TUHF Stories

Celebrating Nelson Mandela Day with acts of kindness!

Despite the unprecedented times, TUHF continues to be a good business doing good. TUHF honours Nelson Mandela Day by delivering hygiene parcels to the Fountain for the Thirsty, an organisation that has been helping the homeless during the Covid-19 lockdown period. The foundation works with homeless shelters and is currently operating two temporary emergency shelters for a maximum of 55 men in their 30km squared service area.

“For the people that we have worked with, we have made a world of a difference. We have made an impact on the lives of the people of the city,” said the foundation’s founding director, Shalene Selkirk.

For those in need or who wish to contribute to their efforts visit www.fountainforthethirsty.org

Women in Property Kate Keeling

by Elske, Blogger, A Table for One

Kate Keeling, Junior Portfolio Manager at TUHF, provides some much needed info on investing in property and expanding your property portfolio.

Briefly tell me more about yourself and your journey in property investment.

I studied BSc Architecture and BSc Honours in Real Estate through the University of Pretoria. I was then offered an internship at TUHF and have loved working in the property investment space so much that I have never looked back. I have been at TUHF since May 2016 and I am now a junior portfolio manager.

For those wondering how to buy/invest in their first property. Where does one start?

It is key to understand the market that you are wanting to invest in. For example, the old saying of “location is key” is still very true today.

The decision on location, or at least area, may be determined by your affordability, but it will also be strongly influenced by the demand in an area. With location, it’s also important to know the type of property you are wanting to invest in and the product you want to bring to the market; what makes it better or more attractive than what is already on the market.

In addition, before making any commitment or investment, you need to understand the income and expenses of the property you are looking at. Often people underestimate the costs of running a property, where not all costs are recoverable from tenants.

Once you’ve undertaken your market research and have a strong grasp of the above, also consider your personal capacity, expertise and experience – and if you may need to on-board some professionals to assist you.

What are some factors you need to consider before buying your first property?

As mentioned above, location is key and understanding your market and potential tenants. I think you must invest in an area that you are happy to manage in, a present landlord is always the most successful. Look at the expenses of the property; a good practice whenever it is possible to, is to get your hands on a utilities bill to understand the ‘real’ costs, rather than working off estimations. Also understand other costs such as security, maintenance, insurance, etc. to get a more all-encompassing view, which can then be compared to expected potential income from the property, to assess if it is viable (ie does it support itself), or profitable, as a sustainable investment.

Many first-time buyers are not aware of transfer costs and transfer duties. What are they and what is the difference between the two?

The transfer duty is a tax payable to SARS – and is calculated based on the value of the property. Buyers are liable for transfer duty fees for all types of properties over R1 000 000.

Transfer costs, on the other hand, are the costs for transferring the property into the buyer’s name, this includes conveyancer’s fees and bond registration.

What, if any, ‘hidden costs’ should one be aware of?

Perhaps not hidden costs, but there are additional costs involved with buying property that some investors are possibly not aware of, or underestimate, initially. These can include, for example:

  • Transfer costs and bond registration costs, which are often more than people anticipate.
  • If you plan to do any construction and/or refurbishment on the property, it’s good practice to always allow for a contingency, as there will be something that may have been overlooked in the initial costings, snags or potentials delays, which also may cause a delay for letting the property. And during this refurbishment or construction period your loan will need to be serviced or there will be capitalised interest added to your loan.
  • Letting your property takes time; your instalment will be due with your funder and you may not be fully let. In saying this, finding the right tenant is important.
  • Running and maintenance costs, as although you recover some costs from the tenants there are generally some costs you don’t recover. Some examples of these can include: general upkeep of the property, cleaning and maintenance; electricity and water in communal spaces (for multi-unit, multi-tenant properties); insurance; rates and taxes; security.

After buying your first property, how do you go about expanding your portfolio?

I think it is important to get your first property up and running properly before moving onto your next project/investment. This means making sure your property is self-sustaining, and ensuring you feel 100% comfortable from a finance and capacity point of view before making another commitment.

You will also learn a lot of lessons from your first property and carry these into your plans for the next property. And although you maybe want to diversify the area or the property type, just remember that when managing multiple properties, it is easier if the properties are close to each other – particularly if you want to be a present landlord – and you already have inside information in the market you are invested in.

