Midrand – Growing property investments potential

By Veruska de Vita

Gauteng has been undergoing massive infrastructure upgrades and residential development over the past two decades with Midrand being one of the key corridors earmarked to lead this growth plan. In the last two decades Midrand has enjoyed exponential growth and continues on the upward trajectory, with plenty of room and opportunity for investment. The area has grown into a residential and commercial hub with executive office parks, malls, social amenities and a diverse spectrum of residential offerings.  Underpinned by ongoing rapid commercial growth, Midrand remains an attractive area for first-time buyers and investors.

“Midrand offers a range of price points in terms of residential property and this attracts a cross-section of buyers. The strategic location of Midrand makes it a very desirable area for families wanting to buy property as well as investors looking for high yield investment opportunities. There is no doubt that the area is positioned for a positive long-term outlook,” says Sancha Olivier, Project Manager of Engel & Völkers Developer Driven Projects.

Focus on Clayville

Clayville, an area of Olifantsfontein, is in the heart of Midrand and falls under the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality. It is poised to be the next residential hub. Areas of Clayville have been staked as part of the Clayville-Tembisa Mega Housing Project, which will benefit the entire area by undertaking urban renewal, creating employment opportunities and the upgrading of infrastructure.

Clayville is a peaceful, safe and quiet suburb conveniently situated on public transport routes, with easy access to the N1 and R21. The area is surrounded by a number of convenience and regional malls including Blue Hills shopping Centre, Boulders, Carlswald Lifestyle Centre, Tembisa Phumulani Mall as well as the shopping and entertainment destination that is Mall of Africa.

In terms of positioning, the suburb is a mere 20 minutes’ drive to either Pretoria or Johannesburg CBD, 40 minutes’ away from Sandton CBD, a 15 minutes’ drive to OR Tambo International Airport and just 20 minutes from Midrand Gautrain station.

There is plenty to do around Clayville, families can take a day outing to the Stoke City Adventure Park, plan a trip to the local library and in summer enjoy a day in the sun at the Olifantsfontein communal swimming pool.

Midrand Village the perfect choice for a family or property investors

Positioned in Clayville, Midrand Village offers an excellent selection of properties for the first-time home-owner as well as investors wanting to expand their rental portfolio. Midrand Village is a private and neat 24-hour security, access controlled estate with patrolling guards for added peace of mind. It comprises 335 uniquely designed free-standing homes with modern interior finishes and spacious, walled-in gardens for extra privacy. Midrand Village is a pet-friendly estate that offers a safe environment for children and includes open park areas, a soccer field and a jungle gym.

The units vary between 2-3 bedrooms, 1-2 bathrooms, with either a covered, lock-up carport or garage. All units have functional open plan kitchens and spacious living areas, energy saving solar geysers and prepaid electricity metres. Stand sizes range from 326m2 to 1355m2.

Midrand Village offers an authentic neighbourly atmosphere and a true sense of belonging.  From a game of soccer on the communal areas to moms meeting at the jungle gym for a chat, it’s a way of life that connects like-minded residents. In the estate, the diversity of cultures creates a sense of community, safety and security which is very satisfying.

“Buyers don’t simply look for bricks and mortar, they buy lifestyle. They want a home in an area that has excellent infrastructure, amenities, schools, malls and are central in relation to business hubs. They want to be part of a community. Well-located urban properties, such as those on offer within Midrand Village, provide buyers with a desirable lifestyle and sound investment returns over the long term,” concludes Olivier.

For more information, visit www.midrandvillage.co.za

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?


Real Estate & Cryptocurrency

Although Cryptocurrency has been around for quite some time now, it is still a relatively new concept in South Africa and, to a degree, quite foreign for some. The idea of no physical money and no set currency is quite daunting. There are quite a few options as an investment, but Bitcoin is perhaps the most well-known.

Bitcoin is a currency created in 2009 by the anonymous pseudonym ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’; in short it enables you to make financial transactions free of fees and the interference of banks. You can already use Bitcoin to buy everything from pizza to a manicure as well as a payment option on Takealot. But could virtual currencies become a standard trading resource to purchase real estate?

