Ask your Listing Agent this…

The process of selling your property is a complex one and not everyone does it many times over and has the experience to do it without making mistakes along the way.

The first step is to engage an Agent from a reputable agency that specialises in your area.

Too often an Agent is engaged by a Seller without doing the necessary research. The correct pricing is critical to the successful outcome. It is so obvious that an Agent that has not done a good few sales in an area can never be deemed to be an “area specialist”.

A starting point in the relationship between a Seller and the Agent is to sit down and discuss the Value Proposition that the Agent will bring to process. Don’t shy away from asking the hard questions like “how many sales have you done in the area” and “how many other Listings do you have in the area”.

Remember this is business transaction and not a friend or family nicety. Emotions cost money. Take note of the professional side of the Agent. The Buyer certainly will.

Establish from the outset what you expect from the Agent in terms of communication. Many Agents are notoriously poor at giving continuous feedback on interested Buyers as well as factors that from time to time may affect the sales process.

Decide whether you want to work with just one Agent, in which case it is a Sole Mandate, or an Open Mandate that allows many Agents to sell the property.

Be aware that the goal is to get Buyers to compete for your property and not Agents. A Sole Mandate takes care of that issue. Complete the necessary paperwork that goes with giving a mandate to sell your property. Remember to disclose all the facts around the ownership. Many a deal has collapsed at the last minute through an Agent not knowing those details. Issues like in-community marriage, Trusts and Company ownerships can be more complicated. As are the VAT and Capital gains taxes that sometimes need to be dealt with.

Approved plans are a must almost every single time. Sellers and Banks need them . The Title Deed is also an important document. Get them sorted out in the early stages.

An ABSOLUTE pre-requisite to doing the listing by an Agent is to have a Sellers Declaration completed and signed. If your Agent doesn’t present you with this, they are in default of the Property act. Remember also that a Sole Mandate has to have a defined end date.

Now come the real issues that I would ask the Agent for if it isn’t supplied…

*Copy of their valid FFC

*Marketing plan

*Attorneys preferred

*Marketing tools to be used. Drone, video and signage, photo’s, show-house days, etc.

Start the preparation of moving timeously. Many Sellers find themselves in a quandry if the Sale happens quickly.

Finally, remember it takes a partnership to make the deal happen and communication is a critical aspect in the process. Don’t neglect it.

The Grand Old lady still delivers

A day filled with drama, nostalgia and Old World charm was just so fullfilling as we travelled into Durban to watch the rugby. Yes we won but played poorly. The less said the better.

Fortunately the rugby was really a bi-product and definately not the highlight of our time.

Sometimes, as we meander through life, we tend to look past so many moments to stop and take things in. We overlook what really matters.

A friend, who is in the hotel game, convinced and facilitated that we stayed over in Durban instead of driving back late at night. The booking was made at The Royal in the city centre. No doubt many will remember it. In its time it was a special place. Right across the road from a the magnificent City Hall. They don’t build places like that anymore.

And so we arrived, checked in and immediately went for lunch in the dining area. Instantly, I had this overwhelming feeling of being in another time.

The one wall had pictures of the Late Queen and a letter from Buckingham Palace. The high ceilings with the original stained-glass windows were a delight to see again. The modern world has forgotten these things. I kept wondering about how many banquets would have been held here and the special people that will have stayed in the Grand old Lady.

And then we went up to our room…and oh my word. Having stayed all over the world in top hotels with wonderful views, even I found it breath-taking to say the least. Overlooking the Durban Yacht clubs and harbour area, it is majestic to say the least. It was such an amazing sight that I suggested to Estelle that we stay and watch the rugby on television rather. Not to be though. Her mind was on the Springboks winning.

A short Uber ride saw us arrive at another place steeped in history. Kings Park rugby stadium. Another iconic place in world rugby and a ground that has seen epic battles over years and years. All the Greatest players have run out of that tunnel. Our season tickets are just above it right on the halfway line. Let me not digress to the rugby itself though.