Any other tips or advice?

COVID-19 has taught us a lot, not least of all that you can’t plan for everything. But what we have learnt from our clients, as landlords and their approach to their tenants, is that if you are proactive when something does happen, it will soften the blow.

We have seen landlords who have been very proactive during this pandemic and they are recovering quicker from any financial knock-on effects of the economic impacts of the pandemic and the lockdown measures, than for example other market players who perhaps haven’t stayed engaged with their tenants and been present at their properties.

This experience has also shown that it is very important to vet and get the right tenant into your property to begin with, but then to also build a strong relationship with your tenants. As, while the current circumstance surrounding the pandemic are unprecedented, having a strong relationship can help see you and your tenants get through any future tough times together.

And, if you are using a property management company, or planning to, ensure they are proactive and responsive to you and your tenants in situations.

On the 7th of July 2020, Mahlatse Kekana, Junior Portfolio Manager at TUHF joined Private Property’s podcast series on Facebook. Hosted by Zamantungwa Khumalo, Mahlatse featured as the guest speaker to discuss entrepreneurial success tips in commercial real estate. 

“The first thing that TUHF looks for before processing a loan application, is a fit for that particular entrepreneur or enterprise. TUHF has what we call a character-based lending strategy which means that we look at the character as well as, the background and abilities of the person behind the deal.” Mahlatse explained.

TUHF will also assess:

– Whether the deal is commercially viable, i.e. does the deal make commercial sense?

– Whether the loan that it gives you can be paid back from the income that will be generated from the particular property

Over and above, TUHF’s financing process can be summarised in 8 steps

Step 1. Identify an inner-city area in which you would like to invest, in line with your knowledge & experience

Step 2. Find an existing building or site for a new building

Step 3. Do your research by gathering information to prepare for your meeting with a TUHF Consultant

Step 4. Apply for TUHF finance

Step 5. Begin the credit approval phase

Step 6. Meet the conditions of the approval & sign loan agreement

Step 7. Registration of property takes place & construction starts

Step 8. Construction complete, rent up and cyclical processes

In concluding TUHF’s steps of lending, Mahlatse mentioned that some of the most successful property entrepreneurs are those who buy correctly at the correct price. “You have to buy properties that suit your risk appetite and capabilities. The most successful entrepreneurs are street level and they have a network of real estate agents, developers, and financiers. Platforms like Private Property provide a basis for entrepreneurs to find property. But it’s when you really start engaging with your peers and fellow entrepreneurs that you start finding what a good transaction looks like” Mahlatse added.

Zamantungwa and Mahlatse continued the conversation by discussing other factors that property buyers should be mindful of when buying property in the inner city. Mahlatse explained that finding the right deal, or property is not easy, and this means that people will often enough have to let go off a few properties before finding the one more suitable for them. Mahlatse highlighted that even though you may not come with a feasible proposal in the beginning, TUHF is still able to assist you find the right deal.

TUHF is also able to fund property entrepreneurs in township areas of South Africa through its uMaStandi product offering. uMaStandi launched in 2017 and it finances township entrepreneurs.

“In summary, the best advice that I can give in closing to property entrepreneurs who want to succeed in the real estate property market is firstly; you should start small then go big, secondly; always interrogate purchase prices and lastly; be conservative in your estimates.” Mahlatse concluded.

More Information:

Podcast link https://www.facebook.com/propertysa/videos/736971557117321

Learn more about TUHF https://www.tuhf.co.za/

Learn more about uMaStandi https://umastandi.co.za/

Get to know Mahlatse Kekana – LinkedIn https://cutt.ly/qpq4hCx

Situated in the heart of Observatory, Mitra Mews merges history with contemporary design in a beautiful, privately developed small mixed-use precinct, with a retail shop and short and long-term accommodation rentals.

Owned by the husband and wife architect duo Alastair Rendall and Gita Goven, construction of Mitra Mews was completed at the end of last year. The precinct features a complex that offers both short-term and long-term rental options – with nine fully furnished units, including fibre Internet connectivity and smart televisions. Four of the units are duplexes with four-bedrooms and a bathroom on each of the two levels, and five of which are two-bedroom units both with en-suite bathrooms.