What is Bitcoin?

In short, Bitcoin has two key traits that define it: it is digital and it is seen as an alternative currency. Designed to be user friendly, there’s no need to have advanced technical knowledge to get a handle on how Bitcoin works. To get started with using it you simply install a Bitcoin wallet on your mobile phone or laptop. You’ll be given an address similar to an email, which you can use to send or receive money.

Potential impacts on the property market: Where could it come into play?

Cryptocurrency will have numerous implications on the property market both positive and negative.  “Will we soon be taking advantage of this emerging trend with clients buying property through Bitcoin, and will Bitcoin be seen as a potential replacement for paper- and coin-based money in the near future? If the answer is yes, then blockchain technology, which is the basis of cryptocurrency, and smart contracts will revolutionise the real estate industry,” says Craig Hutchison, CEO Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.

 Transaction time

One of the most obvious ways that Bitcoin is bound to have an impact on real estate is by providing new platforms for sales. Individual properties could have their own digital identity with a documented and verifiable chain of ownership. As the blockchain is decentralised, this information would be open, accessible and fully transparent. By passing the bank, buyers and sellers could potentially connect in real time, speeding up the process for transactions significantly.  “The electronic deeds system which is being implemented is the first step in this process” Craig added.

Transactional costs

With new online platforms, buyers and sellers can store their information securely and it would be instantly verifiable, which cuts out prolonged discussions with banks and lawyers and thereby saves money. Saving on transaction fees, Bitcoin lowers the transaction costs of transferring money from one party to another. Cryptocurrency will also make properties easier to sell to overseas buyers as it enables a legal transfer of property ownership using digital ledger technology.

Agent commission

As the trend increases to buy property with Bitcoin, real estate agencies and area agents who work predominantly with foreign buyers, will soon have to start thinking about accepting commission payments in the digital currency Bitcoin.


The blockchain still has a long way to go before it becomes a significant real estate market disruptor. Nonetheless, with encrypted data and a high level of security it could quickly become useful, particularly for transferring the large sums involved in luxury real estate. Blockchain technology creates a decentralised digital public record of transactions that is secure, anonymous and tamper-proof. This underlying technology is regarded by some major financial institutions as bullet-proof. The blockchain can be used to prevent fraud by creating a private, fully certifiable digital ID. This offers a more current and reliable proof of funds than a bank’s letter. Digital IDs secured by the blockchain’s digital ledger can be used for deed transfers, mortgage payments, or other financial scenarios.


The exponential rise in the price of Bitcoin poses a threat to the South African Revenue Services’ (SARS) revenue collection efforts as it is largely dependent on traders’ own truthful declaration of profits. Financial institutions like banks are required to provide SARS with information on the investments of their clients for verification purposes, but in a crypto environment where such information is lacking, SARS may have to trust that a taxpayer made honest declarations with regard to crypto gains. SARS has said that it has plans to provide clarity on the tax implications.

Investing in property through Bitcoin

The Pros:

  • Sellers can receive direct bank deposit (takes 15 minutes to a day depending on network congestion) directly into his/her bank account from anywhere in the world, from any laptop or mobile device.
  • All transactions are private as Bitcoins are not linked to any names or addresses or any other private identifying information; it offers anonymity for both parties throughout the property transaction.
  • The ability to “hide” funds into assets.
  • There are no fees with Bitcoin. There is also no “margin” to convert the currency from one currency to another for international transactions as long as the seller can accept Bitcoins.
  • No third party is necessary once the self-enforcing smart mortgage contract is cryptographically signed.

The Cons:

  • Bitcoin’s are very volatile – value fluctuates every day.
  • Any and all activities related to the acquisition, trading or use of virtual currencies are performed at the user’s sole and independent risk and have no recourse to the bank.
  • Though each Bitcoin transaction is recorded in a public log, names of buyers and sellers are never revealed – only their wallet IDs. While that keeps Bitcoin users’ transactions private, it also lets them buy or sell anything without easily tracing it back to them.
  • Bitcoin transactions are not reversible. To reverse a transaction due to any litigation, you need both parties to be compliant.
  • You can’t buy a house with a mortgage bond with Bitcoin – all payments need to be made in full.

