In the Spotlight: Jurgen Schreck takes the saying ‘it’s all in a day’s work’ literally

Jurgen Schreck is one of many top performing agents from Engel & Völkers Potcheftsroom, who certainly takes the quote “the more work you put in, the greater the rewards” to another level. “I had to meet Jurgen myself after we heard about his 3 sales in 24 hours” stated Chantalle Bell, Feature Writer for Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.

We managed to get a behind the scenes look into who he really is, and gain some insightful knowledge on how he managed to pull off this achievement.

Some background:  

Jurgen is a humble and competitive 33 year old who has been living in Potchefstroom for 12 years now. He is passionate about his family and is a husband and proud father of two boys, 3 and 6 years old. When asked if he has any hobbies and what he does in his spare time to relax, he says that his job has become his new favourite hobby. “This career is exciting as it is always changing, and it keeps you both entertained and mentally stimulated” Jurgen added. However we all do need a break from daily activities, and in such times, Jurgen enjoys all outdoor activities which include golfing, fishing or simply just enjoying a glass of good wine to unwind. His love for the outdoors is understandable as his very first job was as an adventure activities instructor and corporate team building.

Being driven by success, he is currently working very hard towards living his dream, which is to be financially independent. Jurgen’s personal goal is to live life to its fullest with his family while providing a good future for his children. He mentions that his motto in life is ‘you should not be afraid to make mistakes; as doing what you are afraid of is the only way to conquer your fears’.

His journey with E&V started a year and a half ago when he was down and out and needed to sell his own property to avoid further financial distress, which many of us can relate to. Suretha Engelbrecht an agent from E&V Potch came to list his home and she asked the familiar question of why he was selling. After he explained his situation to her, Suretha immediately arranged a meeting between him with her team leader, Beatrice Joubert, and 30 minutes later he found himself sitting in an interview with the Licence Partner himself, Carl Venter. Needless to say he started his new career at E&V that next Monday and has never looked back.

As agents are always running around, we opted for a Q&A to gain some more insight into Jurgen’s life:

What is the best advice you have ever been given in business and who gave it to you?

Best advice was from my father in-law who said ‘being truly happy in what you are doing is 90% of success’.

What is your outlook on investing in property?

Property can be an excellent investment, if you have gathered all of the information to make an informed decision.

Do you remember the first property you bought? Please tell us about it.

Yes, I don’t think that anyone will ever forget their first home. My first was a small 2 bedroom townhouse bought directly from the developer.

Where would your dream home be located?

As we have already established, I love the outdoors and nature, so anywhere with wide open spaces and majestic views.

Which room in your home is most important and why?

Though difficult as being outdoors is my passion, but inside it will have to be the kitchen, it is the heart of any home.

Tell us a bit about the market you specialize in?

I am a residential property specialist that primarily focuses in the top 60% of the Potchefstroom market.

What are your top three secrets to success?

  1. Dedication
  2. Discipline
  3. A healthy support structure at the office as well as at home

Can you remember how many properties you have sold?

I have sold 63 properties to date since I joined the industry almost 2 years ago.

We know that you recently sold 3 properties within 24 hours, please tell us about the sales

I have to start by saying it was a very busy day, and the mix between stress and excitement was unexplainable. It started with the first, which was a seller to whom I sold a unit at de Land Estate stand (one of our exclusive new developments), and they invited me to take a look at their home and provide them with a CMA. Upon arrival at the home, my immediate thought was that this home was perfectly suited to the needs of a couple that I met at a birthday party that my 6 year old son attended over the weekend.  One of my colleagues was also working with these specific buyers and immediately gave them a call to arrange a viewing. They loved the property – so much so, that they completed an offer to purchase the very next day, and after some negotiations the sale was completed that evening.

The second sale was much the same as the first, apart from the buyers being on our database, I could match them to the property immediately after my initial visit with the sellers to list the property. The very next day I took two clients to the home and after viewing the property one of them completed an OTP at full asking price.

The third was a student apartment close to the North West University. After a long discussion about the buyer’s needs, we identified certain student accommodation buildings that would suite them perfectly. At that very moment one of my colleagues was on her way to do a listing at one of the complexes we had identified, and since the buyers are from out of town and were only in Potchefstroom for the day, we went along on the listing at the spur of the moment. The buyers loved the apartment and our quick and effective service, and 30 minutes later we had signed the offer.

I have to say that I could not have done this alone. This could not have been possible without my colleagues and my office support as without good relations and communication between us was the key. This is also where I truly realised the importance of our office and brand infrastructure, as having the national brand network and exposure, together with our unique and advanced platforms ensured that I could cater to my client’s needs in real time.

Do you remember the first property you sold? Please tell us about it.

I’ll never forget any property I have ever sold as each and every one is truly unique. But my very first will probably stand out forever. I was still very new to the property industry and relied a lot on my more experienced colleagues’ assistance to make the sale happen. At the end I had to pay referral commission to 4 other parties, but I made my first sale and it was amazing. This gave me the confidence and determination to see that the sky is the limit and a few months later, 29 more had followed.

What is the one thing you wish someone had taught you or told you when you first started out in property?

Honestly, I was made fully aware of what it will take to make it at E&V, no surprises in that regard, the only thing which I did not foresee or could not comprehend, and which no one would ever be able to teach you, is the thrill one would experience with each sale. It is adrenaline mixed with accomplishment and excitement – as I say, you cannot explain it, you need to experience it.

Which part of your job and or the property industry do you enjoy most?

The freedom and the unpredictability of one’s day. Think back to when you were small and looking forward to going on holiday – now imagine having that feeling every day. You wake up energised and excited to go to work – it is almost surreal.

What is the most vital business tool that all estate agents should have at their disposal in today’s market and why?

