< 1 min read We are very excited to announce that with the completion of the Radisson Blu Hotel, the new Oceans Hotel Residences are being launched to market. In this webinar we bring together the development and sales team of the Oceans Hotel Residences.
2 min read The realisation that you’re under insured for your home contents usually happens too late. Often, it’s during the claims stage when you need to replace an item (or many items) and the insurance pay out isn’t quite as much as you thought it would be. It’s easy to get angry, but the truth is that this is within your control. After all, insurers only know what you tell them.
2 min read Few will dispute that buying a home is an emotional time. It’s near impossible not to get caught up in the excitement of it all, which understandably has you racing through the mountain of paperwork, just to get those keys in your hands as soon as possible.
3 min read It’s a good time to sell because people are feeling bullish about taking on a home loan. ‘The favourable lending conditions have encouraged more first-home buyers to enter the market, accounting for 60% of BetterBond applications for the 12 months ending September 2021.
3 min read Studies have shown that moving house can be one of the most stressful things you can ever do – moving to another country with furniture, family and pets in tow will surely add to the stress. Few of us take stock of our mental state during such a time.
3 min read Emigration is, unfortunately, something that many South Africans are considering at present. There is a myriad of reasons why many leave South Africa, but many blame the crime, lack of safety and rolling blackouts for feeling the need to seek pastures new.
3 min read Plettenberg Bay rates right up there with the most sought-after property markets along the Atlantic Seaboard and in Gauteng. Its property market is booming, with high demand for houses and semigration driving the increases. Record sales have been recorded since the lifting of the Covid-19 lockdown in June last year.
3 min read Qualified accountant Jan Scannell sizzled onto the scene as ‘Jan Braai’ in 2005, when he quit his job in financial services to take on a high-profile media career. Having published books and presented TV shows, Jan says his ambition will always be bringing Mzansi citizens together over a braai.
3 min read It’s a great achievement to be close to paying off your home loan. For many, this type of credit takes the better part of around 20 years to pay off. So once the last payment is due, there’s good reason to just clear it off and cancel the loan agreement.
3 min read In the past, banks required you to physically reside in the country where you wanted to open an account, but that’s no longer always a requirement.
3 min read South Africa needs to build 2.1 million homes in the next five years if the government is to meet its own target of providing affordable housing for 12.5 million citizens by 2030. The monumental task has been made worse by the pandemic, which has plunged even more people into poverty and pushed up the cost of conventional building materials like bricks and cement exponentially.
3 min read When our homes get damaged or burgled it’s often assumed that most insurance claims be approved and paid. But not all claims are upheld, and many homeowners are left out of pocket after realising too late that the bill worth thousands of rands is one for them to cover.
3 min read There are around 12,000 South African students studying abroad and that number is steadily rising. This, says admission consulting company Crimson Education, is despite the complexities of applying abroad.
3 min read Food waste, if not composted, is one of the worst contributors to greenhouse gases, as it decomposes into methane. So Tokyo University’s new research into using food waste to make cement offers an innovative way to sequester all that carbon, and – perhaps – create some tasty buildings.
4 min read The tiny tropical island of Rodrigues lies some 560 kilometres to the northeast of its big sister, Mauritius. A rugged volcanic outcrop, with a mountainous central ridge and deep valleys and ravines, it is surrounded by coral reefs, which enclose a wide, shallow lagoon twice its size. Draped in the turquoise water is a necklace of 17 tiny islets, overgrown with rare flora and inhabited by endangered sea birds. In short, Rodrigues is a nature-lover’s paradise.
4 min read If you live – or are planning a development – in one of the drier parts of the country, you are faced with some serious gardening and landscaping challenges. But you’re not the first person to have to deal with little or no water and hot, dry winds that shrivel up every little hopeful green shoot. Many landscapers have very successfully created dramatic xeriscapes of intriguing hard elements and extremely hardy plants.
3 min read Researchers in Sweden have succeeded in making a sustainable, renewable transparent wood that is strong enough to use as a structural element. It will be a while before it is widely available, but it has the potential to profoundly affect the construction industry.
4 min read A picture perfect tropical island with crystal-clear turquoise waters lapping golden beaches, Mauritius ticks all the boxes for a beach and watersports holiday. The snorkelling is fantastic, but to really appreciate life beneath the shimmering ocean surface, you need to scuba dive.
3 min read The inaugural Running down the Fences event is a great opportunity for runners (and even non-runners) from your estate to spend some quality time on a fabulous malaria-free game reserve. So, get out your running shoes and put together a team from your estate to ‘run down the fences’ between Addo and the Great Fish River.
5 min read Think Mauritius and the images that spring to mind are probably of lazing on white sand beaches, swimming in the turquoise waters of the shallow lagoon, and sipping cocktails while watching spectacular sunsets. But there are plenty of active adventures in this tropical paradise.
3 min read One of the biggest selling points of residential estates is that they are removed from the stresses of the ‘world beyond the wall’. So we need to guard carefully against conflict arising within our communities – and we need to deal creatively with any tensions between residents, and between residents and management.
2 min read The various things that we’ve all said about Eskom (especially after bashing our shins in the dark) are not printable. Let’s face it. We are all – well – tired of what has become an asymmetrical relationship in which one side fails to deliver on promises. But we feel that we’re stuck in what is becoming an increasingly toxic relationship. So it is with great interest that we anticipate the City of Durban’s imminent divorce from the power (non-) provider.
4 min read Nobody is perfect, and no system is perfect, so we just have to do the best we can, and hope that it is good enough. But how good is ‘good enough’? Or how bad do things have to be before they are not ‘good enough’? And is this culture of ‘good enough’ wise? It’s certainly expedient but, if we trawl through the news headlines, we can find many instances of when ‘good enough’ was not good enough.
< 1 min read Last year we wrote about an interesting UK-based startup that had designed a system to store electricity by raising heavy weights during low demand (or bright sunshine), and releasing them into mineshafts when needed. Seemed like a great idea – and now they are crowdfunding to build a prototype.
4 min read If you’re going to Mauritius for the golf (and you’d be surprised how many people do), you will not be disappointed. With 10 18-hole courses and two nine-hole courses, you could – almost – play a different course every day for two weeks. And there are a few in the pipeline. All the courses offer lessons, and most have excellent practice facilities.
3 min read It’s hard to predict what property prices will do in 2022, given the uncertainty we’ve seen over the last year thanks to the pandemic. But we’ve asked several experts to gaze into their crystal balls and give us the lowdown on what we can expect the market to look like next year.
3 min read Despite – or, more to the point, because of – the massive disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, South Africans continue to invest in residential investment properties overseas. With the prospect of a booming economy and the promise of citizenship, the United States is becoming one of the most sought-after destinations.
3 min read Whether you’re planning on moving to Mauritius, or just taking a well-earned break on this lovely island, you definitely will not want to leave your golf clubs behind. There’s more to this idyllic tropical paradise than pretty beaches, warm, crystal-clear water and coconut palms.
3 min read Gardens serve many purposes – decoration, food production, and even status symbols. But gardens can be so much more. Depending on what – and how – you plant, your garden can increase or decrease your risk of fire (and many other things, but let’s stick with fire).
4 min read We are all familiar with the sweets and snacks in the checkout queues of supermarkets. And we have all carefully averted our eyes from them, or – somewhat more difficult – tried to distract our children from them. This is just one – and possibly the most graphic – example of how we as humans (and especially as consumers) are nudged into ‘desirable’ decisions daily. But who decides what is ‘desirable’?
5 min read Once the preserve of nerds, geeks and nebbishes, chess has had a bit of an image makeover since the release of The Queen’s Gambit. And to be honest, so have geeks and nerds. It is cool to be smart, and chess is definitely for smart people. So perhaps it’s a smart idea to start a chess club on an estate.
3 min read With interest rates the lowest they’ve been in 50 years, there’s never been a better time to get onto the property ladder. In March, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) kept the repo rate at a record low 3.5%. They are likely to maintain it at this rate for most of 2021, which means homeowners are unlikely to see any increases in their mortgage repayments this year.
