfortunately it has also opened up a world of opportunities for con artists. As automation improves, so does the level of property scams, and while every precaution is taken, there will always be yet another way that fraudsters discover to deceive buyers and sellers out of large sums of money.

“Fraud and investment scams thrive in all degrees in the real estate market, from developers who expect payment for work not done or a pretend agent who embezzles money. Working with a legitimate estate agent at your side will ensure that you will be protecting yourself against common types of real estate scams. When dealing with an agent, buyers and sellers must check that the agent is registered with the Estate Agency Affairs Board and has a valid Fidelity Fund Certificate. It’s illegal for an agent to practise if they are not in possession of this important document. These certificates are issued on an annual basis and must reflect that the agent is licensed to practise for the current year. Always obtain certainty on the banking details were payments or deposits are being made” advises Craig Hutchison, CEO Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.


We single out the most predominant property scams you may encounter while searching to buy or rent property.


Intercepted Emails 

This involves scammers, hacking into the email of people involved in the transactions, such as agents or lawyers, by tricking home buyers into wiring funds to them instead of the appropriate parties. They often will use a generic email address indicating that the funds should be wired to a specific account which will then vanish without a paper trail.


Changes made regarding payment details must always be done by the seller in person if possible, or telephonically verifying the email, and not via email alone. Protect yourself by double checking everything, verifying all emailed instructions that deal with the purchase even if they’re from trusted parties, any bank detail changes need to be accompanied by the required verification of the bank accounts in question.


Fraudsters posing as a Buyer

They will approach a seller privately and show keen interest in the property and put in an offer. After a few days, the supposed buyer will contact the seller asking for a document to be signed to help them get their home loan approved, which the seller then signs without reading too much of the document only to discover later that a third party claims to have bought the home.


It will be found that the scam artist (the first buyer) has been marketing the home online as an agent, by taking the photos off various websites, and has found a buyer who is also unaware that something is wrong – and who might have paid a large deposit over to the supposed agent. Make sure you check every detail when it comes to property sale transactions, documents can be falsified and email addresses cloned.


Identity Theft

Criminals have become much more experienced and are using stolen identity details not only to empty bank accounts but to obtain various credit accounts and even home loans. They are able to delay detection of the fraud for long periods while the unpaid bills and instalments mount up. The scammer will use false documents to pose as the property owner, register forged documents transferring a property to their name, and then get a new mortgage against the property. After securing a mortgage or line of credit, the criminal takes the cash and disappears.


Bait and Switch Scheme

This occurs when a prospective buyer offers an ‘above market value’ price to a seller. The seller, impressed by the high offer signs the contract, meanwhile the deceitful buyer has no intention to purchase the property. Once the seller signs the contract, the seller may only sell to that buyer for a specified time, when that time ends the fraudster asks to extend the contract a few weeks to work out closing details. Sounding reasonable, the seller agrees to the extension blinded by the high offer.


In the meantime the seller keeps paying taxes, maintenance, utilities and insurance the buyer comes back to the seller with an excuse as to why this price no longer works, and requests a reduction to below market value and threatens to cancel if their demand is not met. Stressed by time and on-going costs, the seller agrees to the reduction.


Duplicated Listings

‘Agents’ copy legitimate rental listings and advertise for a much cheaper price. Unfortunately, many people fall for these fake listings and wire money to the owners of these fake listings. When searching for a rental, do your research and make sure you are working with a reputable company or agent.


Fake Rental Agents

When you find a property you really like, you call the agent to arrange a viewing and they say they will meet you there. Later they call and say they won’t be able to make it anymore, but no need to worry the landlord will be there to show you around. The agent then promises to negotiate a lower price with the landlord. When you arrive at the house you find many other people interested in renting the same place. You call the agent back to negotiate a better price that you’re happy with; they will phone you back shortly to inform you of the new price, all you have to do is transfer the money for the first two months to secure the place. On moving day, you find someone else is moving in and the agent wasn’t an agent; they just found the property online and reposted it with their own contact information. They purposely send several people at a time to view the property to generate a sense of urgency for the potential renters.