The 840sqm site has parking for 11 cars and includes a convenience store, a music studio, letting office, and laundry, as well as a completely refurbished Victorian house which is part of the Observatory Heritage protection Area containing many of the remaining Victorian and Edwardian architecture buildings in South Africa. The precinct is also within walking distance of more than 20 different restaurants and bars as well as the metrorail station, bus stops, and two shopping centres.

Alastair Rendall says, “My wife and I have been in the rental business for 26-years and were looking for an investment that would ultimately allow us to reduce our dependence on our professional service business and generate an income from the rental property. This would free us up in generating innovative solutions to mixed income inspiring settlements. Considering this property was in front of our home it made sense for us to purchase it when it came on the market. It was also small enough to make the development manageable for us without requiring the services of a massive third-party developer.”

Both Alastair and Gita are passionate about designing everything using sustainable materials and making their developments as water and energy efficient as possible. To this end, the complex has been constructed using eco-friendly green-lite concrete blocks, and water supplied by a borehole that is fully filtered and purified on-site. For energy, the development relies on a photo-voltaic water heating and electricity generation system, with heat pump back-up, to help make it as eco-friendly as possible. There is also a predominantly edible urban courtyard landscape with 24 fruit trees and medicinal, herbal and culinary plants. We are also building relationships with our local community to bring events and opportunities that our guests can enjoy as a distinct OBS experience.

“We both feel it is important to build something up in the city without taking it outside of Cape Town. Because Observatory has a high density of Victorian houses and falls in a protected area, it was quite a challenging process to get all the required approvals for the renovation of the house and the construction of the units. The shop front had a canopy over the sidewalk which I wanted to retain as it is quite a feature on the street,” adds Alastair.

Even though Mitra Mews was receiving good online reviews and started building momentum on the rental front, the recent lockdown as part of the COVID-19 containment measures has meant that the owners required to rethink their short-term plans.

“While there is still a lot of uncertainty in the market, we are exploring making the units available to health professionals as we are within walking distance of a hospital. There is also a possibility of continuing with the long-term rentals targeting foreign and local students, but with the second half of the year is difficult to predict as universities will likely continue with online education we are keeping all options open at this stage,” indicates Alastair. Mitra Mews received R11 million in funding from TUHF.

“It has been a great experience working with committed clients like Alastair and Gita. Not only have they followed through on what they promised to accomplish, but they also produced quality work in the development of Mitra Mews. This goes a long way in establishing the foundation of a strong client relationship,” says Anne Meiring, Credit Analyst at TUHF.

“From our side, we are heavily invested in this project on a personal level. My wife and I had to furnish all the units ourselves. Our youngest son is a photographer, so we printed some of his photographs to put in the units as well. Our older son is a musician and is using the music studio to produce his music. He is getting ready to launch his first album globally soon. This adds to us being embedded in the project and doing everything we can to manage the short-term complications of the lockdown by taking a more long-term view of its potential,” says Alastair.

Given the picturesque location and the quality of the development, it certainly does bode a lot of potential that will benefit its owners and tenants well into the future.

“TUHF has created an impact in Cape Town by giving great attention to the Bellville, Parow, Observatory, Goodwood and areas within the Voortrekker Road corridor. Through providing financial backing to private developers, TUHF has assisted in uplifting these formerly neglected and under-invested arears which were regressing rapidly, by improving safety, quality of life and the socio-economic situation,” says Dihedile Mphachoe, Portfolio Manager at TUHF.

Facts

  • Location: 31 Station Road, Observatory, Cape Town, 2935
  • TUHF Product: Mitra Mews
  • Original configuration: Victorian house with old sheds and a shop
  • Configuration upon completion: Green townhouse security complex with nine apartments (four 4-bedroom apartments each with two bathrooms; five 2-bedroom apartments each with en-suite bathrooms), shop, music studio, and refurbished Victorian House that contains a 2-bed ground floor apartment, letting office and laundry

Streetlight-Schools_classroom

Streetlight Schools: Growing Grade by Grade in Jeppestown

Jeppestown, Johannesburg
Intuthuko Equity Fund and purchase plus construction finance.
Location

Jeppestown, Johannesburg

Johannesburg, 03 March 2020 – From humble beginnings as an after-school programme, housed in a small storeroom in Bjala Square, Streetlight Schools’ flagship Jeppe Park Primary has grown to an innovative, 4 Star Green Star rated primary school for Grades R-5.