3 min read As low-lying coastal homes are threatened by rising sea levels and extreme weather events, some landowners and governments are proposing proactive action. While others, of course, bury their heads in the sand, hoping against all logic to defy the tides in an ironic twist of the story of King Canute.
4 min read What is the lesson we take home as we count the cost, and to try to reconstruct, after this last in a series of devastating fires? We need to think – not just about how we deal with the aftermath, or even how we deal with the actual fires – but how we prevent them from happening again. And, for those of us responsible for large tracts of land, like estates, it’s not just an academic exercise.
3 min read The Maldives has recently announced plans to kickstart their 3V programme, allowing foreigners to visit, vaccinate and vacation on the small archipelago. Despite having a relatively firm grip on the spread of COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic (they boast a recovery rate of more than 90% and a mortality rate of 0.3%), the local economy has taken a battering, and the unemployment rate is the highest on record.
5 min read From Transkei to Alaska, round houses have been the norm for centuries – more probably millennia. In fact, it was only with the (in some case quite strong) encouragement of missionaries that Christian converts started to build ‘civilised’ square houses in southern Africa. But, while in some places and societies the stigma of ‘primitiveness’ is still associated with round houses, many forward-thinking architects and planners in all parts of the world are rediscovering the advantages of circular dwellings, and have been for decades.
3 min read We are all tired of restrictions, and many of us are aching to attend football matches, mega-church services or raves, and we all want the tourism industry to recover – both so that our economy can recover, and so that we can head off somewhere exotic to destress. We long for ‘normality’. So we are lining up for vaccinations and hoping that they (and the proof thereof) will fix the world and bring everything back to the way it was. But is a vaccine – and a ‘vaccine passport’ – the panacea it’s made out to be, or will it prove to be a two-edged sword with some unexpected consequences?
4 min read We’ve always known that the popular Section 12J had an expiry date, but we assumed (hoped) it would be extended. Well, it won’t be. So, if you want to take advantage of it, you had better move very, very fast to get in before the 30 June cut-off. But it’s not all bad news. While 12J is on the way out, Lucky 13sex is still around.
7 min read Most of us work because we have to, not because we want to. But New Work, as defined by Frithjof Bergmann, is work that we do because we want to – because it enriches our lives, not just our bank balances. Until recently, it’s only been artists, hippies and new-age hunter-gatherers who have managed to step off the conspicuous consumption–conspicuous busyness roller coaster, and just live. But, with new technology and an open mind, this option is open to more of us. Maybe it will, one day soon, become the new normal.
3 min read While many people choose to live in lifestyle estates for the serene surroundings and country feel, they still need to be close to the city – to work, shop, access professional services, or frequently travel to and from the airport. This is particularly true for young working professionals and parents of schoolgoing kids who have to add a soccer-mom-taxi element to an already hectic commute schedule.
4 min read When wildfires swept through the hills near Santa Cruz, California, in 2020, they released toxic chemicals into the water supplies of at least two communities. One sample found benzene, a carcinogen, at 40 times the state’s drinking water standard.
2 min read Since the outbreak of COVID-19 last year, Mauritius has upheld the sanitary safety of Mauritian nationals and that of visitors as a topmost priority. The island nation has been widely recognised as exercising one of the best responses to the pandemic – a strategy that has resulted in a surprisingly low incidence of the disease.
6 min read Whether it’s unlocking your phone or accessing your banking app, facial recognition technology is everywhere. It’s a tool that is rapidly gaining popularity with banks, security companies, law enforcement, retailers and – of course – social media platforms. And, like every tool from a claw hammer to a chainsaw or a steamroller, this tool can be used constructively or destructively. Or, if not actually destructively, at least creepily.
4 min read Whatever your field, whether you are project managing a multibillion-rand development, overseeing the security on a small estate, getting the kids to school on time, or running a large hospital, you need to manage risk, minimise accidents, and ensure the smooth flow of a number of related tasks. We all have different ways of ensuring that this happens, but one brilliant model is as simple as a slice of cheese – or, more accurately, a lot of slices of cheese.
3 min read There are so many fabulous residential estates from which to choose that you can be forgiven for feeling a tad overwhelmed. But, don’t be intimidated by the cornucopia of choice. Many of them will suit your needs, but some may be just perfect for you. It’s worth doing your homework.
2 min read Portugal’s Golden Visa citizenship by investment programme is one of the most accessible ways of obtaining Euro citizenship. And a nice place on the Atlantic or Mediterranean coast is an added bonus – or at least it was until the Portuguese government amended the legislation to exclude coastal properties and properties in the main cities of Porto and Lisbon.
3 min read The Palari Group, in conjunction with Mighty Buildings, is planning the world’s first zero net energy, 3D-printed residential estate in Rancho Mirage, California, USA. It will be a small, low-density, upmarket estate but, perhaps, the ease, speed, efficiency and sustainability of the construction process may lend itself to rapid deployment of affordable housing. Or not.
4 min read They know everything about you. They know who you are, where you live, who your friends are, what their names and ID numbers are, what car they drive … and they have hours of video footage of you entering and leaving your home. ‘They’ are not some shady government agency. They’re the security company that guards your estate’s front gate, and the information they’re collecting about you – and about your visitors – is increasingly coming under the microscope.
2 min read On 10 March 2021, the government of the Republic of Mauritius implemented new COVID-19 public health protocols, and placed the island nation on temporary lockdown until 25 March 2021. This follows the reporting of 15 cases of COVID-19 in the community. All international and domestic passenger flights have been suspended until 25 March 2021, but cargo flights will continue.
3 min read Many serious cooks swear by gas hobs. They’re reliable, incredibly controllable, efficient, cost-efficient and – best of all – they work during load shedding, as long as you have a box of matches nearby. And you can’t beat the aesthetics of a gleaming stainless steel gas hob. But how safe is cooking with gas?
4 min read The government in England will give leaseholders the right to extend their leases by up to 990 years and pay no ground rent under major new changes due to become law later this year. We take a look at what effects, if any, the new changes have for foreign investors.
3 min read We are all aware that we need to do an environmental impact assessment before we embark on any large-scale (or sometimes even small-scale) endeavour like mining, new building, landscaping – even farming. But this is – in the scheme of thing – relatively recent, so it is still seen by many as an inconvenience imposed by tie-dye-clad, lentil-eating tree huggers. But how did we get here? How did trees get legal standing? (And rocks, and bunnies and other natural things.) And why should we comply with the spirit of this legislation rather than trying to circumvent it by manipulating the letter?
< 1 min read In terms of Section 1 of CSOS Act, the term “community scheme” refers to any scheme or arrangement where there is shared use of and responsibility for parts of land and buildings
2 min read Our Constitution is woven through the very fabric of our daily lives, and this is so clearly seen (or should be clearly seen) in the Rules of Community Schemes all around the country!
4 min read Japan, rightly, has the reputation of having one of the world’s safest and most efficient rail transport systems. And one of the most important contributors to its impeccable safety record is a simple, inexpensive technique that can be used by anyone in almost any industry – it’s the simple system the Japanese call shisa kanko, or point-and-call.
2 min read South Africa is the proud home of the invention of the Kreepy Krauly – the first automatic pool cleaner – and we all know and love (or maybe not actually love) them. They are great, and some people do develop strong relationships with their Kreepys, but they use electricity, and they can be quite invasive, taking up a lot of space in a small pool. So, when we found out about this US-designed solar-powered pool robot, we thought it was worth a look.
3 min read Mauritius, the Indian Ocean paradise, has launched a new long-stay visa to meet the growing demand from international visitors looking to relocate to the Covid-secure island for work, leisure or retirement. The country’s new Premium Visa is valid for one year, with an option to renew, and is open to those who want to relocate to allow them to work remotely, have a long-term second home on the island, or to retire here in 2020, 2021 and beyond.