Avoid becoming a victim

  • Be wary when you are requested to make a payment for something minor like a credit check or security deposit, in most cases, there’s nothing you can do to get your money back because the scammer can’t be tracked.
  • If the price looks too good to be true, it probably is. Prices are considerably higher than they were a few years ago.
  • The email sounds strange – some listings hide the email address when you send a message, so you might not be able to see the address if you respond to the listing. Scammers usually use free email servers and they’ll often go by a series of random letters to make them less easily traceable.
  • The Agent won’t show you the property – If you ask to see the property and they claim it’s impossible, it’s probably a fake listing. Agent will make time for people who are interested in the property.
  • The seller pushes you – the faster a scammer gets you to agree to a business deal, the faster they can steal your money and avoid getting caught. The seller will often use high-pressure tactics that attempt to push you into acting quickly in order to purchase the home. Don’t be prodded by any seller to send money.
  • The seller asks you to wire money – when you see the term “wire money” or similar variation of that phrase come up in a business conversation with someone you’ve never met, red flags should go up. Many scams entail wiring of funds because it’s more difficult to trace and enables the scammer to collect the money sooner. Scammers will come up with a variety of plausible reasons why the money should be wired rather than sent through a bank or lawyer.
  • The buyer or seller is foreign and wants to buy a home unseen – most people want to at least see a property and become familiar with the area before making a large investment. This doesn’t mean you should be wary of all foreign inquiries, but many scams often occur overseas because it’s harder to trace the person behind the fraud. Foreign buyers who don’t ask questions, act in haste, and don’t care to see the property indicate a high likelihood of fraud.
  • Be well informed about market related prices within the area you are looking to rent or buy. If a property is advertised way below the market related price for that area it should raise your concerns.
  • If you found a “bargain” online you should call the estate agency to find out if the deal is for real. Don’t call the number at the bottom of the ad because this number could lead to a fake office. Rather find the actual office number, call there and ask the receptionist to give you the number of the specific agent or branch you are looking for.
  • Be wary of agents and landlord who seem too eager or pushy to get you to live in their property or one they are marketing. A legit agent or landlord will always conduct the necessary checks and will not be too disappointed when you don’t show much interest in the property.
  • If the agent is constantly making up excuses as to why they are not able to meet you or show you the property, you should also be worried. The chances are good that they don’t have access to the property and are stalling for time until they can think of a clever way to get you to pay the deposit.
  • Never pay a deposit before you have viewed a property.

When dealing with an agent, buyers and sellers must check that the agent is registered with the Estate Agency Affairs Board and has a valid Fidelity Fund Certificate. It’s illegal for an agent to practise if they are not in possession of this important document. These certificates are issued on an annual basis and must reflect that the agent is licensed to practise for the current year. Always obtain certainty on the banking details were payments or deposits are being made

Retirement Estate Provide Water for Elderly Residents

The Western Cape water crisis is coming to a head fast, and, for many, panic has started to sink in. With Day Zero more than likely, despite the best efforts of many residents to minimise water usage, drastic measures are now needed.

Come this day, the logistics of water collection are not known, but businesses, families and individuals in affected areas are already plotting Day Zero action plans – the result being new products and solutions springing up from businesses, supermarkets seeing record bottled water sales, and waterless hygiene products being snapped up from store shelves.

Posts are flying around social media with many people, understandably, expressing concern for citizens who may not be able to collect water for themselves such as the elderly and infirm.

One company, Amdec, has already started taking proactive steps to ensure that its retired residents will be catered for, by creating water-saving initiatives at its Evergreen retirement developments.

“Water consumption is already managed on Evergreen properties, with a focus on rain and grey water harvesting and water-wise gardens,” says Cobus Bedeker, Development Director of Evergreen Lifestyle Retirement Villages.

To ensure access to water does not become an issue at any of their five retirement villages in the Cape, Evergreen has put additional measures in place to prepare for the likelihood of Day Zero set for early April.