Will the bubble burst? 
Some dispute that it is too unstable to be seen as a currency and warn that a crash is inevitable. There have been numerous occasions where Bitcoin has seemed to be in a dilemma, however every time that warning bells have gone off because the bubble is about to burst , the currency has faltered for a few days and then bounced back even higher. As it stands at the moment the general consensus is: as long as investors are willing to buy, there will be a market.

Despite the uncertainty of the Bitcoin market, tech-savvy property investors are willing to take a risk on the cryptocurrency. As with all things, before diving into investment projects and wondering whether to invest, do your homework thoroughly and look at the entire picture.


How to get more from your Garden this Spring

By Veruska De Vita

A garden in Spring time can connect us to the natural world in many ways, whether it’s pausing to watch birds flutter in foliage or plucking the first ripe fruit of the season. As the chill of winter gives way to balmy weather, evenings bundled up indoors turn into nights lounging on the patio.

 With a sense of renewal in the air, it is the perfect time to relook at your garden space. By tackling one or two new projects over a few weekends, you’ll soon be sipping your favourite drink surrounded by a beautiful garden filled with the sights, scents and sounds that emanate from lush greenery.

Craig Hutchison, CEO of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa indicated the importance of a garden in a property sale. “First impressions last, and a beautiful garden can add significant value to your property sale timeline. The garden is an escape and a place to find solace, so a well laid out and inviting garden can be a big draw card to buyers.” Craig advised.

The latest Garden Trends

Like fashion, gardens and exterior spaces experience different styles and trends and one of the biggest trends of the moment is adding ambient lighting to the garden. Glenice Ebedes of Grounded Landscaping says that this extends an entertainment area beyond the home interior, incorporating the outdoors to make it more usable and certainly more enticing at night. Adding a fire pit is another way of extending an entertainment area and provides the opportunity to be under the stars on cooler evenings. Sitting around a crackling open fire enjoying the sound of crickets and the company of friends is a wonderful way to unwind and reconnect.

Another key trend is creating an ‘outdoor room’ or an intimate area in the garden that has its own theme and is separate from the rest – an area that is private, secluded and meditative. “This can be a permanently constructed zone or something more laid back. It all depends on your lifestyle and your home,” says Ebedes. Picture an area scattered with oversized cushions under the shade of a leafy tree or a zone spread with pebbles and stepping stones where you can literally slow down your pace.

When it comes to flower beds, the first rule of green thumb is to choose plants that will thrive in the environment. Consider positioning – is the area predominantly in shade for most of the day or will plants be exposed to full sun? Then select plants accordingly, while keeping maintenance in mind. According to Ebedes, perennials are winning favourability over annuals.

“Perennials are plants that don’t die but that continue to thrive from one season to the next. Unlike annuals which are high maintenance and need to be replaced every season, perennials keep going and bring lovely seasonal colour,” she says.

Homeowners who love blooms should also look for perennials that flower for longer periods. Another way of bringing different hues into a garden is to mix flower beds by planting a variety of flowering perennials that come into bloom at different times, this ensures that there are flowers across the four seasons. Shrubs such as the indigenous Anisodontea species flower prolifically for most of the year and thrive in most parts of South Africa.

Bursts of colour can also be added through foliage. Crassula capitella ‘Campfire’ is an indigenous, low-growing succulent with leaves that turn from green to a brilliant red when exposed to the sun. It’s ideal for areas bathed in direct sunlight for most of the day.

If your garden is already in peak health and needs simple maintenance, here are a few tasks that will keep it glossy:

  1. Enrich your soil with compost
  2. Add mulch to beds and potted plants to prevent moisture loss
  3. Apply organic fertilizer
  4. Replace invasive species with indigenous plants as this results in fewer pests and diseases in the garden. These plants also attract a lot of wildlife such as birds, butterflies and interesting insects.

