3 Steps to master staying Motivated in our Economy

In this blog I was going to write about the economy. But I have decided to talk about a few aspects of motivation.

One thing about the economy and the circus in parliament, is that we always need to be motivated. We who awake to a new month every month, must somehow understand what’s going on and then lift ourselves above the negative and move on. I like John Loos, FNB’s Property Economist. I have known him for many years as a good writer, extremely well researched and with a sense of humour. He wrote this month in the FNB Property Barometer:

“Some minor increase in economic growth in 2015 is not expected to provide any meaningful boost for residential demand growth in a slowly rising interest rate environment. While nominal house price growth may be slightly stronger in 2016, compared to 2015, this would be due to higher CPI and wage inflation next year and not necessarily due to market strengthening.

Rather, one should look at our real house price growth forecast, where house prices are adjusted for CPI inflation, to see our forecasts of weakening residential demand growth through 2015 and 2016 being reflected. Here, we expect a turn from positive average real house price growth for 2015 to negative real price growth in 2016.

Let’s make no mistake, the indicators still point to mediocrity at best.”

In turn, Barclay’s forecast of interest rates is that they will rise in September but as early as July 2015, from 9.25% to 10.50% by the end of next year.

What all of this is saying to you and I is that 2015 lacks lustre but is pretty good under the circumstances. 2016 will appear slightly better as GDP rises but inflation and rising interest rates will probably push things a little lower – hence the words: “mediocrity at best”.

But the great thing is that we have a task to wake up to. Some would say you don’t choose Property, Property chooses you. If that seems true in your life, then here’s some thoughts to take with you.

3 Steps to Master staying Motivated in our Economy:

  1. Look Up. Psychologists and Neuroscientists will all tell you that Looking Down is sure to take you down. The only time you look down is to gain perspective. Lift yourself out of the current pressure, step back from negativity, take a helicopter view and assess what is preventing you from success and motivation and then Look Up. The period you look down and around you is to understand what’s going on, what the causes are or may be, what you are allowing to control your life and how you may begin to arrest control again. Looking down is for perspective – is Eskom really that bad? Is South Africa really going to the dogs? – and then armed with the new truth, you begin the actions and the self-talk that take you back to positivity and motivation. That implies you Look Up. So what happens when you do? Well, faith begins to flow in your veins. If you are spiritual, you will know exactly what I mean. If you are less so, you will begin to “confirm” what is good and can still be counted a blessing in your life and in your country. You see, it is the action of taking the reality and then deciding the path through it, that is motivating. It is Action that casts our Fear, it is Desire that replaces Fear. You cannot deny how you feel but you can decide to not allow your feelings, often expressed as Fear or Negativity, to control your actions. Feelings are not inane, they have life and energy – one lecturer in my Executive Coaching diploma said “feelings are as good data as sales graphs.” The only question is how do you order your “feelings”, how do you take grip of them and allow their energy and “tingle on your skin” to drive you to success. Look Up is not so much a mighty action to Permanent Motivation but rather a day-by-day attitude to make the best and be the best you can be. Like a good golfer or tennis player, you look at those around you only to gain insight, to learn, to propel yourself and your game to new heights.
  2. Make Choices. There is a wonderful saying: “You make the choice and then the Choice Makes You.” How true! How many times do we look back and wish our choice had been different? But on the other hand, how many times do we look back and see the power and the sense of direction in our choices? Encourage yourself with those events that have been as a result of your choice and have turned out well. The lovely thing about Choice is that the one you make today is the one that sets the new direction. I struggle to say that your future is solely in your hands and you can create your future – I leave much room for the will of God. But it is undeniable that when a good choice has been made, it has changed the course of my life for good. Choices of who to marry, which company to work in or leave, what to study, what business to pursue, have all affected our lives and made them what they are. If the choices we have made in the past are so powerful to have brought us to this point, then why are the choices we decide on today not just as powerful? And things we must remember: Big choices are often disguised as small – what you eat is who you are, exercise is beneficial and taking some “me time” strengthens you – tiny things that when consistently applied, can change the way you think and who you become over time. Secondly, making a choice is Taking a Risk. I like to talk about the law of Unintended Consequences. Just like Murphy’s Law [if something can go wrong, it will], unintended consequences will occur – after all, you are just human and you cannot see everything that can happen. Making a choice often involves risk-taking. The challenge is not to stop making choices, the challenge is to manage the risk. Do that as part of your decisioning, do that as you transition from one state to another, and then be prepared to do that as your choice unfolds through action and execution. Risk is not risk because it does not exist for the fearless entrepreneur [yes that’s you every month, my successful homeloan consultant and estate agent!], risk is not avoidable, it is only to be managed.
  3. Choose Your Company. It is the people we mix with and spend time with that define who we become, what we believe, what we consider as important and how we progress. That cynic, the person who with sarcasm makes some people laugh, the demotivators who complain all day and live here anyway, the guy who is unfocused and complains about the state of the market – all of them have more of an impact on us than we choose to believe. I listened to JP Landman last week as he spoke about removing the “noise” so as to see what is really happening. On Kyknet, he had previously described himself as a “Rational Optimist” – he sees the reality and then sees the hope for a brighter future. Needless to say, it was refreshing for me. Sometimes seeing politicians turn the gravitas of parliament into the colourfulness of a circus, sometimes sitting in load-shedding is not “romantic”, sometimes, well, I’m not as optimistic as I should be.. but then I am in the company of a man who provides tangible proof that “things are not that bad” and my spirits lift. When you’re feeling the stress of the market, when cash flow looks bleak, when relationships falter, when flu strikes, when illness besets you – look at the company you’re keeping. Do those people motivate and encourage you? Do they make you laugh until your belly wobbles? Do they inform you, guide you, express an honest opinion, avoid advice and let you think things through yourself? Find these people, mix with them and see the difference. And, by the way, BE ONE FOR OTHERS.