Evergreen developments in the Cape, including Bergvliet, Diep River, Muizenberg and Noordhoek estates will be treating borehole water for drinking water.

“Fresh bottles water will be supplied to all Evergreen residents in most case this will come from our water purification plants,” shares Bedeker.

He adds that Evergreen will also provide each home within the retirement villages with a 1000-litre slimline water tank to collect rain water to be used by residents for domestic use. This will be toped up with borehole water if need be.

One of its latest projects is the development of Val de Vie Evergreen near Paarl – the largest retirement estate in South Africa. The development went off the grid in early December 2017.

“We’re very fortunate to be in a position where there will be no ‘day zero’ at Val de Vie ,” says marketing director Ryk Neethling. “We have been working proactively with the Drakenstein municipality on this project which will free up municipal water resources for the community at large that would normally have been channelled to the 1 500 homes on the estate.”

The entire estate taps into the water-saving features already in place on the estate, including a water purification plant to utilise the underground aquifer and move away from reliance on municipal water. All new homes are being fitted with plumbing for grey water systems, along with general water-saving measures across the estate.

Water usage on the estate, including the Pearl Valley Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf course has been reduced by more than 50%.

“We have to adapt and become smarter in the way we use water. It is everyone’s responsibility to make a difference now to ensure resources for the future of South Africa,” concludes Arthur Case, Chief Executive Officer of Evergreen Retirement Holdings.

As greener, more efficient sources of energy and water continue to attract investors, Neethling says buyers want to see sustainable features as well as ethical and social responsibility from developers.

What will Day Zero mean for construction

“With the pressure on our water resource we have for some time now utilised treated effluent and borehole water during the construction phase of our construction projects,” says Bedeker. “The treated effluent water is collected by the appointed contractor at local municipal water treatment plants and is safe to use for construction and irrigation purposes. In addition, we are also focused on waterless construction methodology.”

Going forward, Evergreen is currently investigating water-saving building systems from the UK, USA and China for future projects. These building methodologies use limited water, improved quality – as most components are manufactured in factories – and reduce the construction period.

‘We are following countries like China, US, UK where most homes are constructed from steel, timber and environmentally friendly materials,” Bedeker concludes.

Waterwise construction is of course the future of the construction industry in South Africa.

Who will be looking after your property this holiday season?

With the year quickly coming to an end and the December holidays looming around the corner, most of us have probably already planned or at least thought about your well-deserved break.  Unfortunately, before you can start packing those bags, there are a number of important things to consider and plenty of planning to be done, such as who will take care of your home, water the plants and most importantly take care of your pets.


Hiring a house sitter when there are no family or friends around to take care of your property and pets, has become a very popular and sought-after option, not only is it is cost-effective, but it gives you peace of mind that your home, garden and cherished pets are well looked after in your absence.


Most home owners make use of house sitters for 2 main reasons. Firstly, to put the comfort of their pets first and in so doing help avoid the stress and expense of kennels and catteries, and secondly for security purposes, to help ensure that their property is safe, making sure that everything runs smoothly just as if they were at home. “Security is a top priority, leaving your property unoccupied for any length of time is risky as your home is far more likely to be burgled” cautioned Craig Hutchison, Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.


“It is advisable to contact your insurance service provider and your security company, to review your cover before you leave on holiday, to guarantee you are covered while away and to let them know you have a house sitter staying on the premises for that period of time. Some insurers require that the policy holder notify them if they going to leave their house unoccupied for 60 days or more. This is viewed as a change in risk and insurers may apply an additional premium for the period that the home is unoccupied” Craig continued.



Pets: Leaving your pet in a kennel/cattery can become quite costly and may expose them to unwanted ailments such as kennel cough. The stress-free environment house sitters provide to your pets – is by far the biggest bonus of having a pet sitter. Animals thrive on routine and get disruptive when their daily pattern of walks, playtime, and treats get thrown out of the window. A sitter will provide the same quantity of love and affection your pet is used to at a fraction of the cost. They are much happier in the familiarity of their own home and respond much better to a new carer than a new environment. You can enjoy your holiday with peace of mind that your pets are in good hands and can return home to calm and contented animals.