Furniture and Accessories

Comfortable, functional and weather-hardy furniture is a key essential for making the most of your garden and exterior space. Texture is a strong element at the moment, especially natural wood, steel and a combination of the two. Linen and rope are also right on trend and add a touch of laid back pizazz.

According to online magazine Decoist.com, outdoor furniture and accessories reflect a desire to create a holiday vibe at home. The garden has been touted as the new resort and imbuing décor with a personal style that reflects your vacation character – be it luxury, rustic or barefoot and beachy – is all the rage.  In terms of design, foliage prints are still in and so are stripes. Large black and white, navy and white and red and white stripes bring elegance and a nautical feel to a patio and can be incorporated easily for an updated look. Chair cushions, throws, umbrellas and floor rugs that are on trend can instantly bring a modern twist to your exterior.

With the Scandinavian hygge movement – which is about creating comfort, coziness, conviviality and a sense of well-being – still a big part of home design, lounges and couches remain popular outdoor choices. Extra seating should always be on hand and functional to accommodate family and friends and if pieces can be moved around so that people can spread out and sprawl, all the better. Items such as ottomans, beanbags and stools can be repositioned with ease and stowed away when not required. They also offer a creative opportunity for updating a patio with little fuss and without breaking the bank – they can be re-covered in fun eye-catching fabrics that pop or revamped with a lick of paint.

Whatever you choose to do, the Spring garden is about outdoor homing, nesting and reconnecting with nature, with yourself and with your loved ones.

Creative Property Investments

Investing in property is invaluable, offering long-term rewards and is still regarded as one of the safest permanent investments. Most people would like to diversify their property portfolio but think they won’t be able to afford it or that they will not have the money for a deposit.

“Purchasing investment properties can be capital intensive, but there are ways to reduce the capital requirements by approaching the investment in an informed manner.” says Craig Hutchison, CEO Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.

When it comes to property investment, there are many strategies to adopt, depending on your personal situation and goals. We look at a few creative ways to approach your real estate investments:

  • Partnerships: a typical way of obtaining financing. It is the way many young real estate entrepreneurs go about financing their projects. By finding investors who can put the money up and split the profits on the upside. This also limits your risk and makes the money go further.
  • Private Lenders: a less risky alternative to a better cashflow. This is because you can often arrange the terms of repayment with the private party. They can be anyone such as a friend or business acquaintance. The loan’s terms are agreed upon by the two parties, which can make purchasing a property with little or no moneya likely possibility.
  • Rent-to-own or lease with an option to buy: This option is especially great when considering how to buy first rental property. If you have a lease-option for 5 years, at the end of that time, you will need to purchase the house and can get a bank loan then. Meanwhile, you can use the time to fix your credit and/or save for a down payment. Some contracts may put some or all of the rental amount towards the deposit.
  • Use a home equity line of credit from another property:If you have equity in another property, you could use that as a deposit on purchasing another investment property.
  • Borrow against your own home: Some people in this situation choose to extend their mortgage to release the cash to invest elsewhere. Some financial institutions will be happy for you to borrow more against your house in order to invest in property. Once you are able to buy an investment property, you can refinance it in one year.
  • Rent rooms in your home: If you own your own home, you can raise money by renting out a spare room. If you’re willing to put in more work, you’ll get higher returns by renting your room through a short-term lettings agency. The profits can be very high if you live in an area with decent tourist, student or business demand.
  • Borrow money for a deposit from a relative: If you are fortunate to have a relative with some extra funding and you really know your stuff and can produce a compelling business case, it might be worth a shot, asking them for funding towards/for a deposit to purchase the property.
  • Invest with friends: If your friends or business partners are also have a passion for property, you could always invest together. If you do decide to invest with someone you know, make sure you’re 100% aligned, discuss what you want to do, and all those scenarios that could go wrong. Plan what will happen if someone wants to sell and the other doesn’t – or one person needs their money back unexpectedly, and get it all down in writing.
  • An instalment sale: Is an agreement, documented in a water-tight contract between a buyer and a seller that the buyer will pay off the purchase price in monthly instalments within 5 years. This enables a buyer to acquire a property by paying the seller in more than two instalments (in usual bank-financed transactions there are two instalments: the deposit and the final settlement amount) and over a period longer than one year, but not longer than five years. Once a buyer and a seller have agreed on a price, the payment arrangements and the terms and conditions, a special purchase contract is drawn up by attorneys that specialise in ALA transactions, which meets all the requirements of the ALA to ensure the transaction is legal and protects the interests of all parties.

