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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Make the Effort-it’s worth it!

The exhilaration of leaving to go somewhere out of your normal everyday space somehow seems to excite us all. For some it’s a regular happening but for many it’s a feeling that comes around far too seldom.

Nowadays so much pressure exists to keep the wheels of survival in motion. The daily grind of work and home and then catching up on weekends with chores means life itself loses that feeling of great excitement. Whether you work for a boss or you own your own business, society has quickened its pace. Time seems to fly by and Christmas times roll around before you look.

Many of us tend to dream about days of just doing very little. I don’t fit in that space. For me it’s about doing what I feel like doing. This seems to fit me in a more appropriate way. For example, I can fish all day. And fishing all day can be hard work. Sitting at a waterhole somewhere deep in the bush for five hours can also be hard work. But if it’s what you want and feel like doing, it becomes a pleasure.

We live at the beach. A pitching wedge away in fact. Yet, getting onto the beach regularly seems a chore. It’s right there in front of us. We see it every morning and night. It has become just another place. However, once we make the effort after a day in the office to get there, somehow, we remember that it is a special place and one we should visit more often. I guess many who live far away from the ocean get the same feeling when they do the annual trek to the coast or perhaps a weekend break over a long weekend. The drive through traffic and the constant dodging of trucks and potholes can be a mental block. But, once there, it all seems so worth it.

Our annual trip to the magnificent Kgalagadi is the same. Almost 17 hours drive and a whole heap of stops along the way can make it an easy decision to go elsewhere. Somewhere closer and with less hassle. But once we arrive there it always seems as if we have conquered the negativity and settle in very quickly. There is a way to deal with this negative mindset and that is to see the start of the trip to your destination as the beginning of the adventure and not just a journey to get there. Have fun along the way. Stop in at interesting places, take time at the various stops to fill up and research the areas as you go through them. It makes the holiday so much longer. In our case, four days of travel to the Kgalagadi has actually become a great time to see and buy things we never get the opportunity to do. Biltong always seems right on top of the list. Also, it’s supports local and that’s something we treasure in our own business.

The Flower Child

Sunset on the Road

#OurTravelTip…
Always keep your camera in the car and close by…the raptors that sit on telephone poles provide a great opportunity if you are able to maximise them.

Finally we arrive…

Another day of travel and loads of biltong along the way was the order of the day.

Our route out of Kimberley was via Douglas, Groblershoop, Upington, Ashkam and then into the Kgalagadi.

A mandatory stop to buy some Northern Cape biltong ensured we guzzled drinks all day to quench a continuous thirst!

A quick toilet stop in Upington and then onto Ashkam. This little one-road town has a damn fine quaint shop that sells all kinds of touristy-type foods and goods. Lovely home-made rusks were first on the list. I couldn’t help but buy an old-fashioned coffee mug. The enamel type. Ideal for coffee in the bush.

The windy road onto the Kgalagadi saw us falling in love with the beautiful social weaver nests on the telephone poles and the stunning red soil caused by the high oxide content in the soil. This is proper Kalahari country. Flat and boring yet interesting in another way. Farming here requires special reserves. Mentally it must be tough. Far from the hum-drum of a town and its offerings. Imagine the days when no Television existed! No wonder they had huge families in these parts.

Our arrival at Kgalagadi was none to soon. An airconditioned unit was just perfect. As was the little camp restaurant where we could eat together with sister Caren and Pete as well as niece Nicole and Ruan. 

Estelle jumped all over the oxtail and naturally I toiled my way through a cold Castle.

The little villa is perfect, the bed will be even better tonight after the trek of 17 hours of driving to get here. 

Tomorrow will see us head out early as the dawn breaks. The full moon tonight as always reminds me of home. Nothing beats seeing it rising up over the Indian ocean. 

Night night…

Stop Go Stop Go…Flowers Galore.

After setting off as early as the kettle would boil and the hairdryer finished its work, the thrill of the car fully-packed and cruising down the road towards Durban to only return in some two weeks’ time was a special feeling.

The chatter in the car was all about being so excited to be able to do this together but how sad it felt to leave our little fur-kids at home. That was soon forgotten when the usual “did you pack that…” comment was bandied about. We decided to leave it right there and enjoy the ride…

Our first stop was Kimberley. Just a gentle 8 hour ride. That turned out to be almost 11 hours! Why you may wonder. Well stopping 7 times on the way doesn’t speed up the journey. Especially when I am not the best picture-taker on a Samsung.

Stop one was at the Steers just outside Pietermaritzburg. Who can resist a Steers burger and chips when on holiday? Not us!

Stop two was to capture the beautiful sunflowers in blossom close to Harrismith. Then it went downhill from there. Three stops to take pics of the Cosmos in full bloom. Of course some of the pics never quite came out as Estelle would have liked so the second and third stops were non-negotiable.

The next stop (number 6) was to top up with fuel and to drop in at a Game store to buy a bean bag for using as a pillow for a camera in Kgalagadi. Of course they wouldn’t have one but we tried at least. (I should say Estelle did whilst I played car guard). Being in our branded RE/MAX vehicle, a lovely Lady pulled up and said, “my dogter werk vir RE/MAX in Centurion…ek Like julle” and off she drove. How nice.

Oh my word… I have just remembered another stop we had in between the ones above. It was to buy biltong. Peach jam and ice cold drinks were added too. Lifesavers after the chilli biltong I might add!

The next stop was good ol’ Kimberley town. My home town and one that whose appearance has gone backwards dramatically. Straight to The Half was the order and no sparing the horses I think was what Estelle was thinking.

Arriving there and checking in was a breeze and thanks to a dear friend Brian Doherty the Spiced Gold and coke had loads of ice and was just perfect. How nice to catch up on the town “skinner”. Nothing seems to change in the place. Except of course the magnificent new wing that has been added to The Half. It really is a place to see and experience. What a beautiful pool setting around the rooms.

Karoo Lamb chops for two were ordered and the taste of “proper meat” was so good.

A long first day behind us and the prospect of another awaits us… its goodnight from Kimberley town.

 

Kgalagadi here we come…

After weeks of planning a trip to the distant place far from the greenery of Kwa-Zulu Natal, the morning has finally arrived.

The last minute rush to get the meat frozen, the food bought and packed into containers, water, wine and of course juice for Estelle has demanded that we are organised to the enth degree.

Leaving our office for 2 full weeks seems a huge thing to do. Estelle suddenly had  a flurry of buyers calling her over the last few days and getting them sorted created an immense amount of stress for her. Coupled to that is making sure all things are in place at home. Our Happininess has cash, our furkids have food and keys are left with friends are just a few of the important issues to remember.

I packed the car last evening and was so grateful when the borrowed mobile freezer kicked in and immediately dropped to a minus degree. The amount of meat we are taking with seems enough to feed an army. Braai’s will be had morning and evening I reckon.

Our route is to Kimberley tonight where will overnight and then up towards Upington tomorrow and into the deep Kalahari and the beautiful Kgalagadi Park. We then meet up with 4 other family members to have an absolute relaxing time.

The coffee flask is ready, the Sante Fe is packed to the hilt and we’re ready to roll…

Until later…

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