The most vital tool that I use every day is definitely our in-house online database system, Revolution. Once I started utilising it correctly, it freed up so much of my day which allows me to get a lot more done in less time. And then of course my team, although not a tool, it truly is a lifeline in our business.

What do you find to be the most enjoyable and the most challenging aspects of the property Industry?

The most enjoyable part would definitely be the atmosphere in a room once you’ve matched the perfect home to first time buyers, especially if they didn’t think it was possible for them to own a home of their own. Most challenging is when you have to be brutally honest with sellers who are in a desperate financial situation needing to sell their homes, which often means they have unrealistic pricing expectations, and having been here myself I know how difficult it is to hear the facts.

What is your personal goal to achieve in turnover for the financial year?

My main goal for this year is not so much turnover driven but rather units sold; the turnover will follow. I found that when I have a turnover goal, I start neglecting the smaller opportunities that comes from my monthly activities and one sometimes also lose sight of the joy in the work. As I have said a few times, my client’s happiness and service is very important to me and I never want to lose focus on this. I think all successful agents want to be acknowledged at the annual rewards function, and it is always in the back of their minds, rather than making it a goal from the start, which is why I have made it one of my top priorities and a daily reminder not to move my eye of the target. I want to be successful and enjoy getting there.

What advice would you give to new kids on the block about making a success in their career in property?

Don’t try and reinvent the wheel. E&V has all the systems and support you will ever need, learn to make use of them, ensure client service is always guaranteed, and of course list, list, list.

On the lighter side:

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?

I spoke to a gentleman on the office phone and the phone kept breaking up, so I told the gentleman that I will call him right back to try and get a clearer line for us to talk on.  After the third attempt the man tells me that he has a stutter and to please not hang up on him again. I was so embarrassed, luckily he laughed about it.

“We are exceptionally proud to have Jurgen as part of our wonderful team; his personal commitment to quality is obvious in everything he does. His ability to recognize and react to opportunity results in personal and mutual success and he makes our brand proud” notes Carl Venter, Licence Partner Engel & Völkers Potchefstroom.

Home loan Interest Rates 101

By Veruska De Vita

Buying a house is one of the biggest decisions in life and, albeit an exciting one, it is not to be taken lightly especially when it concerns home loans, lending rates and repayments.

Here is a lowdown of everything you need to know about interest rates:

 Personal interest rate

A personal interest rate is as unique as a home and the individual who buys it. It is determined using a number of criteria and is based on the client’s risk profile. Interest rate is one of the key costs to consider when comparing home loans.

Prime lending rate, prime minus and prime plus

The prime lending rate is currently 10% and is effectively the starting point that banks use to calculate interest rates for clients. It covers the bank’s basic profit margin, which is then set higher or lower based on the applicant’s risk profile. A riskier individual would get an above-prime loan, which would be at prime plus, for example, prime plus 1% making it a lending rate of 11%. A low-risk client could get prime or lower, for example prime minus 1%, which means a lending rate of 9%.

What determines interest rates?

The prime lending rate is a marked-up version of the repo rate. The repo rate is the interest rate commercial banks pay to borrow money from the Reserve Bank. At the moment it is sitting at 6,5%.  By raising or lowering the repo rate, the Reserve Bank makes it more or less expensive for commercial banks to borrow money. This in turn affects how affordably they can lend money to consumers and this determines the prime lending rate.

The repo rate changes according to economic climate. Higher interest rates make borrowing money more expensive thus deterring people from making big investments, so there is less money circulating in the economy which slows down inflation. To kick start a sluggish economy, interest rates are lowered to encourage investment.

If the repo rate goes up, prime goes up and the amount you pay on your bond increases. If the repo rate goes down, prime goes down and those savings are passed on to you. For example, if your bond is prime plus 1% and the lending rate climbs from 10% to 10.65% then your monthly instalments on your bond increase, and vice versa if prime decreases.

A lower interest rate means more affordable monthly repayments as well as substantial savings on the total cost of your home over the lifetime of the bond. If there is a hike in interest rate however, it could significantly affect your cash flow as your bond repayments would increase.

 Fixed interest rates

Banks also provide the option of a fixed interest rate home loan structure, usually for a specific length of time of up to five years. This means that the interest rate doesn’t fluctuate during the fixed rate period, allowing you to accurately predict and plan for future payments as you will know exactly what your repayments are.

Gerrit Disbergen, Director of Engel & Völkers Financial Services says that usually, consumers fix their interest rate if they believe that the interest rate cycle is on an upward trajectory. This said, the decision to fix a home loan interest rate depends on individual circumstances and should be a carefully considered option. It is ideal for consumers who own multiple properties as the stable rates would buttress against future rate hikes. The disadvantage of this option is that it could result in the homeowner missing out on savings should the Reserve Bank decide to switch to an interest rate reduction cycle.

“At the end of the day, interest rate must work in your favour and fit in with your financial profile. Do your research and speak to a financial consultant and bond originator before deciding on a home loan option. EV Financial Services is well placed to assist you in obtaining the best interest rate for your home loan” Gerrit concluded.

Marketing you home to the right buyer

In the competitive real estate market, agents need to have an advantage when selling property. Getting in the mind of the perfect buyer and figuring out who they are and why they would want to buy a specific home is key.

“When marketing a home focus one needs to try and determine the profile of the buyer for the specific property. In order to attract the right buyer the marketing needs to be focused and directed to that targeted audience which will result in a quicker sale, not leaving the property over exposed. We at Engel & Völkers make use of various analytics & tools in order to determine this buyer pool so that our sellers receive optimal exposure for their properties” says Craig Hutchison, CEO Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.

Sellers and agents need to establish and understand the persona of the buyer they are dealing with which will assist in determining the needs of the buyer and how they should be approached. We take a look at some buyer personas and what they entail.