Security: A house sitter will there to provide the daily routines of the house namely, taking out the garbage, collecting post, turning lights on and being there to supervise and pay the gardener. Numerous home owners occasionally depend on neighbours, friends or relatives to keep an eye on their uninhabited property while they are away, however at times home security can still be compromised  if a house is left empty. House sitters provide a visible presence and act as a 24-hour deterrent against burglars who watch and prey on activity-free homes. An un-mown lawn and a pile of rain-soaked newspapers, is only going to encourage the wrong kind of visitor to your home.

Maintenance: Depending on the duration of your holiday, this is not something that can be put on hold when you are away. Without regular maintenance your lawn and plants can die or suffer severe damage, so much so that reviving them could also come at a high cost. The largest cost saving may be related to emergency maintenance. House sitters are there to see the breakages before they become total failures, this may be spotting a leak or a burst pipe, broken fridge/freezer or geyser problems. They will be on hand to organise repairs in the event of a minor or major emergency, possibly saving you a lot of money.


Choosing the right person for the job

When recruiting a house sitter make sure that it’s through recommendations from friends or from a reputable company offering professional services which will include in-depth screening and verification. Some companies who offer these services include The Pet Sitters and Hire a House Sitter.  Take your time and ensure you have investigated all options and do your research about the person and organization. It is extremely important to end up choosing the right person for what you require as you need to completely trust this person and be happy with your choice, else you will not enjoy your holiday.


Most will assume the responsibilities such as performing general maintenance and making sure that everything runs smoothly, but you might have some special requirements such as ensuring the person is ‘pet friendly’ and even more importantly that your pets feel comfortable with the specific individual.


What services will they offer me?

It is always good to ensure give them a checklist of what you require your sitter to do. This will ensure they are informed beforehand and can ensure they cater to your specific requirements. Here are some suggestions of items to include:


In & around the home:

  • Perimeter checks
  • Arming of alarm
  • Electricity checks, fridge, freezer, geyser, pool etc.
  • ​Collecting of post and papers
  • Opening closing curtains, blinds etc.
  • Putting lights on and off
  • Watering of plants, in and outdoors
  • Back wash pool and add chemicals
  • Putting trash bin in and out
  • Send daily SMS feedback


For your pet:

  • Provide fresh food, water and treats daily
  • Administer medicines, vitamins, or any other special needs
  • Head to tail health check
  • General petting, playing or letting out pets
  • Indoor and outdoor clean-up of pet accidents
  • Daily SMS feedback with photo


What are the costs involved?

There are various options available, either overnight services or daily visits depending on your needs. Overnight services include actually living in your home whereas daily visits either once or twice a day just to stop by and check that everything is order. If you have pets, you might prefer them checking in twice a day or even staying overnight in order to give some extra TLC.  Though there are many private individuals and many other companies, we have a look at the two mentioned above to gain some more insight into the options available:

  • Hire a House Sitter offers overnight services ranging between R210 to R290 per night off season and R270 – R360 per night peak season. The more days you book, the lower the cost per night.
  • Pet Sitter offers daily visits from about R89 (1 visit per day) to R150 per day (2 visits per day) and offers you the choice between House Sitting or Pet Sitting.


Whether you prefer to stay informed of any issues that may affect your animals or property, or opt for a complete shutdown of information, you will be able to go on holiday knowing that someone is there keeping an eye on things, and to send you the occasional picture of Max or Sokkies for additional peace of mind. House sitters should definitely be a consideration for your next holiday.

A comprehensive step-by-step guide to becoming a real estate agent

You might have heard about ‘qualified real estate agent’ or perhaps even considered a career in the property industry, chances are that you started and then discarded your search due to all the jargon used or the various resources you needed to work through in order to get the full picture. We take an in-depth look at the process and what a real estate specialist has to do in order to earn their commission.

