This month we take a closer look at property sector and we meet Gary Gould and Leon la Fleur in our success stories.
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SME Business Bang
May 2014   |   Volume 5.4

It's a tenant's market, but not much to smile about

Given the current conditions of the South African business property market, tenants should be smiling, but the underlying cause is the lacklustre economy which tends to spread its misery to both landlord and tenant.

Gerrie van Biljon, executive director of Business Partners, describes the South African business property scene as very much a tenant's market: there is a general over-supply of retail, industrial and especially office space on the market, giving tenants much more choice than in the past.

The result is that landlords are more flexible about rental escalations or the odd rental delay, and are willing to listen to requests for improvements and the installation of features such as security gates.

Success story:
Wide-ranging skills aid survival in the building business

When you start wielding a welding rod at the age of nine, you are pretty much destined for a career of building things, as the life of Leon La Fleur attests.

The reason he remembers how young he was when he started welding, says La Fleur, was that he got arc eyes, a painful condition caused by the light from a welding flame. “My mother in those days treated it by putting a cloth with used tea bags over my eyes,” says 53-year-old La Fleur.

Success story:
In property, there is an upside to a downturn

If you play your cards right, the property market is one of those industries where you can do good business both on the gentle upward slopes of the economic roller coaster as well as on the white-knuckle downward spirals.

Take Gary Gould, for example. He started his property business from his Durban home in 2003, a mere five years before the biggest economic meltdown since the Great Depression, and one in which the property market was the epicentre. Yet he describes the timing as “fortuitous”.

Property rewarding for astute investors, but note the warning label

Owen Holland, Business Partners property investment general manager, understands why business owners who find themselves in the harvesting stage of their careers often look to the property industry to invest their surplus income.

It is one of the few industries which allows for a certain degree of passive return on investment. Any other business, from a coffee shop to a consultancy, requires a huge amount of blood, sweat and tears before it starts bearing fruit.

Not so in the property game, where it is theoretically possible for even an amateur investor to get a decent return in the very first year of investment, and it can require as little as one day's work a month to meet with the property management company appointed to take care of the asset. For any business owner who has surplus cash to invest without wanting to start an all-consuming new venture, building a property portfolio is a valid and reasonable strategy.
In this issue

Dickswell Building
92-96 Old Main Road
Office units to let
All units with open parking
Rental negotiable
Various units available
Westville Office
23 Jan Hofmeyr Road
Office space to let
15m² - 85m²
First and ground floor units
Maytime Commercial Centre

30 Charlesway, Kloof
Office space to let
20m² - 42m²
Immediate occupation
Natalia Commercial Centre

15 Charlesway, Kloof
Office space to let
40m² - 72m²
Fayfenn House

3 Haygarth Road, Kloof
Office space to let
65m² - 260m²
Rani Veerasamy
079 533 3754
031 240 7700
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