Move-Down Buyers

  • High net worth professionals who are looking to downsize from their larger homes after they have retired or their children have moved out.
  • They are generally selling their luxury homes and buying smaller, pared-down homes that are easier to maintain, they’ll appreciate plenty of amenities and easy access.
  • These buyers will enjoy being in a quiet location that offers easy access to parks, trails, coffee shops and restaurants.

First-Time Buyers

  • Middle-class families who are looking for a foot in the door to home ownership based on affordability.
  • These buyers are looking for a comfortable, liveable home and are likely to be drawn to homes with large gardens that provide plenty of room for gardening and space for children to play.
  • Generally want at least two bedrooms and two full bathrooms to accommodate expanding families and room for visitors to stay.

 Move-Up Buyers

  • Professionals who want to trade their existing homes for larger, more luxurious houses due to a change in income, new baby or marriage.
  • They are looking for a home that allows them to live the lifestyle of their dreams.
  • Their must-have features include modern kitchens, luxury bathrooms and a pool and will appreciate modern, high-tech design.

 Luxury Buyers

  • High net worth individuals or international professionals who may have several homes.
  • They are happy to spend the money needed to secure a home that offers luxurious amenities such as heated floors, open floor plans, chandeliers and large bathrooms.
  • Often look at many homes before committing to a specific location and may have a long list of requirements for their new home.

Investor Buyers

  • High net worth real estate investors who specialize in buying and selling homes. These buyers often have many homes in the area and want to purchase another home to flip or rent to middle-class families or professionals.
  • When it comes to purchasing a home, these buyers are receptive, sharp and attentive, although they are generally also thrifty and savvy.
  • For an investor buyer, one of the most important traits a house can have is a good location at a decent price.

Retail Buyers

  • This is the average home buyer who is in the market to purchase a primary residence.
  • They are buyers who have access to finance or enough money saved up to purchase a property for cash.
  • An important aspect for this type of buyer will be the home’s price and their level of affordability as well as the proximity to their work and amenities such as schools, medical facilities and shopping centres.

Buy-to-let Investors

  • A property that can generate revenue while it appreciates in value over the long-term is the main concern for this buyer.
  • They are looking for a secure permanent investment that will be relatively low maintenance for instance sectional title units that require little or no renovation and can be rented out immediately to start earning income.
  • In some cases they are also looking for larger homes that can be rented to upmarket tenants or students in a commune set-up.

Rent to Own

  • Is normally a buyer who wants to buy but is not ready to do so yet.
  • This buyer typically has credit issues and will need time to fix it up in order to qualify for a loan.
  • This is also called a lease option buyer.

Fix-and-flip Investors

  • Full-time property investors looking for property that is selling substantially below the market norm in a specific area.
  • This type of investor will be looking for a property in need of renovation that they can restore and sell in a reasonably short period of time for a return on investment.
  • They are looking for the lowest prices because their rehab costs are higher than most other buyers.

Relocation Home Buyer

  • This buyer is rock solid and qualified to buy.
  • They know they only have a limited amount of time to find a property so they want to see as many houses as they can.
  • They want a professional to help find them homes, and show them as many as possible.

Young Millennial Buyer

  • These buyers do not necessarily rely on seasons and school schedules to purchase homes. For this group of buyers, the market is on at all times.
  • They are very active buyers, and most importantly millennial want suburbs that feel like a city, they are fully connected, visual and will view listings at any time of the day.
  • Most of these buyers prefer seeing homes that appeal to them on their own time.

In summary, it is of vital importance that expertise and time is spent on the pre-marketing of a property, to ensure the best results. Which type of buyer would you be?


Introducing the new Engel & Völkers Southern Africa Powerhub

It has been 15 years since the inception of the Engel & Völkers brand in South Africa. This year they celebrated their birthday with some progressive management changes within the company.

“We are positioning ourselves for exponential growth, both from a footprint perspective as well as with recruitment by attracting the best possible expertise into the Master Licence team” noted Craig Hutchison, CEO of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.

They have just announced the latest changes to the executive, and welcome Grant Wheeler, Roger Bray and Gerrit Disbergen to the Engel & Völkers team. All the new members will be actively involved in the daily running of the business.

Grant Wheeler has taken the official position of Director of Business Strategy and will be involved in all aspects of growth in addition to  licence partner implementation strategies to ensure store profitability.

“I joined the company two years ago through the Engel & Völkers Bryanston shop initially as a passive shareholder. Living in the area I always saw the E&V boards and brand and it drew my attention from the start. Taking up the opportunity to get involved in the E&V Southern Suburbs and after familiarising myself with the systems, I wanted to get more hands-on and get involved in the growth potential on a national level. I am passionate about business and I am very excited about our future and know we are paving the way to disrupt the real estate industry”.

Grant has a Bachelor Degree in Architectural Studies and comes from an extensive background on the property development sector having run his own company for over 20 years. During this time, delivering some 5,000 homes, 8,000 serviced sites, and assembling and selling projects containing 18 000 stands. This alone speaks to the power he brings to the E&V brand.

Roger and Gerrit have a longstanding partnership with Grant, and upon seeing the potential, they decided to delegate their managed portfolios of over 6,000 properties worldwide, in order to become hands-on involved in E&V.

Roger Bray will be taking on the role of Regional Liaison for the Western Cape, giving the Cape Town shops support at their doorsteps.

Roger qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Price Waterhouse Coopers and has been intimately involved in investment banking, firstly through Merrill Lynch and then later his own listed Financial Services Group. He has been closely involved with both Grant and Gerrit over the past 15 years in property development and has been instrumental in initiating and bringing to market a number of highly successful property developments.

“I’m really excited to be associated with Engel & Völkers and I can’t wait to see the impact of the new team on the business. The brand will really enable us to leverage our offering in financial services and we intend to be first to market on a number of initiatives”.