Getting qualified as an estate agent today is not as easy as it was in the past. “It is imperative for an aspiring estate agent to be provided with the correct training opportunities so that they are well equipped to earn a decent income working in an industry that is extremely competitive” warns Lara Machado, Sales Trainer at Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.


This Guide covers the following:

  • Definitions of terms used
  • Who needs to have a real estate qualification
  • The costs involved
  • The basic requirements
  • Get going – the 5 step process


Need to know before you get started:


  • Education Regulations means The Standard of Training of Estate Agents Regulations
  • EAAB means the Estate Agency Affairs Board
  • NQF Level 4 means the Further Education and Training Certificate required by non-principal estate agents
  • NQF Level 5 means the National Certificate: required by principal estate agents
  • PDE means the Professional Designation Examination conducted by the EAAB
  • PDE 4 means the Professional Designation Examination for non-principal estate agents.
  • PDE 5 means the Professional Designation Examination for principal estate agents
  • FFC: means Fidelity Fund Certificate issued by the EAAB validating legal trade in property

Who needs to have a real estate qualification?

  • A real estate qualification is required by anyone who buys or sells property as a profession,
  • Negotiates to buy or sell property;
  • Canvasses or undertakes or offer to canvass for a lessee or lessor for rental of property;
  • Publicly exhibits a for sale or to let of property;
  • Collects or receives any money payable on account of a lease of immovable property or business undertaking; or
  • Renders any other service which the Minister of Human Settlements may specify by means of a notice in the government gazette.


What costs are involved?

As with any professional qualifications, there are fees applicable. The costs are not payable all at once, but rather at the various stages of the process. The total fees for the 2 year period is approx. R25 000.


What are the basic requirements?

The intern estate agent needs to complete the 12 month internship of being mentored by a professional and experienced estate agent. This requirement will ensure that the intern is provided with a personal record of all practical tasks completed and experience gained at the workplace.

  • The intern is expected to complete and maintain a logbook in which accomplished activities are recorded and signed-off by the principal/mentor/coach/supervisor assigned to assist and provide the intern estate agent with logistical support during the internship period.
  • There will be no exemptions granted for completing the internship or the logbook.


The intern estate agent must complete their FETC (the Further Education and Training Certificate) in Real Estate at level NQF 4 through with an accredited provider and receive a certificate of competence from Services SETA (the Services Sector Education and Training Authority)

  • This qualification has 150 credits, which equates to 1 500 notional hours (study hours needed to complete the course).
  • It is possible to combine the FETC NQF 4 qualification and the internship so that the intern estate agent can work on these two aspects of the qualification at the same time, as long as they have completed at least 8 months of their internship.
  • If the intern holds any degrees or diplomas in certain areas, it is possible to apply for and be exempt from completing the FETC.


Lastly an intern must also write and pass the Professional Designate Exam (PDE) after they have been found competent by Services SETA in their NQF Level 4 portfolio of evidence.

  • The PDE 4 must be passed within 2 years from the date of the first issue to the intern estate agent of an intern fidelity fund certificate, it grants the intern estate agent a status upgrade to full-status non- principal estate agent.
  • No exceptions will be granted from writing the PDE exam.


If an agent wants to further extend their education in order to become a principal and run their own business they must be found competent in NQF level 5 and PDE level 5.

It will take between 2-3 years for an intern estate agent to complete the whole process and 3-4 years for a principal. An intern agent may sell property in the meantime, but no legal documentation – mandates or contracts – may be signed off without the presence of the principal or full-status agent. Professional, registered designations are as follows – PPRE – Professional Practitioner in Real Estate (PDE 4) and MPRE – Master Practitioner in Real Estate (PDE 5).


The 5 step process

Step 1: Apply for a position at a registered estate agency as an intern

All persons seeking to enter the real estate agency profession are required to serve as intern estate agents, acting under the supervision of a principal estate agent or of a full status estate agent who has continuously held a valid fidelity fund certificate issued by the EAAB for a period not less than 3 years, thereby creating a mentor-protégé relationship, regardless of any academic, professional or other qualifications which they may hold.

