Carin Howell is a property portfolio specialist for Just Property in the picturesque town of Heidelberg, Gauteng. We sat down with her to find out what makes her tick.
Carin specialises in the whole of Heidelberg, but her focus is residential sales in the suburbs of Heidelberg Kloof Nature Estate, Overkruin, Jordaan Park and Heidelberg Central.
Heidelberg has easy access to the N3 highway and is just a 40min drive (50km) from the Joburg CBD, 45min (58km) from OR Tambo and 60min (70km) from central Sandton.
Q: What makes you an area specialist?
A: I have a passion for the people and the properties in Heidelberg. As the property area specialist, it’s my privilege and duty to price properties correctly and accurately in all market conditions. I “eat, breathe and sleep” my focus property areas. I do extensive research and analysis, which gives me an in-depth knowledge of the properties and amenities that these areas offer. Clients trust my insights and advice because of my integrity, work ethic, knowledge of and experience in these areas. I dominate my market because I believe hard work, persistence and determination will produce results.
Q: Why these particular suburbs?
A: I’ve been a resident of Heidelberg for the past 15 years. My kids went to school here, I have a good network of family and friends and it’s a stable established community in one of South Africa’s most historic towns. Value for money and the unique lifestyle they offer, make these suburbs an obvious choice. Heidelberg is the ideal town for people working in Joburg who want a more relaxed family lifestyle and are willing to commute to work.
Q: What does the area have to offer investors?
A: All investors seek assets that produce the highest return on investment (ROI) with the lowest possible risk. Heidelberg offers various investment opportunities that meet these requirements – from self-storage units to the lower income rental townhouses. I deal with qualified, serious buyers and investors so that I don’t waste my seller’s time, the buyer’s or mine. This is a key difference between being a sales agent and a property professional. An article in Rapport published on 14 October 2018 projected population growth in Heidelberg to double in the next 10 years – which means a shortage of housing is imminent. The upside of this is excellent opportunities for developers and investors.
Q: For a family looking to relocate, would you recommend this town? Why?
A: Without a doubt I would recommend historic Heidelberg to any family planning a move. Nestled in the foothills of the Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, Heidelberg Kloof Nature Estate is probably the most exclusive estate in Gauteng with newly built homes priced from as little as R2,5m to as much as R35m. This estate is 144ha with only 22ha allocated to 120 stands. The remainder was left as natural habitat with impala, nyala and springbuck roaming freely.
Heidelberg Central has the most beautiful historic houses. Typical of the Victorian era, these houses with old world charm, have been lovingly renovated to their current beautiful condition, with a typically old Transvaal look, wrap-around porches and patios with direct access to most rooms of the house. These properties are priced between R1,2m and R5m.
Overkruin and Jordaan Park are also neighbourhoods where families can safely enjoy evening strolls. Heidelberg is a wonderful environment in which to raise children or spend one’s retirement.
Q: Generally, what do the area demographics look like?
A: Currently, most of the property owners and tenants here are middle income earners, predominantly Afrikaans but showing a definite increase of other cultures.
I find that most of my clients want a relaxed environment where afternoon walks in the neighbourhood are safe, families can ride their bicycles in the street, children can play and grow without being concerned for their safety. Heidelberg offers that and so much more.
Q: As an area specialist, do you have any additional insights to add?
A: I could talk on this topic for hours! Two years ago I had the privilege of doing The Real Estate Business Owner Development Programme (BODP) coached by the brothers Trevor and Malcolm Gaw – a mini-MBA in real estate wealth creation. This, together with monthly one-on-one coaching sessions with Trevor, has increased my confidence and competence. Consistent training, reading and upskilling are imperative in my profession. It enables me to adapt to changes creatively. I can now enjoy the sales mastery I earned through this coaching and personal commitment to my goals and wealth creation strategy.
Q: What are the current market trends in Heidelberg?
A: Just Property Heidelberg currently has 119 properties listed, ranging from R265,000 for a one-bedroom flat to R14,2m for a 566ha game farm.
The majority of the registered market activity in Heidelberg for the past three months has been in the R800,000 to R1,5m bracket, accounting for nearly 32% of transfers in the past three months (Source: Lightstone town report).
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