Only a handful of investors will make it past their first investment whilst climbing the property ladder even though their intentions were to make it big in real estate. “Establishing and expanding your property portfolio needs to be done with careful forethought to ensure you get the most out of it” Craig concluded.

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.

Pest Control – Don’t Let Your Home Become Their Home

With winter here, it’s not just the cold weather that may invade our homes, pests may also enter seeking warmth and food sources, and unfortunately our warm homes may become their new nests.


“You have invested, as your finances would permit, a very large amount of your life’s savings in protecting your dream home, and don’t want it destroyed by little critters. At some point, virtually every home experiences some type of pest problem, even the cleanest, most well-kept properties can face invasion” comments Craig Hutchison, CEO Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.


Pest control is important throughout the year, not just in winter. Armed with good advice and information, you are in a much better position to ensure that your chosen pest control company gives you the most value for your money and satisfactorily ridding you of your problem and preventing it from occurring again.


Signs that you need a pest professional:

Property Damage – pests pose a big risk to your home, most will leave their mark in the form of gnawed furniture, fabrics, and wiring. You’re most likely to see this at a low level, so inspect skirting and floor boards for chewed materials.


Droppings and Urine – one of the most obvious signs of pest invasion is waste, particularly in the case of rodents. You’ll notice small, raisin shaped droppings close to food stores. The darker the color, the fresher the dropping, so black waste indicates an active mouse or rat problem.


Nocturnal Noises – it’s common to hear rodents moving about inside the roof, mostly at night. These unusual sounds are most likely to be mice or rats.


Sticky Doors and Windows – stiff door frames are often thought to be a sign of subsidence or other structural problems, but they may be a consequence of termite activity. The moisture termites produce when tunnelling through wood can cause frames to warp. If you notice this, check around the house to see if there are any more warning signs.


Ways to pest proof your home before the invasion

According to Stuart Steele, Business Development Manager, Flick Pest Control there are 4 simple ways to pest proof your home.


Proofing: Seal off entry points such as under doors, holes in walls and gaps between your roof and wall to prevent rodents from squeezing in


Secure food sources to eliminate pest attraction: Pests are not fussy eaters. Once they find a source of food and water, they are notorious for overstaying their welcome and inviting their friends and family. While pests can thrive in even the cleanest of houses, homeowners should remove any temptations by sweeping up spills and crumbs immediately to prevent vermin, roaches or ants from being attracted to the area.


Good housekeeping practices: Clear up clutter in your yard. Ensure you don’t have any clutter such as building rubble; stacks of firewood, old tyres or other debris leaning against your exterior walls around your home or in your garden against perimeter walls. We don’t recommend the use of a compost heap as they provide ideal breeding grounds for rodents and flies. Keep your gutters clean and remove any dead leaves to prevent them being blocked as this will retain stagnant water and can cause fly and mosquito problems.

Know when to call in the professionals: The tips given above are great do-it-yourself methods available to prevent pest control issues in your home, waiting until it’s too late to call in a certified professional can be dangerous and can lead to major damage, costing you time and money.


Procedure when pest control comes to your home

Pre-service: if applicable, prior to the day of service, you should be informed of any preparation you may have to do to enable service to be performed. This could include cleaning, clearing specified areas, removing pets, storing/covering foods, planning to keep children out of the area during service, etc.