Once the potential intern estate agent has decided on an employer of choice, they will still need to apply for the position, and go through the interview process. “We at Engel & Völkers have set a procedure of interviews which are completed before we select our agents, as we only take on individuals who will live up to the company values. The first interview after receiving a CV will be a telephonic one, if you meet the basic criteria, you will be invited for an official interview. Should a candidate pass the second phase, they are given an online test to complete which aids us in ensuring that the candidate will be successful” says Craig Hutchison, CEO of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa. This is quite an important step, as the choice of employer could determine the success or failure of the potential intern estate agent.

Step 2: Register with the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) 

Once the intern estate agent has successfully been employed, they need to register as an intern agent with the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) to receive their “intern” Fidelity Fund Certificate (FFC).

In order to register, a candidate needs to lodge a completed application comprising of:

  • Application form
  • Certified copy of a valid I.D book;
  • Certified copy of a valid passport if not a South African;
  • A valid work permit if not a South African;
  • Required payment or proof of payment for registration;
  • Letter of employment (on an official letterhead) signed by the Principal of the firm.


Step 3: Complete your 12 month internship

All new entrants to the estate agency profession are obliged to serve as intern estate agents for a continuous period of 12 months from the date of the first issue of their FFC. The aim of the compulsory internship period is to equip the intern estate agent with the relevant practical and theoretical workplace knowledge required to operate successfully in the sector. Each intern has to undergo training and practical knowledge of all of the following: Industry, Law, Finance, Marketing, Management, Administration, and Paralegal.

The intern estate agent is expected to complete and maintain a logbook in which accomplished activities are recorded and signed-off by the principal/mentor/coach/supervisor assigned to assist and provide the intern with logistical support during the internship period.

Tasks recorded in the logbook include:

  • Listings completed
  • Inspections done
  • Show houses arranged with registers
  • Mandates negotiated
  • Sales/lease contracts concluded
  • Property values established
  • Agendas for and meetings/training attended
  • Proof of time management and time/log sheets


Step 4: Complete NQF 4 through an accredited provider (150 points / 1500 hours)

It is expected that, after having served as an intern estate agent for a continuous period of 12 months and having been certificated against the FETC: Real Estate, the newcomer to the sector will have attained a similar degree of knowledge, skills and expertise as a practitioner who has already been active in the estate agency profession for quite some time.


What topics are covered in the NQF4?

  • Estate Agency Affairs Act and Code of Conduct
  • Real estate product and services
  • Legal environment – acts
  • Legal environment – contracts
  • Financial process FICA/tax/accounting
  • Marketing and selling/leasing – immovable property
  • Estate agency management
  • Agency administration and systems
  • Paralegal environment


The criteria for NQF4 qualification

The entrant must complete their internship training (NQF4 Qualification) with an accredited provider and receive a certificate of competence from Services SETA (the Services Sector Education and Training Authority)

  • Services SETA (SSETA) governs, controls and monitors education standards.  The real estate industry falls under SSETA Trade and Industry. It is legislated that in order to be a full status real estate agent, the candidate must be found competent in the outcomes based NQF Level 4 Real Estate.
  • This qualification has 150 credits, which equates to 1 500 notional hours (study hours needed to complete the course). SSETA require 30% of the time spent studying to be in the classroom and the rest open book, on their own. It is designed so that the intern estate agent can easily complete the qualification at their own pace within the allocated time.
  • The ideal scenario is to complete the academic qualification simultaneously with the practical logbook in the workplace. The time frame for completion is 1 year for the logbook and 2 years for the academic qualification.

The intern estate agent must maintain a Portfolio of Evidence (PoE) reflecting the various estate agency functions and activities that have been undertaken and performed during the course of the internship period. The PoE & Intern logbook is submitted to the EAAB for assessment and granting of NQF 4 status:

  • Intern estate agents holding relevant (certain subjects and experience) tertiary qualification, can uponapplication totheEAABandhavingpaidtherequiredassessmentfee,begranted anequivalencyexemptionagainsttheNQFLevel4and/or5realestate qualifications.
  • If the intern estate agent has exemptions for NQF4, they must submit their logbook for assessment together with the required documentation for exemption.