2 min read Mauritius, the Indian Ocean paradise, is open for business, and is specifically targeting long-term travellers, digital nomads, people who want a second home in a sunny clime, and retirees. The country’s new Premium Visa is valid for one year, with an option to renew.
4 min read Week two in Mauritius and we are absolutely loving it. After an incredibly challenging but mandatory two-week quarantine, we are now finally able to explore our new home. So far, everything feels like one big holiday and it hasn’t fully sunk in that we are actually living here permanently, but I am sure that will change over time.
3 min read Not another … lovely scented soap, expensive fragrance, box of fattening (albeit yummy) chocolates, novelty keyring, hilarious stuffed toy, or hideous T-shirt tied into an inside joke. Things we buy because we feel obligated to give something. And, be honest, do you really want to face the Christmas shopping crowds this year?
3 min read The plethora of ‘information’ about how colour affects mood has had property managers considering painting their facilities green for calming, or orange to increase food sales. But the relationship between colour and mood is not an exact science, and one person’s happy colour may well make another person positively nauseous – at least when it comes to paint. But available evidence indicates that different coloured light can reliably affect a person’s state of mind.
4 min read As thousands of people continue to flock to the Garden Route for a better quality of life, the impacts on the region’s bigger picture are becoming increasingly evident. And while there is a sense that things are sometimes slipping through the cracks, the belief prevails that a unique set of blessings can ultimately overcome the worst of the challenges.
2 min read What with lockdown, gym closures, and all the rest, so many of us have been working out at home. But, eish! Unless you live in a mansion, where do you put the dumbbells, the kettle bells, Pilates balls and – even trickier – barbells? Fortunately, you’re not the only one who’s been wondering about that – and some people have come up with some great solutions.
3 min read As we head into the festive season, the blood banks are encouraging existing and new donors to donate blood in expectation of the usual end-of-year road carnage. So this is a good time to think about organising a regular blood drive at your estate. It’s an easy and painless way to make a huge difference in the world – to literally save a life, just by lying with your feet up for about 20 or 30 minutes.
6 min read As we become more and more disillusioned with the inequity and unsustainability inherent in the way society is run, we sometimes dream of living in a utopia – a community in which everyone is respected equally, there is no poverty, and we live in harmony with the seasons and the rhythms of the planets.
6 min read While most of the serious New Year traditions are about effective practical strategies to ensure that you start the New Year with the best possible chances of health, happiness and success, there are some lovely traditions for bringing in some good old-fashioned luck. And some that are just silly, frivolous and fun. If you’re planning a New Year’s do for the estate, consider some of these (obviously, not all) and remember to play safe.
4 min read A recent Stellenbosch University study shows that retention and recycling of rainwater, wastewater, grey water and storm water is essential for ensuring a reliable supply of water for the City of Cape Town. But where the research gets really exciting is that it highlights the necessity of decentralised as well as centralised water retention and recycling. What this means is that estates can play an important part in the creation of a sustainable water supply for the city (and other cities, too, of course).
5 min read I heard the first Christmas jingle of the year in a supermarket the other day. It’s a portend of things to come – the Silly Season. Too much eating and drinking, and too much socialising – and in this day and age the latter may be more deleterious than the former.
4 min read Houses in warm parts of the world are traditionally painted white – think of Greek islands, or Cape Dutch houses. Now that might be through lack of alternatives – or lack of imagination – but it is actually a good idea. White paint reflects sunlight, which means the walls absorb less heat.
3 min read We’re all tired of wearing masks, not hugging our friends, and washing our hands till they dry up and look (and feel) like sandpaper. But we just have to look at what’s happening in the northern hemisphere to realise that this is not the time to drop our guard.
3 min read There are very few people by now who don’t acknowledge that renewable energy is the way of the future, but there is that pesky problem with managing peak demand, and the storage of, for example, solar energy for ‘a rainy day’. Storage is the main constraint for the installation of renewable energy, so it’s not surprising that this is a growing field.
3 min read Living in Mauritius is basically like living in paradise, but there is more to this lovely island than the beaches and luxury resorts. When I go overseas and tell people I am from Mauritius, they’re pretty envious that I get to wake up to white sandy beaches every day. Yet, there is so much more to Mauritius than what you see in the pages of travel brochures.
2 min read Mauritius has successfully eliminated SARS-CoV-2, and is taking careful precautions to avoid importing the virus. So, while tourism is important to the island nation’s economy, they are taking it slowly and only opening the borders for Mauritian nationals, residents and tourists travelling to Mauritius for long stays.
3 min read ‘If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?’ You probably recited that – sing-song squeaky voice and all – as a kid, but I’ll bet you had no idea what it was all about. Well, Peter Piper (or Pierre Poivre) was a real person, and his (non-pickled) ‘peppers’ are now in Mauritius. Or at least their descendants are, and you can amble around in their shade inhaling their delicious scent.
5 min read Port Elizabeth has hit Day Zero – that dreaded spectre that had Capetonians tossing and turning in their unwashed sheets a few years ago. In some parts of the city the taps have – literally – been turned off, and water is trucked in by tanker. All this while Cape Town is revelling in full dams and continuing rainfall, but there is a distinct possibility of a Day Zero in Gauteng too. How did we get here?
4 min read Moving to a retirement estate can be – and should be – a positive, liberating experience. It’s a line in the sand that states that you are no longer planning your life around your children, and that you have time for yourself. It’s a time to decide exactly how you want to live without the albatross of a huge suburban home, lawn, garden and two-car garage full of tools hanging around your neck. It’s time to lighten up. There’s even a word for it: dostadning.
3 min read In a constrained economy like that of South Africa, the possibility of new construction projects is limited. This, along with the rapidly increasing cost of living as a result of the increasing cost of fuel, the inflation rate, and the VAT hike of 2018, has put pressure on consumer spending. That’s the bad news. Here’s the good news.
3 min read When we talk of semigration now, we are no longer just talking about the familiar pattern of movement from Gauteng to Cape Town, but about the worldwide counter-urbanisation or de-urbanisation movement, which sees people actively moving away from cities to smaller towns in search of a less stressful, more peaceful country lifestyle, while still retaining their city jobs, if they wish to do so, by working remotely.
2 min read It’s spring – that means that summer can’t be far behind, and summer means Christmas. And Christmas is about more than just gobbling turkey, guzzling mince pies, and glugging down bubbly. Christmas is about giving, sharing, and – mostly – about children. So why not take the opportunity – as a community – to share the love?
4 min read They say truth is stranger than fiction, and we all know that facts have a way of inspiring fiction. But, sometimes, fiction has a way of superseding fact, and nowhere is this more evident than in Mauritius, where you will find monuments to famous people who never actually lived. But, hey, why should we let facts get in the way of a good story?
2 min read If you love beautiful design in the bathroom and kitchen, and recognise the importance of excellent quality that doesn’t compromise on functionality, Hansgrohe’s electronic mixers are the perfect fit for you. While Hansgrohe is known for being a leading bathroom specialist, kitchens have also become an important focus for them in recent years. Their innovative, state-of-the-art mixers are testament to their longstanding commitment to quality.
4 min read Albert Einstein, who was a pretty smart fellow, did not say: ‘If bees disappeared from the face of the earth, humans would have only about four years left to live.’ But, even though he didn’t say it, if anyone had asked him what would happen if bees disappeared, he may well have answered thus. Okay, Einstein didn’t know much about bees, but Mark Collins does, and he estimates that ‘bees pollinate more than every third mouthful of everything we eat. Without their contribution, we would have a serious problem.’
3 min read Most estates that allow pets make it clear that dogs must be within their yards at all times unless out on a walk with their humans. But, what about cats? Shouldn’t there be a rule about cats not roaming the estate, hunting small animals, getting into fights with other cats – and even dogs – and creating trauma for any hapless driver who may squash one on the road? (Granted – the cat would suffer trauma too.)
3 min read While the country slowly starts to open up after an extensive lockdown period, the spread and effect of the COVID-19 pandemic are far from over. As scientists begin to understand the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, new methods of potential spread are emerging.