Gerrit Disbergen recently moved back to South Africa after living abroad in Miami, USA. He will be involved on the EV Finance side alongside Roger. . Gerrit will be located in Cape Town but will frequently be travelling to Johannesburg for one of the new, exciting projects we have secured around EV Finance. Like Roger, Gerrit is also a qualified Chartered Accountant (Ernst & Young) and has operated since the mid 90’s in the investment banking and private equity industries.

“I’m very familiar with the E&V brand and the inroads that it has been making into the international market and in particular the US where I’ve been living for the past 15 years. When the opportunity presented itself to become involved in E&V in a meaningful way, I leaped at the prospect as I’m very confident in the future of the brand and of EVSA. My vision is to aggressively obtain the potential that EVSA has in a market that has been dominated by large family franchises over the last few decades. I have been incredibly impressed with the calibre and professionalism of the EVSA network”.

Wendy Williams needs no introduction. She is one of the longest serving Engel & Volker’s staff members, being with the company for 11 years. With the new growth and projects, Wendy will be now take on the role as the regional contact point for Team Leaders, including their coaching, support and growth as well as ensuring more teams  are able to benefit from her expertise and knowledge.


“I am excited to take on the new challenge. Although it will be hard to hand my current team over to the hands of a new team leader, I know that the growth of us as a group will be of great benefit to them in turn”.

Craig Hutchison in his position as CEO will continue to ensure that all aspects of the business are aligned and running smoothly. His previous experience as CEO of JSE listed property company, Pangbourne Properties, as well as serving on other listed property company boards before joining EVSA, stands him in very good stead. He will work closely with the Executive Management team in realising the full potential of the business.

 “With the changes we have made to the executive, I am confident to say that we are the Real Estate Agency with the most accomplished management team in South Africa. A number of the projects we have been busy with have already been finalised and deals concluded, and we are working on many more. We aim to be the employer of choice in the real estate industry and are actively looking for high calibre individuals to join the sector for a successful career as we roll out phase two of our expansion in South Africa” Craig concluded.

Engel & Völkers Southern Africa celebrate at their Annual White affair

The team at Engel & Völkers Southern Africa knows how to work hard as well as how to let their hair down and celebrate their success. This year’s Annual Rewards and Recognition (R&R) function was held in the beautiful Stellenbosch Winelands amongst the Vineyards.


On 20 April over 150 Real Estate Agents, Licence Partners and Assistants, came together in Stellenbosch for their rewards function, with this year’s theme depicted the company ethos with elegance and in their corporate colour of white. The R&R is a special evening where the team from the E&V Master Licence recognise the achievements of the most successful employees of the past year. It also creates a platform where guests can enjoy the networking amongst their peers, and teams can come together and strengthen their relationships within their shops.


The eventful day started off with the Licence Partner conference at the Devonvale Wine & Golf Estate, providing a wonderful setting for the 40 participants in attendance. The main topic of the agenda was recruitment. “Visibility and recruitment will be key to unlock success in 2018, with the help of EV Training Academy, the focus will be shifted from quantity to absolute quality in recruits” stated Lara Machado, Head of SA Academy & Operations Manager of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.


Simone Soltau, Head of International Franchise & Business Performance, representing the Hamburg Engel & Völkers headquarters also attended and shared her knowledge on the topic. Real estate property brokerage is often overlooked as a credible and lucrative career, which is changing rapidly as Engel & Völkers is at the forefront of driving this change through their international system and training programme.


As the sun started to set over the vineyards the time came for all the Licence Partners, Agents and Assistants to be recognized, acknowledged and celebrated at the Rewards & Recognition Function at the beautiful Landtscap venue, a modern location set amid the Cape Winelands.


As the guests made their way along the red carpet, they were welcomed by the AffodizzyActs violinist who set the mood for the evening. Guests gathered on the deck where they were able to enjoy the not only delicious, but stunningly bottled Carol Boyes wines and Craft beer sponsored by SARRPS IT Services, while mingling and admiring the panoramic views. While waiting for the main festivities to begin the MC van der Berg Attorney Oyster King and Sushi Queen kept guests entrained, serving bites of pure delight.


As soon as everybody arrived, it was time to settle down as starters were served whilst guests were welcomed and given a run through of the evening’s proceedings, after which everyone could roam and network at their leisure with some more surprises underway with a cigar tray from Private Property and a chocolatier from MacRobert Attorneys doing the rounds.


Once dinner services completed, it was time to start the formalities of the evening.  Awards were given in the categories such as “Money Maker of the Year”, “Team Leader of the Year”, “Brand Ambassador”, “CI Shop of the Year” and “Agent of the Year” for each region. Greg Crowder from Private Property also presented the Private Property Individual Online Excellence award to Jürgen Schreck from Potchefstroom, and the Centurion Office walked away as the Top Supporting Office.


“We congratulate all the winners, and know that their successes are a great inspiration to the rest of the agents, I am extremely proud of the achievements of everyone within the Engel & Völkers Southern Africa family,” proudly noted Craig Hutchison, CEO Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.


As the awards section drew to a close, it was time for the celebrations and party to begin. It got off to a spectacular start with a fibre optic whip dance act, followed by DJ Nic made possible by Mortgage Max, who created the perfect atmosphere for all those wishing to have some fun on the dance floor, which proceeded till the early hours of the morning.


Engel & Völkers Southern Africa wishes to thank you to all their partners who formed part of the event for their kind contributions, making an evening such as this possible.

The hunt for the right home has begun

Buying your first home can be a thrilling experience, although it can also come with its own unique challenges. It is quite common to be anxious when you’re house hunting – especially if it is your first property. A small amount of preparation can go a long way to ensuring you end up with the perfect home.


