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Wrapping up Women’s Month with Dane Van Niekerk, Captain of the Proteas Women’s Cricket Team

Wrapping up Women’s Month with Dane Van Niekerk, Captain of the Proteas Women’s Cricket Team

In the month of August we paid homage to the women of our nation and we celebrated the women in our communities. “We have celebrated all types of women this month and have acknowledged and still applaud the women of South Africa who take a stand, and who continue the fight against all the issues which seek to bring women down” says Tihara Baker, Relationship Manager of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.


As our Women’s month draws to an end we have the privileged of speaking with Dane Van Niekerk, the right hand batter and Captain of the Momentum Proteas Women’s National Cricket team and gain some insight into her sporting career.


Dane’s journey started when she was just 4 year’s old playing cricket with her dad and brother in their backyard. She then started playing cricket as a sport and went through all the ranks in woman’s cricket:  U/9, U/12, U/13 and U/15. She was spotted at the U/19 woman’s cricket where she then went to trials for the South African side and was later picked for the 2009 ODI Women’s World Cup in Australia and since she has not looked back and is living her dream.


What advice would you give to other women who wish to have a successful sporting career?

If you fall in love with any type of sport you must follow your dreams. Talent only takes you so far. You have to work hard. You don’t jump into any professional environment. You really have to work hard and train, but if you follow your dreams and if it’s something you really want to do then the opportunity in South Africa is there to pursue it, more so in cricket to be professional and do it as a job.


 Do you have a role model? Who and why?

That’s difficult; if I have to look in cricket probably AB de Villiers at the moment. It was Shane Warne, but AB de Villiers is the best batter in the world and, you know, critics are getting him, but he just shows his class every time he goes onto the field and he never backs down from a challenge and he leads his team really well and that’s something I wish to do. He [AB de Villiers] has never been anything less than respectful to anyone that\s ever said anything to him so I think any person would strive to be, first of all, a person like that and a cricketer.


What is your motto in life? / What is your favourite famous quote?

“For with God, nothing shall be impossible”, we have a few players in the team that pray before a game and I believe in that and I guess I go about that before every game.


How do you conquer fears?



What is your outlook on investing in property?

Yeah, look, I think it’s important to invest. People like different things. I like property, because I like houses – it’s there and I can live in it. We’re actually in the market for a new house at the moment so I’m all for investing [in property].


Do you own any property?

Yes I do. A townhouse.


Where would your dream home be located?

Probably a beach house down the Garden Route. I would love anything by the beach so Knysna and those places.


Which room in your home is most important and why?

My room, because there’s a nice TV in there and it’s my bed. We don’t get to sleep there often so when we are there it’s probably the best room. And then the braai area (laughs).

Which property expenses can you deduct from Tax?

Which property expenses can you deduct from Tax?

It is that time of year again where all income from property investments must be declared to SARS and is subject to income tax, this includes all rental income. In preparation for tax season, taxpayers can start gathering all the supporting documents that are needed to submit their tax returns. The first important point to note when reviewing the income tax implications of residential properties is the difference between; the income tax of primary residences and buy to let residential properties:


Primary residences are occupied by the owner of the property and there is therefore no taxable income that is generated from the ownership of the property. All the costs that are incurred in relation to the property are therefore of a personal nature and cannot be deducted for income tax purposes.


Rental properties are leased by a tenant and the owner of the property (the lessor) receives a monthly rental income in return for leasing the property. The rent income must be included in the taxable income of the property owner regardless of whether the property owner is an individual, corporate entity or a trust.  All the costs that are incurred in order to generate a monthly rental income can be deducted from the income that the property owner receives when calculating the owner’s taxable income for tax assessment purposes.  Rental of residential accommodation includes:

  • holiday homes
  • bed-and-breakfast establishments
  • guesthouses
  • sub-renting part of your house e.g. a room or a garden flat
  • dwelling houses and
  • other similar residential dwellings


“The important factor with owning an investment property is that all expenses are deductible from the rental income, before tax is calculated. These Costs typically include property management fees, municipal rates, levies charged by body corporates, repairs and maintenance, insurance premiums and municipal service costs that are paid by the property owner. Proper accounting records therefore need to be kept in order to provide SARS with supporting documents for the deductions that are claimed for income tax purposes if required to do so”, says Craig Hutchison, CEO Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.


How is tax calculated on rental income?

The rental income you get should be added to any other taxable income you may have. Any amount paid to you in addition to the monthly rental is also subject to income tax. These additional amounts or lease premiums are usually paid in the form of lump sums at the start of the lease and the full amount is subject to tax in the year that it accrues or is received. A refundable deposit paid by a tenant is not taxable provided it is kept separately in a trust account and is not used by you but if it is forfeited by the tenant then it’s taxable.


Can the taxable amount be reduced?

Yes, the taxable amount (rental income) may be reduced as you may incur expenses during the period that the property was let. Only expenses incurred in the production of that rental income can be claimed. Any capital and/or private expenses won’t be allowed as a deduction.


Which expenses are allowed?

Expenses that may be deducted from taxable income include:

  • rates and taxes
  • bond interest
  • advertisements
  • agency fees of estate agents
  • insurance (only homeowners not household contents)
  • garden services
  • repairs in respect of the area let and
  • security and property levies


Which expenses are not allowed?

According to Alvin van Staden, Director/CA(SA) at The Consulting Services Hub (TCSH), maintenance and repairs should be noted as specific costs and should not be confused with improvement costs. The latter is a capital expense that would be included in the base cost of the property, to effectively reduce the capital gain (or loss) on the disposal of the property, for capital gains tax purposes.