“Jeppe Park Primary fully embodies the concept of impact through scale,” says Lusanda Netshitenzhe, Development Impact Manager at TUHF. “It has not only converted a disused shoe factory into a globally competitive school that provides quality education in one of the most underserved communities in South Africa – but has also integrated with the local community so extensively as to have a far-reaching impact on the surrounding area.”

For example, the professional team involved in designing and building the school’s facilities sourced much of the construction and fitout materials used in the primary school campus, as well as a third of the construction team, from within a 200m radius.

In addition, much of the school’s teaching staff share similar backgrounds to the learners and have been trained by Streetlight Schools to enter the teaching profession for the first time (with help from Instil Education, Reggio Emilia Alliance and more). These two examples have created work opportunities for Jeppestown residents and involved the local community in the school’s development every step of the way.

The school’s presence also played a key role in the refurbishment of Jeppe Park across the road, where the community and municipality got involved to improve safety for the children, most of whom walk to and from school.

The school has grown with its pupils. “We started with just 70 Grade R learners in 2016, and we’ve grown a Grade every year,” says David Fu, CEO of Streetlight Schools.

In 2018, when Streetlight Schools approached TUHF for a grant through its CSI fund, the school had grown to 261 learners from Grade R-4.

TUHF’s grant of R 150 000 has funded the addition of two new Grade 5 classes, allowing 2019’s Grade 4s to move on to their next year of education at the school. The grant also allowed for the addition of a third Grade 1 class to meet the demand at the early stages, so that Jeppe Park Primary now caters for 315 learners in total.

This isn’t TUHF’s first contribution to Jeppe Park Primary’s development. “In the early days, TUHF helped us build the playground, both in the form of materials donated and time from a number of employees,” Fu confirms.

TUFH is invested in Bjala Square too, enabling the school’s landlord to make an even more meaningful impact in the area, and on the school itself.

Bjala’s aquaponics farm provides Streetlight Schools with a stimulating space for its extracurricular activities, effectively creating an outdoor classroom for the kids. School-ground greening and the rooftop farm brings learning about nature to life, while the school’s commitment to environmental sustainability incorporates recycling to teach children about waste, and art projects using discarded materials teach them about repurposing.

“It’s such a pleasure to see two of our major investments in inner-city regeneration support each other and meld together so effectively,” says Netshitenzhe.

Fu agrees; “Bjala has given us the backbone and stability we need to operate a school here for generations to come. They even subsidised our rent here in the early days, which really helped us to get established.”

The school’s future includes three more classrooms, indoor play courtyards, additional bathrooms and a staff room for middle school teachers, as well as expansions to the library and a new computer room. Jeppe Park Primary aims to grow to 500 learners, doubling its impact in the community and beyond.

Leroy-Slava

@Fourteenth brings colourful affordable accommodation to Boksburg CBD

Intuthuko Equity Fund and purchase plus construction finance.
Location

Boksburg, Johannesburg

February 2020 – A project funded by TUHF, @Fourteenth is a bright new residential complex that offers affordable accommodation within the Boksburg CBD.

Situated opposite the Boksburg Municipality Customer Care Centre on Trichardts Road, the building was originally a mixed-use structure containing retail facilities on the ground floor and residential units on the first and second floors. However, the building had not seen successful retail undertakings for some time and was rundown. When the building was put on the market for sale, local resident and property entrepreneur, Leroy Slava, recognised an opportunity and set upon a project to not only give the building a facelift, but a new purpose.

“I own property not far from @Fourteenth that I rent out and for years, when I had been near that part of town to oversee my other property, I had driven past the original building and noticed the rapid turnover of retail tenants. I often wondered if the building would have been better suited to a different use,” says Slava. “So, when the building came up for sale in 2018 I saw this as an investment opportunity; to buy the building and convert it to a full residential rental building. I contacted TUHF for property finance as I knew this was exactly the kind of inner-city property project that TUHF has the appetite to invest in.”