6 min read Joburg residents – and those in other urban centres in South Africa – have been experiencing their streets in a novel and gratifying way during the COVID-19 lockdown. Could it become a way of life?
4 min read The rapid onset of COVID-19 brought with it a new way of thinking about the way that we do almost everything. Even in lower levels of lockdown, where much has returned to business as usual, there remains a need to practise increased hygiene and safety protocols to protect those who are most vulnerable, which include residents of retirement estates.
3 min read Many people beat the summer heat by cranking the air conditioning. However, air conditioners guzzle power and spew out millions of tons of carbon dioxide daily. They’re also not always good for your health – constant exposure to central A/C can increase risks of recirculating germs and causing breathing problems.
3 min read Property owners in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban have been granted rates relief, softening the economic blow of COVID-19. That’s the good news. The better news is that the benefits apply to a range of ratepayers, from residents to businesses.
3 min read The Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies has published draft policy and policy directions on the rapid deployment of electronic communications networks and facilities for comment. Submissions are due by 3 September 2020 and can be sent to email@example.com. The below is an overview provided without comment.
2 min read It’s seemingly inevitable that the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to result in a recession of some form – exacerbated by high levels of unemployment, a huge budget deficit, widespread revenue losses and a sharp drop in national GDP. But what does this mean for investors?
4 min read A new cloud-based system that can detect changes in plant communities could be a valuable diagnostic tool to help developers and estate managers to monitor and optimise biodiversity – particularly on large properties with extensive natural areas.
5 min read You’ve decided to bravely break away from purchasing a few cubic metres of ‘builder’s beige’ when it comes to painting or repainting. But, before you gaily decorate the frail care centre bright yellow because it’s cheerful, the restaurant red, because it increases appetite, and the spa blue, because it is said to be calming, be aware that it’s not that simple.
3 min read Escalating crime, load shedding and a dwindling rand are forcing South Africans, almost en masse, to seek greener pastures in foreign lands. Australia and New Zealand remain the top favourites, purely because they offer similar climates and lifestyle choices, but these are followed closely by the United Kingdom – with its strong pound sterling and first-world benefits.
3 min read In a bid to fuel much-needed movement in the property market, the UK government has raised the stamp duty threshold across the country, effective immediately. Until 31 March 2021, home buyers and investors in England and Northern Ireland only need to pay stamp duty on properties costing more than £500,000, rather than £300,000, saving them as much as £15,000.
3 min read The coronavirus pandemic has caused an unprecedented disruption in the student housing sector, because the number of international students coming to the UK has fallen dramatically. This has left cities like Cardiff with an oversupply of high-end, purpose-built student accommodation blocks (PBSAs).
2 min read Nearly 12 million people in South Africa do not have adequate housing and the government’s plan to build more than 2 million homes over the next ten years will be significantly hampered by the national lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
3 min read At the age of 33, I am now a property owner. Words I never thought would come out of my mouth. Ever. I lived in Cape Town, South Africa, for seven years and I rented during that whole time. I moved back to the UK four months ago and have just completed the purchase of my first ever property.
3 min read As second-tier cities become increasingly on trend for South Africans on the move, property developers are responding with home offerings for the lifestyles of tomorrow. No longer is a move out of Cape Town or Johannesburg to these new boom towns considered “trading down”. Rather, it represents a bold and progressive decision to seek a better quality of life, often in more scenic locations where the price tags on homes are less likely to break the bank.
9 min read Property buyers and sellers are facing uncertain times during the COVID-19 pandemic. Buyers who are accustomed to a regular salary cheque are concerned that they will no longer qualify for a home loan, as many consumers face the dire reality of a salary cut, retrenchment, or shorter working hours. All these events can result in a substantial reduction of income.
4 min read Some residential estates are very big so it can be difficult to know what’s going on, especially in the wilder sections. Even if your estate is not strictly a wildlife estate, it’s important to know the condition of the veld and the health – or otherwise – of animal communities. The old adage – if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it – is particularly true here. And, surprisingly, there is a fantastic app that you can download for free that will do just that.
5 min read Interesting how people who will spend hundreds of rands on a carefully selected bottle of wine will happily grab a bag of pre-ground, almost certainly stale, coffee to serve after the meal – probably with an elegant potstill brandy or a cognac. It’s taken us a while to learn about wine, but we’ve only just started the coffee learning curve.
4 min read Permaculture is one of those words being bandied about as possibly the only way to save the planet, and to slow down or prevent the demise of humanity. Well, that’s probably a bit over the top, but it is a revolutionary way of looking at how we relate to our world, and – who knows – it might just save the planet after all. Whether you are developing an estate from scratch, managing an existing estate, or just wanting to decrease your personal carbon footprint, permaculture principles can increase efficiency and save costs.
4 min read When you look at them closely, the gardens and protected wildlife areas on your estate probably host an astonishing number of different plants, insects, birds, and even reptiles and mammals. Your observations about the natural world around you can be enormously helpful to scientists – and collecting them can be a lot of fun, and a great way of building your community, too.
5 min read How do we continue buying or selling properties in light of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic as a national disaster? How do we to continue providing value-adding and secure and safe property services?How do we make use of aid that can assist real estate professionals to keep the lights on?
2 min read Buying a property is most likely the largest investment you will ever make. So, to avoid the stress of waiting for loan approval after you have signed for your dream home, get a formal indication of the home loan you can qualify for before you even start looking at houses. There is that a free web-based service that is easily available, paperless and quick.
5 min read Good news for property buyers, but even better news for property developers and sellers. The affordability ceiling for first-time buyers who qualify for a FLISP subsidy has been increased from the previous average home loan amount of R 680,000.00 to R 870,000.
4 min read If you’re thinking of retirement, why not move to an estate with a view? Even if you continue working part-time, which is what many modern retirees do, you’ll probably have a lot more leisure time – all the more reason to have scenic landscapes to immerse yourself in and enjoy. We found seven estates around the country with spectacular views in a range of price brackets. All of them offer healthcare and excellent leisure facilities.
4 min read The introduction of the National Credit Act had an immediate impact on the approval of credit agreements. The affordability factor, which is the capability of a debtor to pay back a loan became, the lender’s primary focus of a lender before granting a credit facility. Lenders are imposed with severe penalties if found guilty of risky lending but, as the market experienced a major decline in home loan approvals, there was an unsurpassed increase in unsecured lending. Capitec Bank is a prime example of expansion of unsecured lending, and African Bank is an example of a lender that was almost sunk as a result of risky lending practices.
3 min read Your new home is almost certainly the most important purchase you will ever make in your life but, like many of the good things in life, it may require some sacrifice and discipline. It’s worth it, though, so plan proactively to improve your affordability by implementing some simple strategies, namely saving on everyday expenses and proactively managing debt.
3 min read Purchasing a home will most likely be the biggest investment decision you make, and one that comes with specific financial obligations – but also enormous advantages. When you appreciate the benefits of home ownership, you will no longer see obligations such as repaying your loan or maintaining your home as a burden, but as a route to investing in your and your family’s future.
3 min read When you apply for a bond, financial institutions consider your affordability to be equally as important as – if not more important than – your credit history. So drawing up an accurate monthly household budget will assist in determining what you can afford, and how you can adjust your budget to improve your affordability.
3 min read There is nothing more exciting – or daunting – than buying your first home. It’s a rite of passage, and also a passport to financial, emotional, social and family security. There are so many advantages to home ownership, but it’s a big step, so it’s worth planning carefully.
8 min read At a press briefing on Thursday 30 April, basic education minister Angie Motshekga announced that – if all goes according to plan – school admin staff would go back to work on 18 May, and Grade 7s and Grade 12s may return to school on 1 June. It sounded nice, but it’s really not that simple, and – as at 18 May – it doesn’t look as if that timeline is going to pan out. But, more importantly, how and when will our children return to schools, and will they be safe when they do?