When it comes to VAT expense claims, the supply of residential accommodation by means of a “dwelling” is an exempt supply for VAT purposes, and you can’t deduct VAT incurred on its expenses. However, if the “dwelling” is used to earn rental income through the supply of “commercial accommodation” (such as hotels, B&B’s and lodges), the owner will be entitled to a VAT expense claim in terms of specific rules as stipulated within the Act, if they are a registered Vat vendor


What if the expenses exceed the rental income?

Should the expenses exceed the rental income, the loss should be available to be off-set against other income earned by the homeowner, provided that losses are not “ring-fenced” in terms of prevailing anti-avoidance provisions. For more information, see our Guide on ring-fencing of assessed losses arising from trade conducted by individuals.  The homeowner must effectively be able to satisfy SARS that he is carrying on a bona fide trade through the rental of his property.


In certain circumstances can a lessor qualify for specific allowances?

Yes. Tertius Troost, Tax consultant at Mazars South Africa explains that in certain circumstances a lessor could qualify for specific allowances when letting out a property, which the lessor may deduct from the rental income they earn from the property.


Urban Development Zone (UDZ) allowance

If the property is located in an UDZ, the lessor will be able to claim a certain allowances. These allowances are dependent on the nature of the building. Of critical importance is that the lessor will need to obtain a certificate from the developer or municipality stating that the property is in an UDZ.


Here is a checklist of documents to be kept on file for tax season (for an entire year or part off where applicable)

  • Monthly Rates & Taxes statements
  • Monthly Bank Statement of home loan
  • Levy’s or HOA statements
  • Homeowners insurance
  • Any utility bills included in the rental income
  • Advertising invoices or agency fees statements
  • Slips and invoices for any repairs done (example geyser bursting)
  • Garden services or any other services necessary to make the home rentable
Take a step to the outside of your home – Planning the ideal garden

Take a step to the outside of your home – Planning the ideal garden

There is plenty of research that shows the mental and physical benefits of gardening such as relaxation, exercise and of course family fun. Planting a garden provides enjoyment for many homeowners – watching your garden go from bare ground to ripe produce or beautiful plants, offers a sense of satisfaction. Vegetable gardening can be particularly gratifying and an excellent source of fresh produce, from the soil preparation to the joy of harvesting.


“A well planned, functional garden design can be considered an investment. It can add “curb-appeal” to your house and in turn, increase the overall value of the home. Aside from the monetary value, a garden can assist in securing a quicker sale”, states Wendy Williams, Sales Director of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa. If you are planning on selling your property in the coming months, then refurbishing your garden should definitely be a consideration, but first gain an accurate assessment of your property’s market value from an expert such as a qualified real estate agent or valuator. Once you have this value, you will be able to work out your budget.


Boosting curb appeal is easy with the help of colorful plants and functional furniture. A good first impression could make a world of difference as you have a chance to influence how potential buyers feel about your home before they even step inside. Remember to try and keep it low-maintenance, even if you love gardening, it doesn’t mean the next owner will feel the same, and an elaborate, high maintenance garden can be considered a negative by a potential buyer.


If your garden is looking a little worse for wear after the winter, then getting your garden in shape for summer is the perfect project to tackle right now. You can revive your tired outdoors in no time – whether you are up for a bit of a larger project, or simply ‘dusting off’ the winter, Spring is the perfect time to start working towards the dream garden you have always been wishing for – whether it will be filled with healthy vegetables or colourful flowers.


We look at some steps to get you started:

Remember: The trick is to start small, whether you are growing a vegetable, herb or a flower garden.


Step 1: Preparation

  • Start with a basic clean-up, by weeding and removing any dead plants to get an idea of how much space you have to work with
  • Deadhead any existing flowersto enhance new growth;
  • Promote better drainage for wateringand fertilizing by breaking up the soil – this will already enhance the dull looking garden.


Once this is done you have created a canvas to start with….


Step 2: Set the scene

Work through the checklist to determine what type of garden would be best suited for you:

  • What kind of garden do you want to grow?
  • Do you want it to beautify your yard with splashes of color or grow delicious vegetables and herbs? Do you perhaps want both a vegetable garden and flower garden combined?
  • Will most of the plants be in containers or in beddings? Consider who will be using your yard; do you have kids or pets?
  • Are you hoping to use your yard for outdoor entertaining? Do you want your garden to have a theme? (Formal, Traditional, English/cottage garden).


Step 3: Map out your garden

Ever wanted to try your hand at architecture? Planning your garden can be just as fun. By mapping out your garden it will be easier for you to see what will go where and what you still need:

  • Sketch out a basic diagram of your garden’s dimensions and what you want it to look like.
  • If you’ve previously planted a garden, think about what you’ve grown before and consider what worked and what didn’t.
  • Decide how much space you have, make sure the location of your garden will provide for optimal growth and appreciation.
  • When choosing a location, consider planting the flower garden close to an existing structure (house, patio or fence) to create a transition between the house and the yard.
  • Map out where your beddings will be and where your free standing pots will stand.
  • Do you need to incorporate utility areas such as washing lines, dustbin storage, compost bins? Will these need to be hidden with garden features?


Step 4: Choose your plants

Early in your planning you should determine how your plants will function in your landscape. Plants can be used in a number of ways; they can provide you with fresh fruits and vegetables or beautiful scenery.