“We had spoken to Leroy before about similar opportunities and were thrilled when this project met our criteria so that we could move forward,” says Khumbulani Chikomo from TUHF. “Leroy knows the Boksburg inner city, has demonstrated his property management skills and has a good track record of providing good customer service and maintaining his properties well.”

TUHF provided financing to the value of R 8.3 million for purchase of the property as well as construction, refurbishment and professional fees to complete the conversion in full. The retail floor had to be converted to create residential units, and the original residential units had to be reconfigured from large 100 m2 units to smaller units of various sizes in order to increase capacity and ensure maximum impact.

“The experience of working with TUHF has been great,” says Slava. “I rent out and manage a few smaller properties, but this was my first conversion development project and property of this scale, so it was a real learning opportunity for me too, and the team from TUHF was very supportive and helpful.”

“They went above and beyond, not just in terms of helping to establish financial feasibility but also in terms of advising on risk management. In particular, the service providers that TUHF recommended –– were a pleasure to work with.”

The building not only showed promise to be economically sustainable but fully meets TUHF’s vision of achieving ‘impact through scale’. Besides the Municipality’s Customer Care Centre, the building is situated close to the Boksburg Public Library, two schools, retail facilities, several local businesses and one of Colgate Palmolive’s satellite offices. This makes it ideally located to have a positive impact on the area and provide good quality residential space with access to all the necessary amenities.

The newly renovated @Fourteenth consists of 31 residential units, ranging from bachelor studios to 2-bedroom apartments. The refurbishment was completed recently and opened for tenanting in the first week of February 2020 – and Slava as the owner and landlord is confident that the new @Fourteenth will offer a good return on investment.

“I’m especially proud of the fact that I received an invitation to enter the 2019 Investor of the Year Awards from the SA Property Investors Network for this project – and had made it to being named a finalist for the Award. And the support and guidance I received from the team at TUHF went a long way to making that possible too. I expect @Fourteenth to be fully tenanted in the coming months – and I’m already looking forward to my next project with TUHF,” concludes Slava.

Pressage-Nyoni

Spotting the hidden potential in Nelson Mandela Bay

North End, Port Elizabeth
Intuthuko Equity Fund and purchase plus construction finance.
Location

North End, Port Elizabeth

A mere stone’s throw away from the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium and the Transnet Port, sits Trafalgar Square, the newly renovated two-storey apartment block providing affordable housing to Port Elizabeth’s North End suburb. Striking in bright green and yellow, the property stands as a symbol of rejuvenation for Port Elizabeth’s inner city. Spotting the opportunity to bolster their property business, while simultaneously helping to clean up the city and providing accommodation for city residents, Musa waShe Nyasha and Paballo Shai leapt at the chance to redevelop the building, despite the challenges present.

 

Although Musa and Paballo had some of their own capital to invest input into the project, they needed further equity funding support. TUHF supported them with the senior debt for the property but more importantly

TUHF’s Intuthuko Equity Fund made the project feasible through complementing their equity to make up the 20% required. This is their second property financed by TUHF, but the first with this scale of redevelopment. For many years, the building sat in a state of complete disrepair and informal dumping site across the road. The site, a mixture of broken furniture, old mattresses and building rubble, compounded the eyesore that was the dilapidated Trafalgar Square building.

Today, however, the building stands proud as a testimony to entrepreneurial accomplishment. All 16 units in the building have been renovated from one-bedroom to two-bedroom apartments. The original wooden floors have been restored to their former glory, and the high ceilings and open-plan living areas provide comfortable accommodation for tenants. Members of the community have relished the new life that

Trafalgar Square has breathed into the area and have noticed a drop in crime since its completion.

Trafalgar Square has a steady stream of enquiries from potential tenants and the owner has had to provide minimal advertising as existing tenants recruit their friends and colleagues to move into this well-run building.

Original configuration: 16 one-bedroom units of 57m² each
Configuration upon completion: 16 two-bedroom units of 57m² each