“Buying a property is both exciting and terrifying at the same time, even though it is seen as business transaction it is an emotional affair too. Try your best to try and keep your emotions under control before you make a hard-pressed and foolish decision about a home which is financially out of your reach, or alternatively settling for something within your budget, yet not what you wanted” advises Craig Hutchison, CEO Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.


In order to avoid finding yourself drowning in “house” possibilities, set priorities and organize the house hunting process early on, you can then rest assured that you have armed yourself with as much knowledge as possible.


To help you stay focused on the important details during your house hunt, here are some tips and important decisions to think about before rushing to the property market.


Know Your Budget

Determining what you can afford is the first step in narrowing down the home search. Buyers need to know what they will be able to afford on a monthly basis, and decide ahead of time what amount they are comfortable with paying per month for their mortgage. Remember to include the other costs associated with homeownership, such as home insurance, property taxes, maintenance and utilities.


Check Your Score

The higher your credit score, the better. Good credit is like gold when obtaining a mortgage and securing the best interest rate possible. If your credit score falls short, get busy repairing it -correct any errors that might be on your report, start paying all your bills on time, and get your credit limit raised.


Pre-Approved Home Loan

Most people will need to take out a bond to purchase their first home. Applying for pre-approval with the assistance of a Bond Originator puts you in a much stronger position to buy, and you’ll feel more confident of your limitations when making an offer. You’ll be able to show sellers that you are a serious buyer and have the required finances to purchase the property. Once you know how much home you can afford, you can perform your home search based on your pre-approval amount or less.


Plan ahead…

It is crucial to determine how long you think you will be living in the property you are about to buy. It is pointless to buy a studio flat knowing you wish to start a family soon. Similarly, if your job or your financial circumstances are in any way to become unstable in the near future, make sure you will be covered financially.


Find a Diligent Agent

Once you know how much you can spend, and what your planned future holds, you are ready to begin your search for an agent. Some buyers choose to first select their agent before doing any of the above. This might be a wise choice in many cases, as if you have the right agent by your side, you are covered in all areas.


Your agent can help guide you through the financing part of buying a home and will have a better handle on the market. They will represent your interests and keep a constant eye out for newly listed homes you might love. Look for an agent who is educated and who has lived in the area for a long time, knows the market, and who is knowledgeable about problems with potential homes and who’s invested in educating you about how to buy a home.


Where You Would Like to Live

If you aren’t sure about your specific location, spend some time in the areas you’re interested in at different times of the day to get a feel for the area, for instance visit during  rush hour and at night time. Consider what you would prefer: an older, more established area, or a newer one? Do you like communities with plenty of activity or a secluded cul-de-sac with more privacy? Would you like to live in a gated community or are you prepared to trade some security for your independence?


To some extent, the answers to these questions will help you decide where you should start looking, but you also need to consider whether these neighbourhoods are within easy reach of work, schools, public transport, medical services, shopping and entertainment facilities.


Market Research

The statement “Knowledge is power” applies multiple times to the process of buying property.  A level-headed understanding of the property market, will give you an advantage.


Once you have chosen your suburbs to buy in, take your time to learn more about that area. What is the price of homes there? Does this fall within your range? Is there potential for solid capital growth? Browse the online listings in and around your budget, go to open houses, and depending on what’s important to you get to know the neighbourhoods, find out about schools, crime/safety and traffic.


Your Current Housing

It might seem very unappealing to a seller if your offer is dependent on you selling your current house, as they have no idea how quickly or easily it will be to sell. It is advisable to sell your current home before you seriously start looking to buy a new one. That would mean possibly needing to rent a storage unit for your belongings and find provisional housing.


What Features Do You Require?

You will need to decide on the features which are required in order to meet your family and lifestyle needs. Make a careful list of the things they would regard as essential and non-negotiable, for both your current circumstances, as well as your future plans.


How many bedrooms or bathrooms do you need? Make decisions around a home office or a granny flat, how much parking is required, and whether or not you need a large garden for their children and pets. This will make it easier for the real estate agent working in your chosen area to help you find your ideal home, and not waste anyone’s time showing you unsuitable properties.


Sectional Title or Full Title?

Sectional title units are less maintenance intensive for homeowners. All exterior maintenance of the property and the complex are taken care of by the body corporate, however, this will require the homeowner to pay a levy or monthly association fee to cover services and repairs within the development. On the other hand, full title homes come with more privacy and the freedom to add on or renovate without requiring permission from the body corporate. Along with the freedom comes the full financial responsibility for all maintenance.


House hunting is a learning experience and buyers need to take into account that there is no such thing as the perfect house. Ultimately you want to find that home that incorporates the things that are most important to you.


Be water wise

Gardens are an enormous contributor towards a home’s curb appeal, a term which has been around for centuries. One could imagine that as real estate trends change, this might have as well, but it is still very much a huge determining factor when buying a home.


The busier we are, the less time we have, the more our attention span decreases, leaving visual aspects a primary element in today’s busy lifestyle. Just look at your social platforms or how general marketing & communication has changed – photos are key, and that is true in property as well. A well-established and maintained garden is always considered an asset, unfortunately not everyone has the time to tend to a garden, and with recent water restrictions it’s not always possible.


Statistics show that the demand for water wise properties equipped with boreholes, smaller lawn areas or with small gardens has escalated. Online searches for “borehole water” and “eco estates”’ have also increased steadily. “The prolonged drought, especially in the Cape, has home buyers thinking twice about the choices they make when buying property. Homeowners that have an alternative water source or low water consumption on their property definitely have an excellent selling point, not only do buyers hope to conserve water, they are also hoping to reduce their bills” says Craig Hutchison, CEO Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.