  • When selecting new plants, look for resource-efficient plants, ones that will require less water, fertilizers, and pesticides.
  • Consider budget, ease of care, and compatibility with neighboring plants, aesthetics and size.
  • When planning a vegetable garden ask yourself how much time you want to spend in it, vegetable gardens require constant attention; they need to be weeded, watered and then harvested.
  • Flower gardens are probably one of the most enjoyable gardens to plan from year to year. Ask yourself what your particular style is and what will look most appropriate with your home.
  • Decide what types of plants you prefer –once again as with the theme, try to limit your selection to only a few to ensure your garden has a unified look and feel.
  • Should you use container/potted plants? Using pots and container plants adds a wonderful structural element to your garden. Even herbs such as purple basil and ornamental peppers can spice up a pot. Succulents have become extremely popular for their low maintenance and drought tolerance.


Step 5: Don’t Forget Decorative Touches

A spacious sitting area is the perfect spot to enjoy the garden. Patios, decks and pathways make the garden usable and provide space for you to enjoy all your hard work. Items to consider:

  • Would you want to install a water feature? Water features add a dynamic element to your garden, allowing you to experience the soothing sound of flowing water in your garden.
  • A popular favourite trend is adding a fire pit to your garden either in the garden itself or close to the patio where you will be entertaining.
  • Add some lighting be it for décor or for security purposes. By using LED’s the cost of having lights in your garden is significantly reduced and it allows you to use your garden at night too.
  • Remember that a garden makeover doesn’t always mean only adding new plants and shaping the beds; it is also worthwhile refurbishing currently existing structures. Take into account everything that currently exists in your garden that can be refurbished to enhance it even more. (Painting a wall, sanding and resealing a wooden fence or deck, replacing old pots).


Step 6: Mind Your Budget

  • Carefully estimate the total cost of the materials you will need, by starting slowly.
  • Don’t buy things you won’t necessarily need. Not everything needs to be bought all at once, or bought new. Good planning for what you’ll grow is key to avoiding overspending.
  • Plant your own seeds instead of purchasing them from a nursery or alternatively get cuttings from a fellow gardener.
  • You could also save on costs by making your own fertiliser as well as pesticides. Rich, homemade compost is the best slow-release fertiliser your garden could ever desire.
  • Allocate a budget and split your project into phases – you will then be able to work on your garden as your budget allows.


Gardening can provide much more than beauty to your yard, growing something with your own two hands can fill a person with satisfaction and pride and is good for the soul. It is truly a life-time hobby, the more you learn the more proficient you will get and it is then the possibilities become endless.

Which renovations should you make to your home?

Which renovations should you make to your home?

There is no doubt that house renovations are getting increasingly popular these days and homes are getting upgraded for various reasons. Some are integrating smart home applications and devices, others are doing a complete remodel and there are those who simply want to raise the value of their home for selling. For whichever reason, renovations done have to be sensible and wise, ensuring that the homeowner regains a beneficial return on investment when the time comes to sell.


“As much as we’d like to think that the money we pour into renovations will come back at us in full when we sell our home, that’s rarely the case. However certain renovations add value immediately, some small and exterior-focused improvements offer better value than larger challenging renovations” states Craig Hutchison, CEO Engel & Völkers Southern Africa. If you are considering making some home improvements, you will want to understand a concept called ROI. ROI stands for return on investment, which means how much money you stand to get back on any particular renovation whenever you decide to sell your home.


Craig continues by warning that many clients choose to add lavish features, thinking that it would make their property stand out. Sometimes standing out might actually be the wrong thing to do, especially if it changes the price tag. One should always remember that what you like, might not be what the next owner would want in a home, and that would mean that they might not be willing to pay for your customisations. If you custom your home too much, you are narrowing your potential buyers down to a very niche few, and this could result in your home remaining on the market for years.


A good place to start is to check the value of the homes in the area to give you a good feel of your home’s value and how much you should spend on the renovations. The last thing you want to do is over capitalise. If you are hoping to make a significant return when selling your home, make sure that the exterior is on par with the rest of the neighbourhood by making minor improvements to create maximum appeal. It is always a good idea to speak to an estate agent in your area to get a sense of the value that doing such improvements could add, and how best to get your renovation to deliver a significant return in future.


Choose smaller renovations instead of major remodeling projects to see the greatest potential return on investment. “Renovations to kitchen and bathrooms can generate a return on investment of between 60-80%. You don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune on renovations. Replacing countertops and flooring with inexpensive tiles, re-enameling baths and basins and re-grouting existing tiles in a bathroom can all have a major impact on the aesthetics and thus the inherent value of the property. Replacing old taps, light fittings and towel rails and installing mirrors or even re-painting can make the room appear more spacious and clean” advises Ooba. Another area that can add significant value is the garden and the entrance to the house. Neat beds full of healthy plants, manicured lawns and well maintained boundary walls or fences all create a good impression of your home, and can be quite easily achieved.


Renovating? What is the best ROI?



Loft conversion +192%

It’s often the easiest cheaper and less disruptive way to create an extra space in your house. The loft could be used for an extra bedroom, workroom, TV-room, playroom, study, games room, extra storage or a private home office which will immediately add value.


Going green +65%

Going green can seem totally overwhelming but it may be good to revise your home’s energy consumption. Many buyers look at the amount of energy a home saves because of the increase in electricity costs. Install solar heating panels, switch all or a few of your light bulbs to LED/CFLs, fix leaky taps, install water saving shower heads and have a timer installed on your geysers


Braai room +80%

There are two types of people those with braai rooms and those still wanting one. A braai room means being able to entertain, irrespective of the elements outside. A small unusable area can easily be altered into a practical braai area. Folding/sliding doors are also an option, enabling a person to have an area completely open when needed, yet closed when the need arises.


Decking / patio +133%

A deck/patio will provide you with more than a place to entertain outside and soak up the sun. Buyers see a deck as offering a seamless transition from inside to outside. It increases a home’s usable space – but costs only about half of what it would to build a new room. A well-made deck is something that can add real wow-factor as well as functionality.