5 min read Other than developments specifically designed for retirees, students and/or ‘young professionals’, the homes on estates, and even in apartment blocks, are designed as ‘family homes’, and estates are marketed as places in which families can thrive. But what, exactly, is a family? First let’s look at those ‘family homes’.
4 min read On 15 March 2020, in terms of Section 3 of the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002, the Covid-19 pandemic was classified as a national disaster, due to its potential severity and magnitude. Pursuant thereto, on 29 April 2020, the Risk Adjusted Strategy Regulations were published. These Regulations can be made available upon request.
5 min read As the sounds of vuvuzelas and loud, joyful music – part of a now-global display of appreciation for essential workers – died down some time after 19:00 on Easter Monday 2020, I lit the flame under two large pots of curried vegetable and lentil soup. Prepared earlier in the afternoon, each pot of soup was destined to feed the staff at one of the two gatehouses that control entry and egress for Dainfern in the north of Johannesburg.
2 min read COVID-19 has had a massive impact on how we interact with others. This impact is particularly felt by essential services staff, who have to continue working despite unsafe conditions. We examine the dangers of COVID-19 to estate security staff, and what companies are doing to keep both their clients and workers safe during this uncertain time.
3 min read As we change the way we physically interact, all industries have to change the way they do business – and the real estate industry is no exception. Even before the lockdown, estate agents and prospective sellers were reluctant to let people into their houses – and prospective buyers were reluctant to enter houses where the absent owners may or may not be carriers of SARS-CoV-2. So, even once the lockdown is over, it’s clear we will have to make some serious changes in the way we market, buy and sell property.
5 min read There can be few things as rewarding as watching a healthy natural mini biome unfold in your own garden. A close encounter with one of our amazing four-legged reptiles reminds me that biodiversity can be maintained in even the smallest of suburban gardens.
3 min read The COVID-19 lockdown threw the property industry into a state of uncertainty, with numerous new developments having to be mothballed for a while. But things are getting back on track, and Gauteng’s estate developments are going ahead with releases of new unit sales or building packages as planned. We rounded up a few.
2 min read We’ve seen three consecutive drops in the repo rate since the start of the year, the most recent being due to the devastating effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. Together these have brought the prime lending rate down from 10% at the start of January to 7.75% now. This is a welcome relief for anyone paying off debt, but the opposite is true for those relying on positive interest earned.
2 min read We hope that the increased police and army presence on our streets means that we’re safer from crime as well as the Corona-19 virus during the lockdown. But there will always be those opportunistic thieves that take a chance, so here are some tips from Trellidor to help you stay safe while home during the lockdown.
4 min read When conflict arises, it can result in stress. And, when stress levels increase, so does the likelihood of conflict and confrontation. But, remember, if you’re feeling stressed, chances are that your residents and home owners are feeling much the same. It’s a vicious circle that someone has to stop – and that someone is you. So how can you be the tough guy, and make those hard calls, while still being understanding and kind?
4 min read The crisis we are going through is unprecedented in our lifetime – even in living memory. But it’s not unprecedented in the history of the world and, almost invariably, this kind of crisis leads to immense social, technological and philosophical change. The one thing we can be sure of is that life after COVID-19 will be different, but we can’t be sure of the form that difference will take. So it’s up to us to decide how we want to change, and how we want to live in the future.
3 min read Buying a second property as an investment and/or a holiday home has always been tempting – and even more so over the last few years; the demand has increased, and the marketing and management of short-term rentals have become easier with online portals such as Airbnb, SafariNow and SA-Venues. But is it still viable?
4 min read Johannesburg lays claim to being the largest artificially cultivated urban forest in the world, which is great, even if it’s not entirely true. It’s great because it instils a sense of pride in the trees of the city, encouraging citizens and authorities alike to nurture them, and to plant more. And the Soweto Greening Project is extending that tree-planting spirit with – so far – more than 200,000 trees having been planted in Soweto. Not surprisingly, cities worldwide are becoming more and more creative in their greening efforts, with possibly the most spectacular of these being the innovation of vertical forests. Would this be a good idea here too?
3 min read We all want to know that our homes are secure, and that our families are safe, but we also don’t want to feel that we’re living behind prison bars. So we got together with Peter Rawson from Trellidor to find out about their latest offerings.
4 min read If you own, live on, or are developing a piece of land of significant natural value, you will need to come up with a way of ensuring that you manage it responsibly – and the best way to do that is to think beyond your boundary fence. The plants, soil, birds and animals don’t recognise title deeds, so managing for nature requires thinking outside of the strict ownership model of land use.
3 min read As the panic rises in South Africa as a result of the spread of the coronavirus, several people have started panic buying (groceries like sanitisers, tinned food and toilet paper are flying off the shelves) and they are taking measures and precaution to self-isolate.
3 min read Our ancestors were devastated by diseases like smallpox, polio and measles, but we hardly give these ailments a thought. They’re just not a threat, due to an interesting phenomenon called herd immunity – a term that’s being optimistically bandied about in relation to COVID-19.
3 min read Owning a pet offers many health and emotional benefits. Not only can pet ownership reduce stress, but pets also provide companionship and purpose. However, there are several reasons why pet ownership may not be suitable for everyone, so it’s vital to weigh up the pros and cons before committing to owning a pet.
3 min read According to various experts, mobility is the key to healthy ageing – but the truth is that holding onto it takes plenty of work. Many will agree that in order to retain mobility as you get older, you simply have to embrace it every chance you get. In other words, keep moving to stay supple, and keep motivated to keep moving.
5 min read The fishing at the Makhangoa Community Camp on the Bokong River in Lesotho is something of a crapshoot, but when you hit it right, well then all your troubles fade away as the reel screams. The Bokong River, which is one of the main feeders of Katse Dam, is a spectacularly remote spot, and troublesome to reach. Where the road ends, and donkey tracks provide the only access to the clear waters of the Bokong, you can – if the gods favour you – find fishing that is out of this world.
3 min read When 97-year-old Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth’s consort, crashed his Land Rover, injuring two bystanders, the first thing people asked was whether – at that age – he should have been driving at all. In fact, should there be an upper age limit for driving, just as there is a lower one? It’s a provocative question, and one that overshadows a far more sensible one: if you’re living in a retirement estate, does it still make sense to own and drive a car?
4 min read Conradie Park, a new mixed-income, mixed-use housing development in Cape Town, has been launched for sale to the public. Its marketing campaign lauds its ‘affordability, sustainability and security’, but how exactly will it be funded and maintained in the long run?
4 min read Corporate social investment is a great way for companies – and for estates – to give back to the community. But, while any CSI is a good thing, there is a huge difference between merely diverting funds to a good cause and actually getting involved with the community on a person-to-person basis. The former – at best – improves living standards for the target community, while the latter builds real relationships that can grow into an ongoing circle of benefit.
6 min read Under capitalism, the argument goes, it’s every man for himself. Through the relentless pursuit of self-interest, everyone benefits, as if an invisible hand were guiding each of us toward the common good. Everyone should accordingly try to get as much as they can, not only for their goods but also for their labour.
3 min read As South Africa becomes more water-stressed, many home owners and estate managers are considering replacing lawns with artificial turf. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, so you need to look carefully at how the two options stack up against each other in terms of eco-friendliness, durability, and convenience.
3 min read E-bikes are like ordinary bicycles, expect they have an electric motor attached. This motor provides assistance relative to the amount of energy you exert while riding it. As more South African cities lay down bike-friendly roads, the sales of e-bikes have surged, which leaves many people wondering if they’re a viable alternative to normal modes of transportation.
< 1 min read Marina Costas of BBM Law is offering free telephonic or Zoom 30 min conversations from Thursday the 2nd of April until the end of lock down from 11 am – 1 pm. All Trustees can join one meeting and ask top of mind questions around the implications and requirements of the lockdown on Sectional Title Schemes.
2 min read A Life Right purchase is a transaction where you and your spouse/partner, as the nominated occupants, attain the right to live in a particular house for the duration of your lifetime, after which your capital is returned with an additional profit share, depending on the options chosen.