Buyers have become more informed when making property purchases and are ensuring they have some sustainability in their homes; it is not only in the sales sector but in rentals as well. Landlords are starting to invest in implementing rainwater-harvesting systems and adding water wise indigenous plants, considering artificial lawns, and water and electricity saving mechanisms. This ensures that they offer tenants the opportunity to live in a place where the utilities are more controlled and properties equipped with these elements are more marketable.


Water wise gardening

In the past having a lush green garden was no problem, this is not the case anymore and we need to ensure we can adapt to still deliver a pretty picture but while saving water. We look at garden trends we can expect to see this year, to help create a water efficient garden.

  • Lawns guzzle plenty of water, so some consideration should be given to if you really need one. Reduce its size or remove the lawn completely and replace it with paving, decorative stones, ground cover, gravel, pebble paths, succulents or a mix of all, which will provide inexpensive and low maintenance solutions. If you keep some lawn, don’t mow it too short, as this lets the roots dry out quicker. For smaller areas artificial grass can be used.
  • Replace all plants that need plenty of water with low water users. Look for plants that store water such as succulents and aloes. Plant a xeriscape succulent garden – xeriscaping is a landscaping style and method that was developed in arid areas that uses a lot of stone and a succulent plants. A xeriscape is very low maintenance garden and will actually die from over watering. Remember to go indigenous, planting what occurs naturally in your area – exotic plants often need more water.
  • Use mulch to stop moisture escaping, preferably organic, such as pine needles, bark, and straw or wood chips. Apply a 5cm-thick layer to soil that’s already moist. Check that water is able to penetrate; simply loosening the mulch can improve its porosity, reapply periodically.
  • Build a water conserving rock garden, which can take many different forms and can be a great way to showcase different and unique plants. Rock gardens can be designed with shade or sun tolerant plants. When selecting plants consider choosing plants with the same sun, water, and soil requirements. Ground covers can create a cascading or trailing effect; succulents thrive in hot, dry sites and high elevation wildflowers can create a beautiful bloom effect.
  • Check whether your garden has bore water and whether a simple spore and pump can be installed to access it.
  • Install a grey water system to capture and recycle water from baths, showers and washing machines. Make sure you use cleaning products that are safe for garden use. You’ll also need a booster pump to operate the irrigation system and have your grey water connected and filtered in to the irrigation system.
  • Don’t waste rainwater; harvest it from the roof, the driveway and patios. Direct it into water tanks or reservoirs which can be hidden underground.
  • Install a water wise irrigation system preferably fitted with a controller, soil moisture sensor and rain sensor. This ensures that plants will only get water when they need it.
  • Resurface driveways, yards and paths with porous surfaces or paving blocks and plastic grid systems filled with plants.
  • To save water, change your swimming pool into a wetland pool which can be used to water the garden during periods of drought.


Even with the blessing of the needed rain, it is still going to take the country some time to restore itself, and even if we were to reach this point, being water wise will always remain a positive point. In the long-term, small changes could save you money and ensure your property is always market -ready and appealing to buyers.

 A Smart Investment: Property in Education Zones

One of the biggest decisions for a parent is deciding which school their children will one day attend. Some start researching their children’s education institutions from birth – or even before. The competition for space in good schools is increasing every year, so much so that some parents are on the waiting list before they even fall pregnant.


“There is a tremendous demand for homes close to good schools or universities, as properties in these zones tend to hold their value much better in tough economic times. Buyers that have kids will often migrate and be drawn to these areas and are likely prepared to pay a premium for these properties” says Craig Hutchison, CEO Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.


Education zones have also become a popular consideration for many people who don’t have kids as they will purchase property as a buy-to-let investment option. Investing in a school / varsity district will mean that the properties are easy to rent out. This high demand yields a higher rental income, and the rental periods are usually longer as the families will most likely wish for their child to complete their schooling career before relocating.  “Interest in student housing has become increasingly popular over the years with the demand growing more and more as urban areas extend to, what used to be, outlying areas and travelling becomes ever more difficult with relation to fuel prices and transport costs” Craig notes.


Buying a house is usually for the long haul, so having an education institution in your neighborhood can boost your property’s value. However it is important that you understand with the many benefits, there come some nuisances that cannot be avoided. We take a look at some of the benefits as well as the possible negatives of owning property in an education zone:


The Benefits:

  • Future planning – you will not have to worry about moving closer to a school when your children reach school-going age.
  • Higher property values – if the home is in a good school zone, the higher your resale value will be when the time comes to sell your house.
  • Easy to sell or rent -homes close to schools tend to have a constant demand, so if you choose to sell or rent your home down the line, finding a buyer or tenant will be much easier.
  • Safe neighbourhood – areas with schools generally tend to be safer to live in as they are well monitored and inhabited by people that are as concerned with safety /security as you are.
  • Child friendly environment – kids will have more time and opportunities to participate in extra-curricular activities. Being able to walk to these areas is a plus, especially for working parents with multiple children.
  • Time saving – eliminates wasted time and sitting in traffic.
  • Cost saving – the expense of driving to and from school ads up, living close to school decreases extra fuel costs.


Take into consideration:

  • Traffic – expect increased traffic and noise of idling cars when parents drop kids off and collect them again at the end of the day.
  • Parking – parents might park in front of your house while waiting for their kids at pick-up or drop-off time as well as when there are school events occurring.
  • Noise – you might hear kids practicing their sport on a weekly basis after school and on weekends. Depending on the proximity, you might even hear the school bell ringing between classes and kids during playing break times.
  • Loitering – if your house is extremely close to the school, scholars might loiter around your house while waiting to be picked up. They might wreak havoc with graffiti, noise, and other teenage up-to-no-good activities.
  • Degrading of the school – there is no guarantee that a school will remain a good school down the line, it may decline or even close. This is more of a concern if you plan to stay in the home a long time.