To see it filled to the brim and to witness the “togetherness” of so many as the anthem was sung was truly awesome. I too have stood in front of a ground in the world before a game and sung our anthem. It is not something any player from in any in any sport takes lightly. It touches your soul really. And for the thousands there in the ground, it did the same. Somehow, therein lies our saving grace for our country I believe. The intangible spirit of wanting belived South Africa and its people to be one. We have reached that space I do believe…again, I digress.

The game finished and off we walked to the third place to have supper with friends. Another iconic landmark of Durban. The Durban Country Club. Also steeped in history and beautiful. It exudes that feeling of Old World charm but somehow has just enough of our modern times scattered about to make it worth visiting there. Again, the Greats of the golf world know it and have all spoken of that special third hole. Of course the prince of Wales hole reminds one of why it’s carries the word Royal too.

Back to our room it was and to have coffee together seeing the lights of the ships and the harbour with the smell of the ocean wafting through the open windows.

These places are truly something. There are many of them around our country. Somehow as a people we need to keep them alive for the next generation. And the people that take care of them usually understand that. The Manager of the Royal Hotel, Allen, is one such man. He understands his role and is deeply committed. I love that…

It’s time for Royal breakfast and a meander home to our beloved South Coast. Home is where the heart is you know.

A Monarch like no other departs

What a day it was as the world watched the end of the reign of Queen Elizabeth…

The dramatic and sombre scenes that played out on our televisions gave us so much detail. Never in history has so much been shared to so many.

For those who lined the streets and saw first-hand the passing parade, it would have a time to cherish and to realise that they have a been part of something that history will record for the ages.

Not everyone around the globe are Royalists. Many are here in our own country, as they are all over the world. My opinion on that is quite simple. Each to his own thinking and opinion.

For those who are Royalists it was a sad occasion. The Queen symbolised so much to them.

Everyone who watched will no doubt have taken away something.

Some will remember the finest detail. Even down to the exact time of where they were, where they saw and watched and even what they wore on this day. Many cried. Others sat in awe of the moment. I know I definitely did.

For those fortunate enough to have travelled to Britain and to have been to the Great places like Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Westminster Abbey, Wellington Arch, Hyde Park, the Mall and not to forget that Royal Mile in Edinburgh that leads down Holyrood and the Queens Castle, Balmoral, it conjurs up wonderful memories and even a yearning to return just one more time.

My own life growing in that dusty mining town of Kimberley saw my english-speaking grandparents and parents pass on their history and memories of the dynasty. We grew up knowing more than most of what it was all about. In those times Kimberley was very English and the for likes of Rhodes, Barnato and many other mining magnets, it was their playground whey they made their fortunes. And lost them too. Certainly my grandmother, who was born in 1910, was steeped in the English tradition. She collected and kept memorabilia of Royal occasions. They were passed onto me and are kept diligently in my collection.

Today was that kind of time when I delved into some of the books and magazines. A few photo’s are attached.

The prompt to me to have that feeling of wanting to record my own thoughts on the day were strong ones. Clearly because it is a way of remembering it as I saw it. Each one will have his own thoughts.

Today was another day of load-shedding in the extreme. A frustrating day. Making phone calls, connecting to the internet and doing any business was hard work. Our country is currently wracked with so many issues. In fact too many to even begin to note them all down.

And here I was watching this split-second timing event that displayed clearly a tradition and a value system that has survived for hundreds of years and that will continue long after those who don’t see it for what is.

Our own President was there. As were many from around the world. And I have no doubt, that as they sat quietly watching it all play out, it will have imprinted in their minds what the power of great leadership is all about and how much value there is in doings things properly.

The closing time in the great St Georges Chapel with the King standing there while the new anthem was sung was a poignant moment for me. I thought I could see on his face the enormity of what he now needs to embrace for the rest of his time. And knowing he too will be buried in the same way. Like his father, grandmother and many even before them.

I felt that his face showed his deep sorrow and the tiredness of the last days he has had to endure. The stresses of his own family issues, from Camilla to his own boys must have also added enormous stress.

Never mind the loss of his mother.