Landscaping +?

A low maintenance garden could attract a buyer and can be just as appealing as a high maintenance garden. Making use of plants and shrubs that are indigenous to the area will alleviate unnecessary watering and maintenance. An automatic watering system and a water feature will add value to the garden.  Ensure that the existing plants and trees in your garden are pruned regularly.


Pool +%

If you live in a higher-end neighborhood and most of your neighbors have pools then not having a pool might make your home harder to sell. A pool can add value to your quality of life and enhance the enjoyment of your home; you can’t put a price tag on that. If it’s an upmarket area however, having a pool may be an expectation. Only the homeowner can determine the true return on this investment.


New bathroom +75%

Simple bathroom fixes are a great way to redecorate your home and add value, without having to invest a lot of money in renovations. Refresh the paintwork, deep clean, replace the taps, replace that shower curtain with a glass screen, and invest in a heated towel rail rather than a hook on the back of the door. Let plenty of light in – fit more or bigger windows if possible, think about installing skylights.


Redecorating +26%

Redecorating can make a property look brand-new. Add a splash of paint, your paintwork sends a strong message to buyers. Change the light switches, the standard white light switches tend to look yellow over time. Rethink window treatments, is the glass sparkling, check that the latches are working correctly. Revive the flooring, replace old rugs and ensure all of your flooring is clean and well kept.


New kitchen +80%
Redecorating your kitchen is one of the best ways to add value to your home. It’s essential to have it looking up-to-date, clean and functional. Replace kitchen cabinet doors/handles and drawer fronts, replace kitchen countertops. Add the wow factor with soft closings and some nifty storage solutions. Create as much space as possible. Use down-lights underneath the cupboards or in bulkheads to light splash-backs and countertops for a warm and welcoming atmosphere.


Garage +25%

Fit the garage with shelves and cupboard space and replace the garage door. Most homes have double garages – you could build a flat let above the garage. Talk to estate agents to find out what buyers in your area want most – living space, another bedroom, an office. Potential buyers could view this as a way of generating additional income as it could be rented out or even used as office space.



This is possibly one of the most important features for re-sale value. Upgrading your home security will not only be lucrative for you when you decide to sell your property, but will also benefit you currently. Adding features like electric fencing, beams, and perhaps security cameras or merely upgrading your fencing will create a safer environment for you and for the potential buyer.



People & Property: Jacqueline Grobler, South African Gin Maker

People & Property: Jacqueline Grobler, South African Gin Maker

Engel & Völkers Southern Africa believes that property is more than just the actual houses for sale, it is about the people and the lifestyle. With a love for people and a passion for property, we enjoy a moment on the red couch with some of South Africa’s high profile personalities, to gain some insight into their lives on both a professional and personal level, and by delving into their property insights and preferences.


“This week we are kicking off our Women’s Month and focusing on some of SA’s powerful ladies. We had the privilege to sit down with Jacqueline Grobler, South African Gin Maker (Ginifer) and entrepreneur. Here is what she shared with us…” noted Chantalle Bell, feature writer of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa. “


A bit of background on Jacqueline:

A woman seldom daunted by the unknown, Jaqueline Grobler took each new challenge to heart, embracing the learnings and the education afforded by the school of life. Building a distillery from scratch, managing contractors, planning layouts with engineers was all in a day’s work and while at times intimidating, she still found it incredibly fun. Not someone who can be contained – this vibrant entrepreneur loved every moment of her journey to launching – believing boredom to be the real killer.

When talking about the tough days, she says that everyday made her realise just how deep she could dig for strength, always finding the resolve she needed to press on and retaining her sense of humour through the small setbacks along the way. Her first delivery of glass bottles came in two containers and she didn’t have a forklift operator to assist her. She laughs when she recalls single handed offloading 30 000 glass bottles with her little 3 ton forklift – a process that took five hours and left her unable to move her shoulders the next day.


A Quick Q&A:

If you were to wake up tomorrow and find that you are a man? What would be the first thing you would do?

I would take full advantage of having a wife; I’ve always said I want my own supportive, loving wife. I would also be unapologetically bossy and enjoy telling people what to do without feeling guilty.


What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently? I don’t wear a wedding ring – I haven’t for years – and I was proposed to by a customer who was sampling our cocktails. I think he believed that any woman who can make alcohol must be the perfect woman.


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

That no degree or age will ever prepare you for what your own business will throw at you. You should always celebrate the small successes. It was my mother – a very wise woman indeed – who shared this sage advice with me.


Any exciting new future plans on the horizon?

We have a few very exciting new products in the pipeline that are fun and light hearted. To be honest I am enthusiastic about every new product we launch; it’s like I’m growing our family. We have – Luvoa – a Craft Vodka and Venom – an African Moonshine – both of which are launching soon. Without sounding arrogant – these products are master pieces – truly exquisite; from their bottles to their unique taste profiles they are exceptional. We are confident that like our other brands, they will be well received by the market.


You’ve been given an elephant. You can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do with the elephant?

I would most definitely learn to ride the elephant and go ahead and cause chaos in the Sandton traffic; I’m not so keen on cleaning up after this animal though.


What is the most important room in your home?

The kitchen is the centre of my home; I find creative expression through my love of cooking and baking.


Could you tell us a bit about your own home?

I own a very old farmhouse in the centre of Sandton with thick stone walls fashioned in the shape of a Rondawel with a thatched roof. It’s quirky and odd, but it suits our family perfectly. We are surrounded by large trees; it’s our sanctuary.


Do you have any interior style tips you can share with our readers?