2 min read In the world of property development, it is a rare and pleasant thing to find a developer that lives his life and carries out his business dealings based on the highest standard of ethics and moral conduct. It has been my pleasure over the past six years, to serve Okkie Potgieter and the Westacre Development team on The Somerset Lifestyle and Retirement Village project. With Okkie having recently announced his retirement, Dion and Johann Potgieter have stepped up to continue his considerable legacy.
3 min read The Somerset is immensely proud of their beautiful new Care Center and are thrilled to show it off. What you see is the result of collaboration between CPOA & Westacre. Great care has been made in the design of the Care Centre to be residential and not feel like a hospital or institution.
3 min read We are moving into uncharted territory with the countrywide lockdown, with many people not entirely sure what is and is not allowed. And, for people living in residential estates, the additional question arises: ‘Where does my home begin and end?’ We asked Marina Constas, a director of BBM Law, to clarify some widely held concerns and uncertainties.
4 min read When you’re buying in an established estate, you can often get a good deal if the house needs a bit of TLC – and the kitchen is where most people start. The cupboards and counters may still be fine, but built-in hobs do tend to show their age, so they are one of the first things you’re likely to want to replace.
3 min read The Riebeek Valley Olive Festival is an invitation into the cellars, hearts and homes of the people of this Swartland Valley. It is an immersive experience, and a celebration of the abundance of the land and all that is produced in the area.
3 min read Although capital gains tax (CGT) applies to anyone selling a property, it is of particular interest to retirees who have owned a property for 30 or more years. Especially when that property has gained significant value due to the popularity and growth of the neighbourhood. A property bought in Camps Bay for R41,000 in 1971 may now be worth around R15 million, attracting a significant portion of CGT.
3 min read Okay, it’s official. COVID-19 is a pandemic – and it’s caused a national and international emergency. This is serious, and – yes – there is a risk of contracting the disease, and even of dying from it. But is this really the biggest risk? As with many things, it is easier to see the problems ‘out there’ and ignore the ones in our heads. So, while I’m not for one moment denying the seriousness of COVID-19, let’s look at the real risks.
3 min read Single moms have become a force to be reckoned with in the property market. Developers who want their estates to appeal to this growing demographic will need to keep in mind factors such as security, open spaces, schools and modern living units.
3 min read Most of us can point to the black stuff growing in our shower and say: ‘That’s mould.’ Fewer people can say what mould actually is. There are thousands of different species of mould that all spread through spores. Some of these moulds can cause significant health concerns, ranging from allergies to asthma attacks, and even fungal infections in immunocompromised people. Understanding what mould is, and how it grows, is the first step towards preventing it from growing and spreading in your home.
2 min read Understanding what mould needs to grow is the first step to controlling mould in your home. By tweaking some conditions in your home, you can almost stop the growth of mould entirely, but we don’t live in a sealed bubble, so it’s also important to know what you should do if you do find mould growing in your home.
4 min read Dr Seuss famously wrote One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, but he missed the most important, at least for South Africans: the yellowfish. There are few places in South Africa where you are far from fishing opportunities for yellowfish. There are six different species in various geographically separate watersheds. Whether you plan to fish for them, or perhaps introduce them, understanding the differences can be important.
3 min read Living in an estate is typically a pleasant experience, with a strong sense of community as well as an idyllic lifestyle. Unfortunately, problem pets can easily disrupt this lifestyle. They can be noisy, disruptive, smelly, and can even cause physical harm to other residents. And, in some cases, the owners appear to be oblivious to the problems their beloved pets are causing. These situations often lead to tensions in the complex, especially if the owner is unwilling or unable to resolve the issue.
3 min read After years of controversy, the old Helen Bowden Nurses’ Home near Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront is set to be developed into social housing following the City’s decision to rezone the site for this purpose. However, the building remains occupied by the Reclaim The City activist group, who moved in in March 2017 and renamed the site Ahmed Kathrada House.
3 min read There’s no better way to start a morning than with a croissant and coffee – and that’s not just because, as Bridget Jones says, ‘started having hazelnut pastry and chocolate croissant every morning, and lost loads of weight. So will have cappuccino and croissant as usual.’
3 min read Every day the average working person receives more than 100 emails. Many are clearly garbage, and get deleted without opening, but you can’t just delete – or even file – mails from colleagues, clients or your boss without reading them. Or can you? You can if you just use your subject lines effectively and creatively.
2 min read More and more South Africans are evaluating the feasibility and advantages of investing in residential communities. Large mixed-use developments are sprouting up all over the country, and buyers are opting to invest in a secure lifestyle estate, where a return on capital is highly probable.
4 min read The FNB Property Barometer reports that the number of new townhouses and apartments nationally accounts for 60% of all new stock on the South African property market. This is a significant increase of almost 50% in just the last three and a half years; previously reported as 29% in 2015, and 13% in 2000.
2 min read The value of a tax-free savings account (TFSA) is seen in the long term. Once the investment is sizeable enough, the tax-free aspect becomes noticeable on the growth. It may not make sense for you to open a tax-free investment for yourself, but starting one for your child could be a fantastic idea.
5 min read Most people who work in an office from, say, nine to five, spend between one and three hours every day commuting. That is time that could be spent at the gym, strolling on the beach, shopping, doing chores, cooking delicious meals, walking the dog, or playing with the kids.
3 min read Why choose between buying something beautiful and buying something useful when you can do both at the same time? Designer and artist William Morris once wrote: ‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.’ Functional art combines both these directives, giving you the best of both worlds.
3 min read Joburg is fast becoming a megacity, but how does it compare with existing African megacities for return on investment? Cairo, Kinshasa and Lagos all carry the status of megacity – cities with a population of at least 10 million inhabitants. Fast on their heels are Dar es Salaam, Luanda and Johannesburg, which are predicted to attain the status of megacity by 2030, according to the United Nations.
2 min read As Gen X hits 50, existing and planned estates need to re-evaluate their position on retirement, and on multi-generational living. As the oldest of the Gen Xers are turning 50, and watching their baby boomer parents ‘raging against the [dimming] of the light’, they are starting to ponder their own mortality, potential morbidity and – shock, horror, gasp – old age!
< 1 min read Watch: Louise Martin, COO of Estate Living, and Dirk Uys of the magnificent Arabella Country Estate discuss three of the challenges estates and their management team face today with Dirk Uys
< 1 min read Watch: What do you look for in a top-class, well-aged red wine? Style, certainly; body and taste, definitely; but also the subtle, understated excellence that comes to great wines only when they begin to mature; an excellence that reflects an impeccable track record.
2 min read Positive news to emerge from Statistics SA today is that South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew 3,1% in the second quarter of 2019 (to end-June), compared to a decline of 3,1% in the first quarter.
4 min read Gowrie Village in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands is the quintessential country community, integrated into the greater village of Nottingham Road. Established in 2002, Gowrie’s sense of relaxed rural spaces and neighbourliness are key to the success of this mixed-use estate.
4 min read Which processes, procedures, and best practices keep a successful older estate at the top of its game? Marina Martinique – a unique Cape-Caribbean-style estate consisting of 384 residential stands and 475 units in group housing developments – is built around a lake and seven kilometres of constructed canals that lie three metres above sea level, and whose water is pumped in from, and flows back into, the ocean.
4 min read On the slopes of the Helderberg Mountain in Somerset West, the prestigious Erinvale Country Estate and Golf Club, which will be celebrating 25 successful years in 2020, was one of the first residential golf estates in South Africa. To find out what the ingredients are for this success, we chat to Kerstin Dinklage, Erinvale HOA trustee responsible for marketing and communication.