“It is always worthwhile exploring ones options. Speak to an area specialist, who will be able to advise you on past area trends and statistics, as well as assist with predicting what the market could be doing in the next few years” Craig advised. Remember that this is your largest asset, and you need to ensure you make the right choice.

Engel & Völkers find Strategic Partner in KZN Dolphin Coast

By Chantalle Bell


The start of the New Year saw fresh new horizons for Engel & Völkers Southern Africa with the sale of the KZN Dolphin Coast licence. This territory which was acquired by husband and wife team, Karien and Stephen Hunter covers the Dolphin Coast area, stretching from the Ohlange (Umhlanga) River to Zinkwazi, north of Ballito.

Karien has over 30 years’ experience as a property attorney, and has been in the Ballito area for the last 12 years. Needless to say, she is the perfect candidate for the new licence and we are assured that she will make a great success with this new venture.


The firm, AMC Hunter Inc. was founded in 1987 by Karien, who still heads up the practice today. In 2017 Hunter Inc. celebrated their 30th anniversary, firmly established as one of the leading law firms in KwaZulu-Natal, specialising in property and commercial law. Karien has invested innumerable hours in the training of real estate agents in the property industry, over the years. She now looks forward to training and developing her own Area Partners on the North Coast.

Karien Hunter holds many accolades, she was the co-winner of the Business Woman of the Year Awards in KwaZulu-Natal in 2007, and was one of three finalists for the Women in Property Awards (WPN Awards) in South Africa in 2008, amongst a few, and is well connected on the KZN North Coast.

Although she has been involved with many real estate agencies she has always been drawn to the E&V brand. She was an avid reader of the weekly newsletters and the brand really appealed to her. She was approached by Craig Hutchison CEO, Engel & Völkers Southern Africa with the opportunity to get involved in the brand, and it was a perfect match from the get-go.

She believes in quality Area Partners, selling quality property, big or small. Karien trusts the key to success is to employ character and the rest will follow. She has a great love for people, their growth and development.

“I always hear estate agencies boasting about their systems which are all very good, but after my intro to the E&V system I am convinced more than ever that E&V does have the best available on the market, even from an attorney perspective – it makes the transactions interlink so well” Karien shared.


“Looking ahead, the KZN residential market looks set to be the most vibrant this year, at least in terms of potential house price growth and return on investment” says Craig Hutchison CEO of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa. “The North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal is the new ‘Cape Town’ when it comes to property.  It’s about a preferred location because of the many opportunities for business and local economic growth. We wish Karien and her team the best of luck and all the success in their new venture going forward” Craig concluded.


If you are looking to invest in a second home, relocate or to retire at the coast, we are able to offer our exceptional service. Our culture has become the trademark of the Engel & Völkers and the access to international customers and clients through our global market network offers an extended reach with European flair.


The licence area runs from Umhlanga river northwards suburbs include:

Umdloti Beach, Newsel Beach (Umdloti), Selection Beach (Umdloti), La Mercy, Westbrook, Tongaat Beach, Tongaat Central, Zimbali, Ballito, Deepdene, Deepdale, Compensation Beach, Seaward Estate, Beverley Hills Estate, Salt Rock, Shakas Rock, Sheffield Estate, Willard Beach, Brettenwood Estate, Dunkirk, Mount Richmore Village, Blythedale Beach, Palm Lakes, Princes Grant Golf Estate, Tinley Manor, Zinkwazi, Manor Estates, Umhlali Golf Estate, Wakenshaw Estate, Stanger Central, Stanger Heights, Stanger Manor, Belvedere (Tongaat), Desainager (Tongaat), Mount Moreland, Sandfield (Tongaat).


You can contact Karien on 083 449 2969 or email


About the Area:

KwaZulu-Natal’s north coast, also known as the Dolphin Coast, it is a desirable strip of coastline. A beautiful playground of warm waters, incredible waves, and glorious beaches set alongside fields of sugarcane in a part of the world endowed with humid and warm weather almost throughout the year – this why the Dolphin Coast is one of the province’s main attractions.


No longer just a family holiday hotspot, the lifestyle of relaxation and tranquillity, along with excellent schools and stylish shopping centres just minutes away, the North Coast represents one of the most desirable parts of KZN in which to live. The North Coast is renowned for the Golden Mile, natural indigenous forests, mangrove swamps and the promenade walked by locals at sundown. Residence and visitors are attracted to the friendly village atmosphere, family experiences such as beach days, animal farms, mountain bike trails through the sugar cane fields or a few rounds of golf at one of many excellent North Coast golf courses. The North Coast is primarily recognised by two holiday towns named Ballito and uMhlanga. Ballito is where you will find Sibaya Casino, King Shaka International Airport and the beautiful Zimbali estate, while the upmarket uMhlanga has plenty to offer, from luxury estates such as Hawaan Forest Estate to the uShaka marine theme park.


Area Trends and Activity:

The North Coast has become the hub of property development and is rapidly growing, particularly gated estates. The infrastructure upgrades and various blue chip investments such as the Oceans and Dube Port is attracting a number of residential developers, corporates and retirees seeking a relaxed lifestyle in a seaside location that is also conveniently close to offices, shops, medical facilities and entertainment venues.


Average Property Value:

In the North Coast area, homes currently range in a price from R 2.8 million in greater Ballito to as high as R 70 million in lifestyle estates. The average price for a full title, mid-level home is about R 3, 15 million. According to Lightstone, full title properties and sectional title units have increased in value, although sectional title properties more so by approximately 6% in the Ballito area. People are prepared to pay a premium for the estate lifestyle with the benefits of this relaxation and beach.


Typical Property Type:

​The North Coast offers a number of gated communities and luxury estates with sensual architecture, whilst it is also a place with family homes, secure complexes, sought-after retail and office space.