I studied interior design and my favourite type of house is eclectic and individual. Style cannot be bought or imported. It comes from within and it comes from being you.
In the Spotlight: Tom Davids – up-and-coming real estate agent in Centurion

In the Spotlight: Tom Davids – up-and-coming real estate agent in Centurion

In the Spotlight: Tom Davids proves a positive attitude, faith and hard work does pay off

We have a chat with Tom Davids, an up and coming real estate agent in the Centurion area. Tom is an inspirational sales advisor at Engel & Völkers Centurion who has only been in the industry for 10 months but already making a success of his new career.


Tom will tell you that it is by pure chance that he pursued a career in real estate. His journey began when he ran into a friend of his whilst shopping, and she invited him to come meet her manager who just happened to be the Team Leader of Engel & Völkers Centurion and the rest is history. Tom shares some of his career tips to his success and what he has learnt along his journey to being an agent and having a successful career.


“Coming from a retention & sales managers background the transition was fairly easy for Tom and he has certainly worked very hard to earn his status as a successful rookie agent in Centurion, we are very proud to have him as part of our team” states Wendy Williams, Team Leader Engel & Völkers  Centurion.


The other side of Tom

Upon asking Tom to tell us a bit about his family life, he shared that he is married to a stunning lady, Cindy and that they are blessed with 4 beautiful children, 3 girls and 1 boy. He says that his family is his world but they come second as God is on top of his list of priorities. Tom loves people and love helping others when possible.


Tom’s hobbies include selling properties and having 3 little children in the house, other than that there is no real time for relaxing. When he is busy with his hobbies, he relaxes, which is why he loves spending time with my family and doing show houses and expos. Tom added that this personal goal in life is to always try and make a positive difference in the lives of others. “I love helping people in general and my goal is to be able to help so much more than what I am currently helping.  I am most passionate about sharing as I do believe that sharing is caring” Tom added.



On the more serious side

Tom’s says that his greatest achievement would be when he made a decision to serve God and to be obedient to His commandments. Getting married to his wife and being blessed with their 4 kids is most definitely also one on the list. “Let me just mention that the last set are twins just in case you think that we don’t have any hobbies” Tom smiled.


We got to do a quick Q&A to gain some more insight into Tom’s life:



Tell us a bit about the market you specialise in?

I cater to both Full and sectional title in The Reeds area of Centurion and have noted that a new trend is developing where young couples (newlyweds) are buying property together. This proves that buyers are educated about their financial growth and focussed on investing in property from as young as possible.


What are your top three secrets to success?

Hard work, positive attitude and prayer.


Can you remember how many properties you have sold?

I joined the industry in January 2017 as an Intern agent and have managed to successfully sell 5 units in the past 6 months since my career took flight.


Which part of the property industry do you enjoy most?

Selling property


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

A positive attitude and a determination to succeed and not to give up.and not to give up.


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

Yes! I do not think that you will ever forget your first deal – the rush and excitement is simply unexplainable. It was a cash deal and the client came all the way from Limpopo to view one of my properties. He was adamant that he only wanted to deal with me which obviously gave me a confident boost as being new to the industry is a bit nerve wracking. I had been working with the client for almost 6 weeks by sending him properties from my colleagues that matched his requirements and being available to answer all his enquiries. We are still in touch till today, and we have built a solid relationship.


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

Most enjoyable would be the freedom, flexibility of time (It’s not necessarily working shorter hours) but you are not trapped in a 9 to 5 job. The most challenging is iff one is not disciplined and focused in managing your freedom and flexibility of your time, you could end up being discouraged.


What characteristics, in your opinion, make for a great estate agent/broker and why?

A person that is disciplined, has a positive attitude, is self-motivated, a driven/go getter and they must have faith. Selling property is not child’s play and if no one is standing behind you to “manage” you, it is easy to become despondent and that is why you need to believe that things will work out for you.


Please tell us a bit about your best listing currently on your books

It’s a 134sqm duplex in an estate selling for R1,27 million. Web ID: ENV98112 just incase you are curious to have a look. I believe this is a fantastic investment as the area is excellently located and security is guaranteed. It is well priced and the owners are realistic about their expectations and informed on what the property market is doing at the moment.


What is your personal goal to achieve in turnover for the financial year? / What are some of your career goals?

I wanted to achieve R1 million in commission earnings and I would also like to become a motivational speaker as I believe that helping others should be a target for everyone.


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

That it requires a lot of patience.


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

Don’t think success will just happen without your commitment and hard work. You need to love what you are doing.



On the lighter side:


Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?

I am both.


You’ve been given an elephant. You can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do with the elephant?

I will make sure he understands that sitting on cars is not allowed.


A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he here?

Ola Amigo, he is looking for a bachelors flat.



Traveling to Hoedspruit: Living or visiting – the best of both

Traveling to Hoedspruit: Living or visiting – the best of both

Hoedspruit – One of SA’s top property rental towns

If you are traveling to Hoedspruit, whether to live or simply for a holiday it is sure to cater for all. The name Limpopo derives from the Limpopo River. It is South Africa’s wildlife province and is a land of beautiful and contrasting landscapes with plenty game and nature reserves including the northern section of the Kruger National Park. It is a favourite destination for and sought-after by tourists for its big 5 game parks, birding, untamed bush landscapes and harbours an ancient African kingdom located at Mapungubwe National Park. The Great Escarpment with beautiful mountains, forests, rivers and waterfalls lure visitors to the area. Outdoor enthusiasts love to indulge in the activities on offer like abseiling, fishing, and white water rafting as well as hiking. Although most only visit the area when a break is due from the busy city life, many call it home. The spectacular game parks and natural attractions are just as influential to house hunters exploring the real estate market.