3 min read Not so long ago, if somebody wanted to have their complaint heard, the best options were to write a letter to the newspaper (and hope that it would be published) or dial into the radio. now, in the digital age, everyone has a voice. Never before has it been easier to have your concerns or thoughts heard – no matter how insignificant or trivial they are – and that has implications for estate managers
6 min read The world is facing a climate crisis. A young Swedish schoolgirl is now leading a global campaign of defiance driven by school children. The world has just experienced the hottest July ever recorded, even while a vocal segment of the chattering masses in leading economies like the USA believes that the science underpinning global warming is a massive hoax perpetuated by scientists who are – somehow – conspiring to make money.
3 min read Projectprop, which owns Leloko Lifestyle and Eco Estate in Hartbeespoort, is seeking a solid new buyer, or buyers, for this idyllic estate following a resolution by the shareholders to disinvest in the company through the sale of all of their shares.
8 min read Most community associations seek to enforce their rules while still maintaining a harmonious community that the residents view as a desirable place to live. At times, though, these goals seem to be contradictory, and strictly enforcing the rules can result in controversy.
5 min read Policies, procedures, our governing documents and our rules and regulations are binding on members who choose to buy into a homeowners association or sectional title scheme. But, of course, the directors, trustees, management, and the members themselves have to ensure that these are lawful, consistent and fair, and that they protect the common interest of the community at large.
3 min read Your home is likely to be one of the most valuable assets you will own. While you put a lot of time, effort and money into making it the ideal home, it is equally important to keep yourself informed on how well this investment is protected.
6 min read There comes a time in everyone’s life when simple day-to-day tasks become overwhelming and difficult to deal with; when confidence levels start to wane, and cooking becomes a frightful chore. Thankfully, most retirement estates offer a wide variety of assisted-living options – just what you need when that helping hand is required.
4 min read Travel – whether for business or leisure or both (bleisure?) – can be extremely exciting. But it comes with its own set of risks. According to short-term insurer, Travel Insurance Consultants (TIC), a division of Santam, it is wise to prepare for the unexpected by getting travel insurance before your trip and understanding exactly what you are protected against so that you have enough cover for any eventuality. Some of the other most claimed for travel events are pre-existing medical expenses, cancellation of journey, luggage loss and travel delays.
2 min read We hear every day that 70 is the new 60 and that with advances in medical science people are living longer. Looking at this realistically if I work to age 60 but live to 90 I will have approximately 40 years to save up for a 30 year retirement.
2 min read Some of us get the idea of “Joburg luxury” completely wrong: We see ourselves in the car of our dreams driving down William Nicol on the way to work. When in fact, real city luxury (or perhaps even city happiness) could be found not when you upgrade your ride but when you shorten your commute. Living closer to work does not only add more time to your day and more buck to your budget, but recent research shows that it can also improve your overall wellness.
5 min read Not a day goes by without one hearing of some municipal crisis somewhere in the country. These range from banal but extremely annoying stories of billing crises, lack of budgetary control and bloated bureaucracies to the horror story unfolding in Emfuleni, where total collapse of the municipality as a functional entity has unleashed a tsunami of raw sewage flowing unabated along the streets and through the buildings, as it makes its way to the nearest river.
5 min read The secret to successful property development is spotting opportunities before others do, seeing potential in a place where others don’t. It’s about taking the gap, thinking out of the box, and a whole lot of other clichés. And that’s just what Dennis Hope did more than three decades ago.
3 min read In a worryingly flat property market, developers are facing an ever-growing challenge to find value-adds to help them move units.
4 min read The South African National Biodiversity Institute’s awesome online resources make finding information about the living world around us a genuine pleasure. And if you’re a gardener, developer, or estate manager with a special interest in indigenous plants, it’s a treasure trove almost as rich as biodiversity itself.
3 min read On 24 and 25 September 2019, heads of state and government will gather at the United Nations headquarters in New York to follow up and comprehensively review progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The event is the first UN summit on the SDGs since the adoption of the 2030 agenda in September 2015. So it’s probably a good time to review them and – along with the rest of the world – assess the progress (or lack thereof) that we have made towards achieving the 17 goals.
3 min read Combining a successful land claim, community development, hard-nosed economic opportunity, responsible conservation ethics, and a fabulous tourist destination, Mdluli Safari Lodge is a win-win-win-winner.
4 min read By some estimates, South Africa has a housing backlog of about 2.3 million, and that number grows by about 178,000 houses a year. Despite the country’s sophisticated banking system, busy property market, generous impact investment projects and advanced construction industry, neither the public nor private sector has been able to catch up that backlog.
4 min read One of the most enticing features of WhatsApp is its offer of end-to-end encryption. This has ensured that our most personal conversations, and our treasured photographs of children and grandchildren, would be safely sent to family members and friends in a closed and safe communication loop.
3 min read The future of ‘Smart’ everything – leveraging digital technology to do just about anything more efficiently – is inextricably linked to our ability to ‘connect’ via the internet. ‘Smart’ anything and ‘Smart’ everything will depend on a frenzied exchange of data with, within and between people, entities, things and machines. The actual connection required for this exchange – in terms of speed and accessibility – will be as critical as available and adequate bandwidth is, or we risk losing out on the next wave of the internet. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is what the gurus the world over are calling this next wave.
4 min read Developers, HOAs, municipalities and the management of all manner of complexes, schools and campuses are learning that there are some things you just can’t fight. Put up as many ‘Keep off the grass’ signs as you like, people will take the shortest (or most convenient) path to get to where they’re going. So, the smart ones are giving in.
4 min read Retirement is the new buzzword in the residential development market, but building a retirement village is an enormous undertaking with huge implications – it’s a much bigger deal than building a golf or eco estate. So, is there room for small investors to cash in on this profitable sector?
2 min read What are the key drivers for the buyers in residential estates and how can a security service provider support estate managers? The impact of security risk at residential homes in the form of violent crime and burglaries, has fuelled the growth and development of residential estates to meet the upward demand.
< 1 min read Arabella Country Estate, home to Fynbos and fine living, located on the shores of the Bot River Lagoon surrounding the magnificent World Heritage Nature Reserve, has recently been re-certified with their full ISO 14001 compliance certificate.
4 min read Gardening in the driest or windiest parts of the country? Xeriscaping may be the system you’ve been looking for. We’ve all heard about water-wise gardening – the practice of choosing, grouping, and placing plants according to their watering needs in order to maximise the efficiency of the little water you have.
4 min read Seeking secure retirement community living but for under R2 million? There are surprisingly many options. Today’s retirees are quite a young lot, living active, lock-up-and-go lifestyles that often set a fine example to the generations after them, but not all of them have R3 million or more to invest in a contemporary home on a lifestyle estate.
3 min read Have you planned sufficiently for your retirement? It’s about a lot more than finances – you also need to decide where to live. Retirement isn’t what it used to be. Slowing down and putting one’s feet up is no longer the “default setting” in later life.
4 min read Wherever in South Africa you live, it’s probably freezing, so you’ll be thinking of escaping to somewhere warm – possibly with turquoise water, waving palm trees and snow-white sand. But then, come summer, you may head north to go skiing. It just shows how out of touch we can be with the seasons. But we don’t have to be.
5 min read Trudging around the golf course and playing tennis are ‘like so yesterday …’ your teenagers say, rolling their eyes skyward. Followed by a ‘there’s nothing to do here’ as their fingers tap the keys and the mayhem of one of a dozen blood-and-gore-filled computer games continues. This lament can be heard from tweens, teens and young adults the world over – gone are the days that residential estates could get away with the bare essentials of outdoor activities like (indoor or outdoor) gym, jogging and MTB trails, and a pool. The youth of today are way more demanding, and as parents and estate developers we need to take heed.
3 min read The Internet of things (IoT) has become a hot topic of conversation with technical, social and economic implications. It is a concept that not only has the potential to influence how we live, but also how we work and play. Projections for the impact of IoT are notable, with some anticipating as many as 100 billion connected IoT devices, and a global economic consequence of more than US$11 trillion by 2025.
3 min read Hardly a day goes by without the future of South Africa’s power grid making front-page news. Keeping the lights on, and sustainably, is a favourite topic around the dinner table, whether you live in Port Elizabeth or Pearl Valley.