The Portfolio of Evidence (“PoE”)

  • The portfolio of evidence will be a separate file, carefully created and maintained by the intern estate agent and should align with the prescribed logbook activities.
  • All naturally occurring workplace evidence generated over the 12 month internship period, and reflecting the workplace learning experience of the intern estate agent, should be inserted.
  • The intern estate agent will be required to download and print the Portfolio Guides (questions) as they form the Portfolio of Evidence (PoE).



Please refer to the exemption matrix for details on who could qualify for exemption. Should the intern estate agent apply for exemption, their application will also be included in their PoE. The following documentation should be added:

  • a letter from the applicant indicating the NQF real estate qualification(s) against which the applicant seeks an equivalency exemption as well as whether or not the applicant currently holds a valid fidelity fund certificate issued by the EAAB and, if so, the status of that fidelity fund certificate (whether an ‘intern’, ‘non-principal’ or ‘principal’ fidelity fund certificate);
  • a copy of the candidate’s identity document;
  • the candidate’s full curriculum vitae;
  • original(s), or certified copy(ies), of qualifications either awarded to the candidate or in respect of which the candidate relies for the assessment of the equivalency exemption application;
  • original(s), or certified copy(ies), of the statement(s) of courses passed towards the attainment of the relevant qualification(s);
  • original(s), or certified copy(ies), of any other professional qualifications and/or designations that may have been awarded to the candidate; and such further information as the applicant wishes to disclose to the EAAB for the purpose of properly assessing the applicant’s equivalency qualifications.


Some approved Institutions:

National Diploma: Real Estate
University of Johannesburg
National Diploma: Real Estate 
University of Cape Town
Bachelor of Science: Property Studies 
Institute of Estate Agents of South Africa
Various Courses 
ACEA (Assessment and Training Centre)
Various Courses 
Agent Training
Various Courses 
Estate Agent Training Academy
Various Courses 
MSE Training
NQF 4: National Certificate: Real Estate; NQF 5: National Certificate: Real Estate 


Step 5: Write and pass your PDE4 (Professional Designate Exam)

The Professional Designation Examination (PDE) is an integrated test of knowledge and case study for estate agents. After the internship or after the 8th month the intern estate agent may apply to take their PDE4 exam with the EAAB. After successfully submission of the logbook and PoE, the intern will be allowed to enrol and undertake the Professional Designation Examination for non-principal estate agents (PDE4).  The Education Regulations provide that no person may be registered as a full status estate agent unless that person has successfully completed the PDE 4 conducted by the EAAB.


The criteria for PDE qualification

  • Only estate agents that have already qualified or been exempted for the NQF 4 (Non-Principals) and NQF 5 (Principals) should apply to write the PDE;
  • Interns need to achieve 65% or higher in order to pass and be certified.
  • Upon passing PDE 4, the intern’s status will be automatically upgraded to a full status as well as the designation, Professional Practitioner in Real Estate (PPRE).
  • Once the intern estate agent is upgraded to a Full Status Property Sales Advisor, they can operate independently within the company they are employed by.


Earning CPD points

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is the future in real estate, as it is in most other professional industries. This happens via road shows and seminars presented by the EAAB across South Africa on relevant topics including new legislation, changes, updates and amendments. It helps all agents and principals to stay abreast of ever-changing industry regulations relating to real estate, as well as new laws and acts. In order to maintain status and professional designation, every registered agent/principal is required to accumulate and maintain 60 CPD points in a rolling 3 year cycle (equivalent to 60 hours of training).


The process of becoming a Professional Practitioner in Real Estate may seem to be a long, tedious and intimidating one. Engel & Völkers understands that it is crucial for an intern estate agent to be provided with all the necessary tools, guidence and on-going training to assist them every step of the way.