Real estate in Limpopo has proven to be as popular with locals as it is with foreigners. This broad area offers property choices from smallholdings to share options, there are also various residential properties, golf estates and security villages on offer. “Hoedspruit is among SA’s top rental towns, achieving highest rentals second to the Western Cape region, this being a remarkable example of rapid expansion in an area with low rental supply. If you are looking to buy an investment property, Hoedspruit will offer you a great return on your investment” states Ryan Forder, Licence Partner of Engel & Völkers Hoedspruit.

Residents and holiday home owners enjoy the quality of life, a life away from the city with the privilege of being in touch with nature. The towns’ amenities range from a local airport its own medical centre, quality food stores, and fine owner run restaurants with an array of both English and Afrikaans medium schools. Hoedspruit has a close knit community where all residents share a common denominator, the love for the untamed bush.


Area overview

Hoedspruit is one of the country’s premier eco-tourist destinations for visitors to the local game lodges and private reserves as well as to the Kruger National Park; it is situated at the foot of the world’s third largest canyon the Blyde River Canyon. Hoedspruit has fast become one of South Africa’s tourism and lifestyle focal points. In terms of property the Lowveld has plenty to offer. Hoedspruit lies in close proximity to game lodges and agricultural farmland. Visitors to this area are bush lovers and return 3-4 times per year to this unique biosphere and game viewing paradise. Hoedspruit is easily reached via a scenic drive from Johannesburg which roughly takes approximately 5 hours.


Average property value

Full title properties within the residential wildlife estates are placed on average around the R2 million margin (3 bedroomed) whilst share block properties within the Big 5 areas are on average between R6-8 million (full share). Large private farmland (over 100ha) within the popular Big 5 wildlife reserves such as Klaserie, Timbavati or Thornybush start from R30 million upwards.


Typical property type

Whilst a fair amount of properties are typical thatched bush lodges, construction companies have embraced a new trend of Chroma deck roofing which gives homes a classy farm-style appearance. Luxury homes are also starting to feature in some of the residential estates with ultra-modern designs of steel and glass.


Estate living

The top selling areas within Hoedspruit are the 2 residential wildlife estates, Raptor’s View Wildlife Estate and Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate. Real Estate in Hoedspruit is unique and each estate offers advantages and a unique lifestyle. If you do not have all the time in the world to explore the various options available to you, you can do a fair amount of research beforehand to single out some of the reserves and wildlife estates which might work for you. Engel & Völkers Hoedspruit can assist you with the individual estates rules and architectural guidelines which need to be considered before heading out to view properties.


Buying a property in and around Hoedspruit

Hoedspruit has seen some phenomenal growth in the property market. The Hoedspruit area saw the first residential wildlife estates being developed which at the time was a revolutionary concept providing for wilderness areas within a residential estate where game could continue to roam freely. Home owners can watch Africa’s iconic species from their patios and live in harmony with the natural environment. Needless to say that the lifestyle draws families and holiday makers alike to this unique area. A good percentage of property owners are foreigners who feature mostly within the second home market but often end up making Hoedspruit their permanent home once retired. For the more exclusive client our portfolio covers a broad spectrum of products that includes game farms, big 5 reserves and selected private and commercial game lodges as well as share block properties. Hoedspruit is also providing excellent investment opportunities for investors seeking to purchase and rent out to the ever-growing, unsaturated rental market.


10 reasons why you should invest in Hoedspruit

  • growing and strengthening micro-economy
  • proven history of capital growth in wildlife properties
  • quality of life
  • security and safety
  • local attractions, such as third largest canyon in the world
  • culturally dynamic
  • excellent schooling
  • farming and export hub
  • subtropical climate, mild winters
  • convenient access via Eastgate Airport


Best time to visit:

All year round due to the warm winters and increased game viewing opportunities when the bush is less dense.


What’s happening:

  • Hoedspruit Farmers Market (where only local produce is sold), 1st Saturday of each month
  • K2C Cycle Tour– an annual 95-kilometre mountain bike fundraising tour from the Kruger National Park to the Blyde River Canyon, passing through various private game reserves on the way in July, hosted by Hoedspruit Rotary Club


Did you know?

  • Most Hoedspruit restaurants source their fresh herbs from Hlokomela, an NGO that does valuable work in Limpopo and Mpumalanga.


Things to do in and around Hoedspruit






Celebrating Women’s Month with the Momentum Proteas

Celebrating Women’s Month with the Momentum Proteas

With Women’s month underway, we take a step back from property and look South Africa in general, as it is after-all our home. And we celebrate the females of the house in celebration of Women’s Month.

The Momentum Proteas Women’s Cricket Team are rising to their strengths internationally and in South Africa. They are rising as role models, national heroes and inspirational sporting champions. They are rising with the launch of the very first television commercial for the Momentum Proteas, which celebrates the sport, the team and every young girl who keeps rising to the challenge.

The commercial follows the story of young girls who all share a love for cricket. We witness their grit and determination to play well and always be better. Their hard work, passion and joy is inspired by, and paralleled to, the Proteas’ training and matchplay. The juxtaposition between the girls and the Proteas team displays the talent, commitment and love for the sport, despite age or gender. It shows both the girls and the Proteas as exceptional talents, who love the game (despite some people saying it’s not for them) and who are always willing to get better, summed up in the #alwaysrising hashtag.

The underlying message of the commercial rings clear – South Africa’s girls can do anything and be anything. The Momentum Proteas are testament to that. The team is proud to represent our country, they are professionals who have the talent, the grit and the determination to win at an international level. They are proud because they are #alwaysrising.