3 min read We’re all getting older – it’s just part of the cycle of life. And with no fountain of youth or magic chocolate bar to cure us of our ailments, we’ll just have to make do with ageing and the added health issues that arise.
3 min read It’s Youth Month, when SA focuses on the 38% of the population aged between 18 and 35. But there are two distinct generations of consumers represented within that cohort, and they have very different ideas about real estate. Generation-Z, born between 1995 and about 2010, are the world’s “digital natives” who have been exposed to the internet, social networks and streaming media their whole lives, and they are proving to be very different from the Millennials born between 1980 and 1994 – especially when it comes to their views on real estate.
4 min read Planning for retirement can be both exciting and scary. Exciting in the sense that you’re planning for a life event that is spoken about so often throughout your life that it’s really a milestone and period to look forward to. Scary though, as you never know whether you’ll have enough since it’s impossible to predict the future. So much could go wrong in our economy and even if you’ve invested offshore, nothing is certain.
3 min read Empowering first-time homeowners with a one-off government-funded subsidy . The Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme (FLISP) offers an amazing opportunity for qualifying individuals to own their first property. It’s unfortunate that the details and implications of FLISP are not commonly known, and that there are some misconceptions about its process and value. The benefits, however, are huge, and estate agents and those involved in financing have a crucial role to play in educating prospective buyers and assisting in the process.
2 min read Thirty years ago I attended a lecture in Minneapolis USA by a Dr William Bridges on change and transition. Change he said is what happens in the real world but transition happens in the mind. When planned change fails its usually because people have not made the mental transition to accept the change. He offered a simple way to understand transition by breaking it into three stages. Stage 1 is all about making endings and letting go. Real change he said must begin with an ending, counter intuitive isn’t it.
2 min read You can have it all – live in the country with wide-open spaces. Perfectly balancing freedom and space with top-of-the-range, AAA-rated security, Monaghan Farm offers safe, secure country living – a place to breathe, relax and wind down. A place to bring up a family in a nurturing environment without the hustle and bustle of city life.
4 min read If an endless supply of pasteis de nata isn’t enough to entice you to relocate to Portugal, perhaps the favourable quality of life, cost of living and friendly investment and residence programmes will do the trick. Portugal has become one of the most sought-after destinations for South Africans seeking to relocate, largely because its investment opportunities and Golden Visa regime make it one of the easiest European Union countries to secure residency and citizenship – simply by purchasing property to the value of €500,000, provided certain conditions are met.
4 min read Facial recognition – whether it’s a passing fad, or the next big thing, one thing is sure: everyone has an opinion – good, bad, delighted or furious.
9 min read Community. What a nice concept. So simple. So appealing. And so elusive for residents of so many common-interest ownership developments that are communities in name only. A collection of residents who share ownership but nothing more may form an association, but they do not create a community by any definition of that term. True communities – living, breathing, vibrant communities – are not born, they are built, and the community association board is the primary architect in that construction process.
5 min read The Eastern Cape is a friendly and endlessly fascinating province – especially if you’re a fan of wild places – and its residential estates reflect its amazing diversity. There’s literally something here for everyone.
5 min read The Eastern Cape is a region of extreme diversity. Pristine beaches rub shoulders with forest-clad dunes, aloes punctuate the sere brown Karoo plains, and the history of Settlers, San and Xhosa communities tells stories of the region’s past. It’s South Africa’s premier malaria-free Big Five safari destination and it’s an adventure junkie’s playground – the highest bungy jump in the world, some of the world’s best surf, great diving, mountain biking and hiking – and it boasts South Africa’s only ski resort.
But it’s not all nature and adrenaline.
6 min read “I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.” Walt Whitman. The ubiquitous urban lawn. Where did it come from? Do you really need one? And what do you choose if you do? In the bad old days they used to say you should never interfere with a South African’s lawn – or their braai. And while that’s probably still true for the braai, is it really still true for the lawn?
3 min read Quick! Which ridiculously handsome South African is wind-resistant, drought-tolerant, security-ready, eminently prunable, easy to grow, farmable, culturally significant, and downright delicious? Answer: the plant with the tastiest name of them all – the num-num.
2 min read A promising new treatment for memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s, ageing and depression was presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in Washington DC on 14 February this year. An auspicious date. If it works, no doubt everyone will love it.
4 min read The manufacture and transport of bricks contributes quite a lot to the carbon footprint of a building, which is why some of the finest minds all over the world are looking at alternatives – be it beer bottles, sandbags, straw bales, bag-stuffed plastic bottles, or bricks made from ash, toxic sludge, compressed solid waste, and even cannabis. So it’s pretty exciting that local researchers have come up with a novel, energy-efficient way of manufacturing bricks from a waste substance that usually takes lots of water and other resources to process – and that we don’t usually like to talk about.
5 min read The affordable housing market has high demand, low supply, and the promise of long-term investment returns. So what’s the catch? Investing is a long-term game. Gregg Sneddon, the financial adviser who blogs and tweets at thefinancialcoach.co.za, often emphasises this point to his clients: ‘Investing takes time,’ he says. ‘Three years is not “time”.
4 min read The almost complete inundation of the city of Beira was in the news for a while, but then it fell away in the midst of newer, more important, or just more entertaining news – Ethiopian Airlines crash, Christchurch mosque shooting, South African elections, a 37-year-old woman successfully giving birth, and David Beckham’s conviction for talking on the phone while driving.
2 min read Building a new home, or having your existing one renovated, can be one of the most rewarding experiences. But, for most people, the thought of investing in a fixer-upper or a new build is more than a little overwhelming. The good news is that, with a little help and a lot of planning, it’s definitely possible to create the house of your dreams.
4 min read Samsung has been a pioneer in TV design for 50 years. Over that time, Samsung has researched what people love most about TV – the way it brings friends and families together and the many details that amplifies the viewing experience. This knowledge has led to innovation that has transformed how people watch TV and is one of the reasons it has been global number 1 for the 13 years. The 2019 QLED line-up builds on this legacy in a big way.
< 1 min read J AND J REWARDS PTY LTD entered the market in 2014 as an innovative wholesale distribution company. Founded by a young Belgian and American, we pride ourselves on sourcing quality products at a great price. We visit up to 4 international trade shows a year to make sure we never fall behind when it comes to tech focused products worldwide. With an office based in Shenzhen, China, J AND J REWARDS has the ability to source, test, and brand products at the highest levels possible. Our head office and warehouse in Cape Town distributes seamlessly to every end of Southern Africa.
2 min read Sitari Country Estate situated just outside Somerset West has been a remarkable success story, with unprecedented buyer interest and 926 properties sold to the value of just over R1.2 billion within the past 56 months.
4 min read On April 23 2019 Samsung announced that its 2019 TV line, including new QLED 4K and 8K models, are available at select retailers nationwide from May. Powered by Samsung’s proprietary Quantum Processor, the 2019 QLED TV line-up features more screen size options, stunning picture quality enhancements, dazzling colours from every angle, exciting new design elements and intuitive smart TV upgrades.
2 min read Samsung announced today that its 2019 QLED TV line-up will offer a brand new Ambient Mode that is designed to display various content including world-renowned works of art, even when the TV screen is turned off. Through the Ambient Mode, a variety of content like daily news headlines, weather updates, photos and music can be accessed from the TV screen.
4 min read It’s not uncommon to change jobs every few years and at the same time decide to cash out your provident fund. It seems like a great way to access some quick cash, but is it really worth it?
4 min read Most lifestyle estates strive to create a sense of community, yet few succeed. So, how has Kyalami Estates managed to get it right? Wander through any of the events that Kyalami Estates host annually and you’ll notice that almost every resident stops on their way to greet their neighbours. It’s the kind of collegial atmosphere that most residential estates try to emulate but, although they might achieve friendliness, cohesiveness often remains just out of reach. Yet it appears to be an integral part of the Kyalami Estates character; indeed, it’s one of Estate’s defining qualities.