Pre-service communication: before beginning service, the technician should discuss the situation with you, it can be beneficial to walk around the home or property with the technician to show them, what was seen and where. The technician should then communicate the treatment to be made, products to be used.


Inspection & Identification: the service professional should then conduct an inspection for the pests and signs of pest presence. He/she should inspect the sites you discussed and other areas where the pest is likely to be and look for any potential contributing or conducive conditions. The inspection should also include positive identification of the pest, in order for correct treatment to be made.


Treatment: based on all the above, the technician will perform the applicable service.


Post-service communication/Recommendations: once treatment has been made, the technician should again communicate with you: telling you what has been done – where, why, and how; noting any precautions you may need to take; answering any further questions you may have; and making recommendations for any action you need to take and/or follow up they will make.


Service Report: the service technician should provide you with a written service report, noting what was done where, when, how and why. It should also include contact information and any recommendations.


Follow up, if needed: for some pests, such as bed bugs, elimination cannot be achieved in a single visit, therefore you should be informed of any further service that will be needed and any other follow-up that is required or recommended.


How to choose a reputable pest control provider

Mario Pluke, Technical Manager at Rentokil South Africa’s says choosing a professional, registered and reputable pest control partner is critical if you want to combat pest infestations in a safe and environmentally responsible fashion.


Rentokil urges the public to ask the following questions when choosing a professional pest control partner:

  1. How many years has the pest control company been in business?
  2. How are employees trained?
  3. Is the company registered with the South African Pest Control Association (SAPCA)
  4. Are the pest control technicians who work for the company registered with the Department of Agriculture?
  5. How does the Company keep its staff informed of changes in regulations, products, techniques and safety?
  6. What is the company’s attitude towards Health and Safety of both employees and customers?
  7. Does the company adhere to the Department of Agriculture’s approved product list?


While do-it-yourself pest control options may seem appealing, one must remember that if administered incorrectly pesticides can be hazardous to the health of humans, as they are designed to kill living organisms. It is therefore essential that the use of pesticides around people, especially small children, is carefully controlled.  When selecting a pest control partner, consumers are urged to choose a reputable, professional pest control company, says Mario.



DIY Green Pest Control Remedies

Cucumber peels: ants are quite turned off by cucumber peels, and sprinkling them around areas of your home that serve as entrance points for ant colonies is a great preventive pest control method.


Mint leaves: plants such as peppermint and spearmint are natural insect deterrents, especially for ants and aphids. Plant a few varieties around your home, and you should see a noticeable drop in ant populations.


All-Natural sprays:  there are a number of great eco-friendly pest control sprays you can make at home. Mixing water with isopropyl alcohol, concentrated garlic oil, salt or boiled elder leaves makes deterrents that you can spray on indoor and outdoor plants to help control infestations.


Baking soda and powdered sugar: if roaches are your problem, try mix baking soda and powdered sugar, and sprinkle it around problem areas. The sugar attracts the pests and the baking soda kills them.


Eucalyptus oil: drop some on cloth and place near areas of infestation of flies and moths.


Soapy water: if you want to instantly kill an insect in your home, mix water and soap into a spray bottle, you can kill all bugs on contact. This is because the soap component breaks down the waxy exoskeleton and lets the water enter the bug and it will drown them quickly.


Cedar oil: very lethal to termites but totally non-toxic, organic, and chemical-free. It is a very effective contact killer and repellent to termites and can be used on any wood structure. The way it works is that the product penetrates the wood and the aromas from the cedar oil disrupt termite pheromone systems in a lethal manner.


Lemon juice as bug spray: simply add lemon juice and water 5/50 in a spray bottle and add essential oils.


Various natural oils are also effective:

  • Lemongrass: fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and flies
  • Lavender: fleas, ticks, flies, lice, nits, silverfish, mosquitoes, moths
  • Tea Tree Oil: centipedes, fleas , flies, & other insects
  • LemonOrange (or other citrus): fleas, ants, roaches, lice, nits, flies

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.

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 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. www.engelvoelkers.com/south-africa