The team is made up of women from all corners of South Africa and from all walks of life – from a grade 11 learner, to a mother of a small child. From a young age each of them was relentless in taking their innate talent for cricket and fostering this potential. Daily discipline and practice honed this skill until it shone through for the country, and now the world, to see.

From a young age, each team member was #alwaysrising. Always rising to meet the challenge and always rising to go beyond it. Always rising to take their talent and their skill beyond the threshold. As the Momentum Proteas, they are #alwaysrising.

Team captain, Dané van Niekerk says, “We know what we’re made of. We have worked really hard to prepare for the World Cup in England and we’re incredibly proud to represent our country and our badge. We want to be able to inspire women and girls of all ages through our work and the manner in which we go about it. As a team, we just want to keep getting better and to make sure that the women’s game in South Africa is always rising.”

The Momentum Proteas Women’s National Cricket team are:

Dané van Niekerk (captain, Eastern Province), Trisha Chetty (wicketkeeper, Gauteng), Moseline Daniels (Boland), Nadine de Klerk (Northerns), Mignon du Preez (Northerns), Shabnim Ismail (Gauteng), Ayabonga Khaka (Border), Marizanne Kapp (Eastern Province), Masabata Klaas (Free State), Lizelle Lee (North West), Suné Luus (Northerns), Raisibe Ntozakhe (Gauteng), Andrie Steyn (Western Province), Chloe Tryon (vice-captain, KwaZulu-Natal), Laura Wolvaardt (Western Province)

Ins and outs of Property Compliance Certificates

Ins and outs of Property Compliance Certificates

When it comes to selling your property, there is more to it than just putting the property on the market and making an effort to spruce it up. Unfortunately, aesthetics aren’t all you have to worry about. If you are selling your home you are going to most certainly need a number of compliance certificates required by law before the sale can go through and be registered. “It is advisable for the seller to ensure that they have all the certificates of compliance in place before putting the property on the market. You can do this after the offer has been signed, however if there is an issue with obtaining any specific certificate, it could potentially delay the sale. The onus falls on the seller to ensure that their house is legally fit for sale”, states Craig Hutchison CEO Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.


According to Property 24 some of these compliance certificates are required under national regulations (e.g. your electrical certificate and your electrical fence certificate) while others are required in terms of municipal by-laws (e.g. Cape Town’s water certificate requirement or a beetle certificate for coastal properties), and some required by institutions such as banks before providing finance, have become standard practice. Without these certificates in place, you run the risk of putting the sale at risk.


Home owners are often caught unaware of the certificates of compliance that are required when selling a house, and are consequently shocked by the associated costs which they did not budget for. Each certificate will cost approximately R450.00 ex VAT, provided that there is nothing wrong. However without these certificates you’ll be held financially responsible for any incidents that occur once the new owners have taken moved in. The new regulations might have made the sale of a property a bit more complicated but it enables the buyers, the assurance that the property is in good condition and has no hidden defects or costs when it comes to plumbing, electrical, gas or even beetle infestation.


The most common certificates are:




This certificate must be issued by a qualified and registered electrician and includes a report as well as confirmation that all electrical installations on the property comply with the prescribed standards of safety.



Certification that the water installation on the property is in line with municipal and

building guidelines. This certificate must be issued by a registered and qualified plumber.



A gas certificate will ensures that any gas installation on the property complies with the Occupational Health & Safety Act. This is of course, only required if any gas is installed on the property.



The beetle certificate will confirm that the wood structures on the property are free from certain beetles that eat and destroy wood. This certificate is not provided because of any legislation, but it is a practise that has developed over the years and has become firmly embedded in property transactions. Certain areas, particular those in circulation in the coastal provinces (Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal) continue to require a beetle certificate before transfer, given that these are the regions in which these beetles are most prevalent.



An electric fence certificate will declare that the electric fence installation complies with the Occupational Health & Safety Act. The seller and purchaser can agree to waive the requirement to supply this certificate on full title properties. A new certificate only needs to be obtained if a change was made to the electric fence installation after the original certificate was issued.


10 Questions to ask your Real Estate Agent before buying a home

10 Questions to ask your Real Estate Agent before buying a home

Property still remains your best investment, and the benefits of owning a home are well worth the effort. Although this might seem like a lengthy and complicated process, your real estate agent is there to assist you with each step. Find an experienced agent who can help guide you through the process.


First – one should know what you want. “Do your homework first” said Craig Hutchison, CEO of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa. Numerous estate agencies have open houses in various areas every weekend, and some even during the week. This will help you to judge the size that suits your needs and will help give good insight into your choice of area. Think about accessibility to work, public transport, schooling and other amenities. “Remember location is of great importance, especially to secure your investment for the future, and in fact will also have an effect on your loan approval” Craig continued.


Another big must is to sit down, and draw up a list of what is most important to you in a property. It’s OK to be picky, but don’t be unrealistic with your expectations. Small renovations can usually address any concerns that you may have with a property.  Use your list of priorities as a guide to evaluate each property. Think long term. Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in this home for a longer period? This decision may dictate what type of home you’ll buy as well as the type of mortgage terms that will best suit you. Accept that no house is ever perfect. If it’s in the right location, the yard may be a bit smaller than you had hoped. The kitchen may be perfect, but the roof needs repairing. Make a list of your top priorities and focus in on things that are most important to you. Let the minor ones go. Remember your home doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Don’t get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself — room size, kitchen, etc. — that you forget about important issues as noise level, location to amenities, and other aspects that also have a big impact on your quality of life.


Once you have done your homework and decided on what you want, there are some questions you need to ask your agent that may help give some good insight into your various choices available. “When working with a reputable real estate agency, your agent will be trained and qualified to provide you with all the information and answers you need beforehand, to be able to make that very important decision- to buy or not to buy”. Agents are legally bound to tell the truth, so it pays to ask a handful of questions to find out what the real situation is, which will make you feel more confident that you’re making the right choice on the right house.