The planning of the Queens funeral was done some time ago and with her own input into it. Charles would have been a part of that and would have known every detail. Imagine that.

The Commonwealth traditions and the Royal family find themselves caught up in an ever-changing modern world with demands that the family have never seen before.

Largely due to the media that leaves them no place to hide. Unlike the years bygone. The pressure is now immense. Not all of them will be able to deal with it adequately.

Charles heads up that problem from now on. Just as his mother did for a long, long time. Through wars, family break-ups and scandals.

However, one last takeaway point is that whether you like them or not, they are enduring and understand their role of selflessly serving others, no matter who they may be.

Something I wish we had going for us here in the tip of Africa…

Leopards and Crooks

Punda Maria, Crooks Corner, Pafuri…somehow before yesterday they conjured up thoughts of being places somewhere on a Kruger Park map too far to get to and just “somewhere up there”…

And then it all happened.

Reality finally dawned and we are here camping blissfully under a tree in “Punda” as they call it. With its famous waterhole that keeps delivering wave after wave of buffalo and elephants. Herds of massive proportions. Imagine over 120 scary-looking and cantankerous beasts with curled horns and beady eyes drinking together at their local pub. Nobody moves. Except the lonely resident duck that seems unphased and sees it every day.

Our drive up to Crooks corner was possibly the best we have had in our time of watching, seeing and experiencing wildlife in many places. The Kloppersfontein dam area delivered elephants swimming in the cool water. The temperature outside was 36 deg. And that in August. Imagine what December must be like. It’s definately not for us who hail from the South Coast and who treasure the ocean-style life in the festive season.

Alas, let me not digress for too long…the trip to Crooks corner needs more.

A stop in at the Pafuri picnic area is such a treat. Meeting Mandla there, who by the way is a bird fundi, and who also knows his sport. A few minutes into our chat he couldn’t hide his excitement of having met Nick Mallet last week who also passed by his workplace. A wonderful guy who embraces visitors and knows the value of being surrounded by trees that often host the holy grail of many birding fanatics, the elusive Pels Fishing owl. To have seen one is akin to having recorded a hole-in-one. Thank goodness I have both. My dearest Lady is always at hand to remind me of her Pels sighting on a Kruger walk she undertook some time back. Just imagine for a moment the anguish if I had never seen one.

Damn, I digress again…

And now for the special sighting…

A Leopard and her cub. Quietly perched halfway up a small knoll just fifteen metres from our vehicle as we rounded a corner close to the picnic site. The kill, an adult impala, was hanging in the tree just a few metres away from them. How it was hoisted is beyond belief really. The power in her to do it is something special. We sat and watched them in awe. They are simply the most spectacular cats. Perfectly made in every way. Their balance, poise and grace takes ones breath away really. Those who have seen it first-hand will comprehend.

Up here at the top of Kruger it isn’t crowded. There aren’t hordes of vehicles at every sighting and the dreaded Game-drive vehicles are

more rare than a Lion sighting. If only the whole Park was like that.

On we drove to Crooks Corner. Along the river filled with crocodile, a few Hippo and with giant trees that teemed with birds of all kinds. A memorable meander if ever there was one. Not to mention the Elephants crossing back and forth along the winding road and causing us to constantly be aware of getting too close. Especially those with little ones.

Crooks Corner is what it is. The corner of South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. It is so named because in past times people of bad repute could hasten there and jump from country to country to escape justice. Mind you, crossing that river with the many crocs in wait, I would have to be pretty desperate. And stupid too.

The vista at Crooks Corner is amazing. It overlooks the wide river and we did the right thing by legally getting out of our vehicle and taking the customary pictures. No doubt the crooks in their time would not have done that.

The drive back “home” to Punda was filled with much chatter between us over what magnificent memories we had made. We resolved to return one day as soon as time would allow.

The day ended with Estelle making a special treat for dinner in the Kruger. Prawns for supper and washed down with a fine Red in front of a little fire.

As the flames danced and the night once again was filled with hyena calls, we dragged ourselves to bed. Exhausted…


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