Motivation is not a feeling, motivation is an action. Homeloan Junction says to all of those that share a common view, Look Up, Make Choices and Choose Your Company – it may just be the antidote that changes the course of your life.

Yours in Property.

How to increase your homes value without over-capitalising

Houses don’t come cheap.

We buy them, pay non-tax deductible interest [in the USA, residential mortgage interest is tax deductible; all part of the American dream around property ownership], maintain them and then add accessories, as I like to call them. This is the reason why Robert Kyosaki, of Rich Dad, Poor Dad fame, says houses are a liability and not an asset. Contrary to accounting, he calls any property that doesn’t give you an income, a liability, not an asset. In another section of his book, he talks about buying a Porsche – he buys a factory and then allows the net rental return buy the Porsche. Very good advice indeed!

Maintenance, first. You may be one of those people who don’t maintain your house to “save money”. Be careful, selling the house that “needs some tlc” is very expensive. Maintenance retains the value of your house in a suburb because first impressions count and because people buying your house are probably buying the best they can afford and they don’t necessarily have the money to fix a gutter or repaint just after they move in. The only way to do that is to cut the price and use the saving to fix your house. Take it from me, a lack of maintenance costs you dearly in the end. And by the way, Mow the Lawn Guys…..

But let’s talk about accessories. For example, paving, lean-to’s for a caravan, a pool, a jacuzzi, a replacement of a thatch roof with Harveytiles etc. How should we go about improving our home so as to add value?

A couple of things to consider generally:

  • Don’t over-capitalise. In an area the average price of a house may be R1m. Your 500m2 extension with a Jacuzzi on the upstairs bathroom may sound like a good idea and even be affordable BUT, you won’t get your money back when you sell, let alone, make a return on investment.
  • Think about the neighbours. Your Jacuzzi in the middle of the front lawn may be cool for you but a buyer would look at it and wonder about privacy. Remember to accessorise for the general person and not your own boisterous nature. By the way, those walls you want to paint black and those tiles you want to put in in black and white checks, just think about the buyer who will one day walk through your house – will the black be appealing to them? Will the tiles be outdated?
  • Value for money. An interesting topic really because it is your family home after all. [The same debate often applies to the return on investment for a holiday home at the coast; years of family memories but, often, at a cost.] Why not just do what you want and worry about the return on investment later? Of a truth, it’s your call – all we’re saying today is consider the alternatives and the potential return on investment.

Quality. I have friends who have tried to renovate at the least cost. Three builders later and several compromises along the way, they are not happy. Hopefully, a future buyer will be but suddenly, the jury is out and time will tell.

So let’s talk about how to accessorise sensibly.

Firstly, do your homework. There is not an estate agent in your suburb who would not pop in and give you some thoughts on what you’re proposing to do and their considered impact on the value of your home. They see 3-5 homes a day in the area and know exactly what sells and doesn’t; so why not ask them? Then, check out that pool company or the paver or the building contractor. Goedkoop kan duurkoop wees [Cheap can be expensive]. If you don’t have the money now, save more but get what you want and what adds value to your home. There are many places where you can get references – previous customers [ask for one where there was a complaint and find out how it was solved], the internet, Hello Peter! and the like. Drive around your suburb and ask people using a contractor if they would recommend. In short again, do your homework.

Secondly, it’s the little “extra” in extraordinary that makes it that. For instance, the surround of your pool should be coping tiles or a lovely wooden deck. The location of your pool should flow from a room with a view. Plunging in the pool on a hot summer’s evening is cool, but creating a WOW! effect for a buyer can just take a little more thought. Imagine if you could have all those memories and get a better price for your house – often it’s possible.  On the other hand, a Koi pond on the one end with a fountain could be really nice but two things need to be considered – fountains require maintenance and Koi are not everyone’s cup of tea. Why do them if you could lose the Koi pond and place your pool inlet a little higher to have a bubbler sound effect?

Thirdly, consider affordability. Pools are expensive to borrow on a bond. And they need care and maintenance every week thereafter. Rather save cash and do it.

Finally, choose your accessory. Pools take more people than a jacuzzi and frankly, you can cosy up on the champagne seat if you want to! Tiling a thatch roof can save thousands of Rands in maintenance and insurance. Painting your house cool, clean colours makes a great first impression as does re-doing your garden for effect. We all have budget constraints and so choosing the accessories that we focus on over the years can be beautiful, practical, money-saving and give you a good return on your hard-earned cash.

As with so many of these blogs, the thoughts expressed are my own. Some of them are born of experience and mistakes. All of them are given with care for our readers by Homeloan Junction. If you are thinking of making some improvements to your home, talk to us, we would be happy to help. If you have already taken these points into consideration and want to make some changes, have a look at our Further Loan options.