  1. Who are you dealing with?

Find a real estate agent who you connect with. Home buying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s critical that the agent you chose is both highly skilled and a good fit with your personality. Enquire about their qualifications – designations such as a valid fidelity fund certificate with the EAAB. Qualified agents have gone through numerous years of training and are in a better position to advise you on all aspects of the sale, as well as to ensure you have the best possible negotiator and expertise in your corner.


  1. What financial obligation am I looking at?

Review your credit report and be sure you have enough money to cover your down payment and closing costs. Then, talk to a lender or mortgage originator and get prequalified for a mortgage. This will save you the heartache later of falling in love with a house you can’t afford; it will also be an indication to the seller that you are a serious buyer. Generally, you can afford a home equal in value to between two and three times your gross income. Ask your agent to help you with bond calculations and the monthly instalments as well as advise you on the deposit you will need. Ideally, you should have 20% of the purchase price saved as a down payment.  Also, don’t forget to factor in closing costs, ask the agent for the closing costs including taxes, attorney’s fee, and transfer fees. Lastly remember to ask what the average monthly utility bills are. Inquire about electricity, water, waste removal, levies and any other utility costs that are applicable.


  1. Why is the owner selling & how long has the property been on the market?

Although the agent is not obliged to answer this question in detail, you will be given a hint to the circumstances of the owners. Perhaps the owner is selling due to personal circumstances, or it could be that there is something wrong with the property itself. If someone has passed away in the property, an agent is legally bound to disclose these types of reasons. By asking how long the house has been on the market you will also be able to gain some insight into whether there are any big problems that other people have realised that you haven’t or whether it is overpriced.


  1. How did the agent decide on an asking price? / How much is the home worth?

A professional agent will provide you with their justifications for the asking price. They should arm you with plenty of comparable stats and facts — prices of similar nearby homes that have been sold recently, how long homes are staying on the market as well as the current market situation. You should have a good idea what properties in the area sell for. Your agent will assist you with this information and advise you correctly to ensure you make the right choice.


  1. What offers have they had so far?

The agent will tell you if there have been other offers, but not the amounts of the offers. The agent is obligated and incentivised to get the best possible price for the seller.


  1. Exactly what is included in the sale?

Make sure you know exactly what fixtures and fittings are included in the sale of the home. There might be some items which really grabbed your attention, such as a home theatre setup, but only once you move in do you notice that the actual equipment have been removed, which could make you regret your purchase as it the chances are that it was one of the big emotional connections you had with the property. On the other hand, it could also help you to make your decision. If you were weighing up two properties, however the one includes all the custom blinds and curtains, it could possibly make it a bit more appealing than the other which is a blank canvass.


  1. What can they tell you about the local neighbourhood?

Ask about the location of the home. Homes in desirable areas are worth more than homes in locations not so desirable. What’s the school district like? – This is especially important if you have children, but it also can affect resale value. Where are the nearest shops? Are there nuisance factors? Traffic from nearby roads or stores may be an irritant. Think about accessibility to work and is it economically stable? – Check with your local property sales advisor to see if household income and property values in the neighbourhood are stable or rising. Is it a good investment? – Ask a local sales advisor about price appreciation in the neighbourhood. While it is a good idea to see what the agent has to say, make sure you do some independent research as well. Remember location is of great importance, especially to secure your investment for the future.


  1. Is there a problem with this house or the house condition you should know about?

The big fear if you are buying is that you are missing out some big negative factor that others know about. A nearby sewerage plant opening up, a new highway being planned on your boundary fence or previous water damage that could cause foundation problems. Ask if there are any drainage issues on the property that could later cause damp issues as well as problems with sink holes. If you have any doubts about a house, ask surrounding neighbours what they think. If you know in advance that the home has structural issues or deferred maintenance, you might want to take those problems into consideration before deciding on the offer price. Some agents recommend a home inspection before putting the home on the market, if one has been done, ask to see it. The general condition of the house is also an important pricing factor. Information concerning things that need to be done in or around the home must be taken into consideration when making an offer.


  1. Have any major works been conducted / has the sellers made any major renovations or additions?

If so, are you able to have a look at the relevant plans of these renovations or additions? It would be awful if you bought your dream home only to find out you would have to knock half of it down. In general, this will give you a ballpark notion of how much money they’ve invested into the home and what they hope to get out.


  1. Influencing factors

You have the right to ask the agent about the crime in the area, what type of incidents have taken place and whether there are security providers in the area, and if the property is in a boomed off area ask whether there are any monthly contributions that need to be made for the security.

Find out whether there are any problems with the neighbours – inquire about issues such as past /on-going disputes and the neighbourhood. If you are really unsure, ask if you could meet the neighbours, this will give you an indication if you will be compatible and they might disclose other facts of the neighbourhood that you would like to know. Ask them how long have they lived in the neighbourhood and what do they like best and least about living there? Do all the neighbours get along with each other? Have they ever noticed anything odd about their house or yours? How quiet is the neighbourhood?


One often forgotten, however critically important item is pets. If you are moving into an estate or a complex remember to ask the agent for the rules regarding pets. What types of pets and how many are allowed? Do they need to be chipped and do you need to verify them with the body corporate? You can also speak casually to potential neighbours to see if they are pet-friendly.


Accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will probably pass. Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big financial commitment. But it also yields big benefits. Don’t lose sight of why you wanted to buy a home and what made you fall in love with the property you purchased. Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation. After all, a home’s most important role is to serve as a comfortable, safe place to live.