Is sustainable living the future of Real Estate?

Is sustainable living the future of Real Estate?

By Chantalle Bell

Sustainability is currently a hot topic in the home and construction sector. In light of the progressing climate change and shrinking resources worldwide, it’s one of the most important issues to consider. Sustainable living is the practice of reducing your demand on natural resources by making sure that you replace what you use to the best of your ability.


“Often the thought of being more energy efficient makes one think of expensive contraptions, modern interiors or fittings, and a lot of extra work to make the home more eco-friendly, however this does not need to be the case. A green home is attainable with a few simple adjustments, while the results may not be physically visible all the time, doing your bit in your home on a daily basis is not as difficult or expensive as you may think, and can even save you money in the long run” advises Craig Hutchison, CEO Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.


We all know that climate change, global warming, depletion of ozone layer and resource depletion are real and their impact on human and animal lives can be devastating. By altering our lifestyle, it gives us an opportunity to adopt actions for sustainable living that can help to reduce the environmental impact.


Eco-friendly housing is the future of real estate

The key to encouraging more green building is to educate homeowners. If they decide to go green, they can have a more durable, more energy- and water-efficient and healthier home for about the same cost as a conventional home and can benefit greatly by gradually starting to implement green features. As the cost of living increases, and our society becomes more environmentally conscious, eco-friendly homes will see an increase in demand.


Johann du Toit, Area Partner from Engel & Völkers Stellenbosch, has already had first-hand experience with the advantages of green homes with clients from Sweden who had had a selection of properties available to them. In light of the current water shortage in Cape Town, they opted for a particular property in Stellenbosch, after being presented with a number of alternatives, as it had its own supply of tested and approved water for human consumption, a swimming pool running from borehole water and a solar system supplying the hot water. “It shows that having more eco-friendly sustainable homes have become strengths in effecting the choices made by tourists as well as for buyers. We believe that this will add a handsome premium to the price of accommodation and real estate” says Craig.


Green Estates

An increasing number of people are deciding to purchase green homes; as everyone enjoys the savings on utility bills, making green homes a wise investment and also providing better durability, energy savings and water savings. If you’re selling your house, highlighting your eco-friendly features can be a major selling point to potential buyers.


Kobus Taljaard, Engel & Völkers, Licence Partner from the Winelands region says that developers and management of two estates Val de Vie and Pearl Valley have been very pro-active and have turned the negative water issue into a positive. Both these estates have disconnected municipal water and have become totally self-sufficient from underground water supplies on the banks of the Berg River and grey water purification. The switch over took place just before Christmas when the newly installed purification plant took effect – there will not be a day zero in these two estates – at least not in the very near future. “Water restrictions still apply as enforced elsewhere in the province, but the fact that the taps will not run dry is used as a marketing positive. New development phases will continue as planned and property prices will not be affected” concluded Kobus.


Engel & Völkers Potchefstroom also has quite a few estates implementing green features, one such estate is de Land Estate, which has dedicated herb gardens & fruit orchards. Carl Venter, Licence Partner of Engel & Völkers Potchefstroom has been researching green and energy efficient living since 2010. “This year, our Engel & Völkers Green Projects division will be building the first energy efficient home on Lekwena Wildlife Estate. Keep an eye out for the process as the house will be monitored to calculate the efficiency rate, providing valuable information for clients looking to make their own homes more energy efficient-definitely an industry first in Potchefstroom” Carl added.

Properties which are green and have water saving systems and boreholes will be more desirable going forward and will be priced accordingly.



Turn your own home into a green zone

Replace your shower heads: The simplest, cheapest and quickest way of saving water is by switching your regular shower head to a low flow, water efficient shower head, this will half your shower water consumption. Shortening your showers, and turning the taps off while washing yourself can save a considerable amount. By placing a bucket in the shower you can catch your grey water, which allows you to save and recycle water by reusing it in your garden.


Upgrade your toilet cistern: Older cisterns can use between 9-12 litres per flush, while newer cisterns use about 6 litres. Installing a cistern with dual-flush, that provides a button for a long flush and a button for a short flush, will save on water. Alternatively, place a plastic bottle or brick into the cistern to displace the water this will allow less water to flush out whenever the handle is pulled.


Install a timer on your geysers: Heating water is one of an average household’s biggest electricity spends. Install a digital timer on your geyser, so you can program in exactly what times you want it to turn on and off. Alternatively run in tandem with your regular geyser a system to pre-warm the water that goes into the main geyser, so that it’s not constantly heating up the water intake from cold. This could be done through an actual solar geyser, or just through a home-rigged system of black pipes coiled on the roof, warmed by the sun.


Solar panels: Use the sun’s energy to power your home. Solar power can be used to heat water and provide electricity for lighting and appliances. This works best when the panels are exposed to as much light as possible on a daily basis. It is a once-off expense that keeps producing results for years.


Use energy saving lighting: LED light bulbs are becoming more affordable now, but not everybody can afford to switch over the whole house to LED lighting in one go, even though the energy saving makes it worthwhile in the long – term. Start by replacing bulbs in the most used areas, the kitchen, the hall light that you leave on all night, and gradually work up to converting the whole house.


Start to recycle all grey water: Grey water is the water that has already been used around the home used to irrigate the garden.  When using grey water, be careful not to store it for too long as it is particularly susceptible to bacteria and gas production, rather, let it run directly from the bath or washing machine into the garden or collect it in a bucket and use it immediately. The reuse of grey water may take a little preparation and forethought, however, the economic benefits as well as the enormous advantages to your immediate environment, it is certainly worth the preparation.


Green your walls and roof: Having plants growing on your walls and roof has so many beneficial effects. They insulate the building, prevent noise pollution, emit healthful oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide.