In our previous blogs we have looked at the challenge of close-to-Zero economic growth and raised the following actions for consideration in your business, whether you are a one-person business or a more corporate entity:

Zero Part 1:

1. Complacency

2. Costs

3. Cash.


Zero Part 2:

1. Income

2. Facilities

3. Staff Morale.

These elements of business always bear relevance. Fact is, when things are going well and economic growth is flying, we all lose sight of them. That’s why I chose to discuss Complacency first – it is our fat-and-happy state where nothing can go wrong, … go wrong. Beware and avoid the hardship of missing the chance to streamline your business. Apart from Complacency, practically everything else works in combination rather than in any order. The same goes for this blog’s elements.


In Part 3 I would like to suggest some actions around three final issues: Hard Work, New Opportunities and Relationships.


1. Hard Work:

I must admit, I am old school. Many years ago in Nedfin Bank, our MD introduced the “next big thing” idea – Work Smarter Not Harder. We had post-its [they’re not that old, you know!], personal note pads, diaries and notice board posters. We all had to work smarter, not harder. It was a bit like losing weight; I tried and tried to work smarter but hard work just kept on coming back. I went home earlier to force smarter work and then came in early to catch up on yesterday. I thought smart, acted smart, threw out lots of questions and had lots of answers but, alas, smarter eluded me. Hard Work won most of the small successes and in between, a little Smart helped.

Identify with me? If not, count your lucky stars! I have seen young men in the sub-Prime days begin to hold onto their business. When it was quiet, they did other things, lived in different places, bought motorbikes to save fuel and basically hussled while they waited. No other smart idea could keep their businesses alive and survival brought out the best in them under the worst of situations. But survive they did. Hard work did that and if there was a modicum of Smart work, that just helped. I know I’m being simplistic and that many great Smart ideas have made people fabulously rich. But, my sense is why we know them so well is that there are so few of them. The rest have worked their guts out to get where they are today.  You make your call, never denigrating Smart if you can possibly think of it, but Hard will probably be the way through to better economic times.


By the way, two of the smartest things you will ever do is Delegate – well-explained tasks to people you know can do them [or be supervised to learn to do them] –  and, Develop a Succession Plan. The former we will take as understood, but the latter is like getting excited about doing your Last Will and Testament. But, who will run your business if you’re incapacitated? Do you have Income Protection insurance for long-term illnesses? What would happen if you never come back to work – who would keep the business going? What does your Will say about your shares and to whom do they devolve? Knowing that “it happens to the other guys”, many of us sadly leave these questions unanswered and cause much family strife and employee harm when something “happens to us”. Think about it and DO something about it.


2. Opportunities:

Mom always said, “Opportunity only knocks once.” I loved her dearly but, coming through the Second World War it must have felt like that for her generation. But we know that it is simply not true. Indeed, we live in an age of multiple opportunities – which to choose and expend our energy on, is our dilemma. We have opportunities coming out of our ears and need to remember a few [I’m sure you can think of more] basic guidelines to avoid mistakes:

  • Focus is the opposite of Diversion. A simple Resource Set will categorise an opportunity as one you can take and one you should leave. If you don’t have the resources, “stretch” may just prove too thin.
  • Good strategies comprise of what you decline and what you accept. Saying “No”, is also good strategy. Saying “Yes” to everything is bad strategy.
  • Stay within your core skills or be very careful. Origination was my core when I ventured there. RMD Meats was non-core and therefore a high risk for me. You can only justify the latter if you have demonstrated that you know how to run a business in spite of the product. Know when you are out of core and learn quickly about the product, and its industry.
  • Know adjacent businesses and pursue them if you seek more opportunity. Bond origination and Insurance are adjacent. In theory, so is Estate Agency but estate agents will tell you very different so listen to their advice.
  • Take your team with you. The old analogy of riding into the sunset whilst the posse breathes in your dust, is true. Don’t go it alone; you might end up there.


3. Relationships:

I wrote a blog called Relational Affinity so I don’t really want to repeat myself. However, most business depends on relationships. They mean the difference between transactional business – doing many deals with different people –  and, relational business – doing many deals with the same people [in a spirit of mutual respect and trust].

When Zero is your reality, the good news about relationships is that they become a higher barrier to entry. Think of it this way: It is really hard to break into origination when you have to develop new relationships rather than enjoying doing the business with long-standing relationships. On the other hand, holding onto long-standing relationships is even more important when Zero is your reality than in the “good times” when “everyone” is buying and selling.

Cherish your relationships is all I’m saying. Keep them strong, loyal and resilient as they are a very source of your success.

That’s All Folks! is the famous ending of Walt Disney cartoons. Some of you will say: Thank Goodness!

But “positive” is not just the opposite of “negative”.  It is also the advice that comes from experience; the advice we sometimes know but just need reminding of. Nothing is new in the last three blogs but, I can tell you, failure to heed some of these elements of business, have taught many businesses very harsh lessons. On the other hand, heeding some or all of them, has kept many a business alive and enabled it to prosper and even take emerging Opportunities, when times were less than favourable.

Homeloan Junction cannot promise you good news all the time. Personally, I find these blogs daunting when politicians and the like are stealing or talking rubbish to adherents, and we’re on the cusp [25th] of a Rating review. It is tough to be positive and I won’t be simply do it to sound like I am. But, sound advice, in the face of very low economic growth, is also positive and even, caring. We care about the businesses that associate with us and we care about the decade-and-longer relationships that we have nurtured over the years. Our success is linked to your success and that commercial umbilical cord means far more to us than you imagine. In that spirit of inter-dependency we write; hoping that something of value is imparted to you in your personal and business capacities.

Yours in Property.


So what do we say, South Africa?

Against the backdrop of S&P’s “steady as she goes” decision, we have won a reprieve. That is until December 2016. Remember, we still have Fitch to come and if I was a rumour-monger, I would say they exited SA early this year in order to deliver bad news from afar.  But, that would be churlish as Rating agencies are particularly circumspect before they deliver judgements upon economies, especially those that result in sub-investment grade. As I recall we will have their decision within a month.

Who’ve we got to thank? Not Boland Bank but two institutions. The one is Pravin Gordhan and his Treasury team who must have done an amazing job in the past 6 months to avert a certain downgrade. Recovering from Nenegate, straight into Budget 2016/7, navigating Guptagate and all the speculation around it and then walking through the fire with the Hawks and their implication. What a feat for Treasury to whom we owe a debt of gratitude.

The other is Business. Thank goodness that in December 2015, they rallied around the change of mind about David van Rooyen and began what may prove to be the best Public Private Partnership [PPP] in our modern economic history. The teams that volunteered to work with government must have laid the ground for solid feedback on growth, labour and jobs to be positioned with S&P. Who knows but that in these early stages, we are not laying the foundation for progressive growth targets with the necessary compromise between Labour and Business so as to achieve meaningful employment in the balance of the year and beyond?

Of course, there were those of us [even me if I’m honest] that wondered if we could avoid the downgrade. On the back of Friday the 3rd’s news, many have said, “Well, we still have to get through December”. Let me tell you, if you had given me “stay as you are but prove yourself” as an outcome on Thursday, I would have taken it with both hands. We can face Fitch with new confidence and assuredness that we have the presentation, the evidence and the support to remain as is and work forward.

The great thing now is that we have a fighting chance. And we can come out on top. Many have referred to the Social Compact and this era could be the very galvanization that we need to find Government, Labour and Business around the table.

One thing we know is that we trade in Hope and its cousin, Confidence. With a market happily over 54000 and a Rand smilingly below R15, we have early stage Confidence. For you and I in the property industry, Confidence = Sales.

It’s a short, sweet note, this blog. Let’s hope Fitch is convinced we have the teams and mettle to improve and the wisdom to focus while we vote. Then they leave us “as is” to get on with being better by yearend. And with that decision made, that our market enjoys a fillip going into the 3rd quarter as we shrug off the negativity with a sense that all will be well.

Wishful thinking or Reality? Like Ford said: “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Let’s trust we’re going to surprise ourselves. And in any case, surprize yourself in the second half of 2016.


Yours in Property,

Jack Trevena

What is Bridging Finance?

Does this scenario sound familiar? Mark is planning to move to Pretoria with his family. The plan is to buy a new house from the proceeds of the sale of his current house. However, he will not be able to buy his new house before the purchase and transfer of the old residence is completed.

Fortunately, he doesn’t have to lose the new house. He may take a bridging finance option which will allow him to access equity from his current residence and use it as a down payment on his new residence. Does this sound like an option for you?

You’ve Sold … Now What?

Congratulations, you’ve sold your house! Now, all you can think of is moving on and getting into a new place. The only problem is that a seller of property is only paid the net proceeds from the sale on registration of transfer.  This can seriously hamper your style, especially if you’re in a hurry to get your family settled in a new home. Nobody likes disruption, and a house move is right up there with the major contributors to stress. Living in limbo is even worse! How can you secure that new home?

Registration of transfer is a lengthy process that can take up to three months or even longer. Fortunately, there are registered credit providers who offer sellers like you access to their funds within 24 hours in the form of bridging finance.

Let’s take a closer look at bridging finance.

Interim Financial Solution

Bridging finance is a short-term loan, usually for a period of two weeks to about three years. It is interim financing before a permanent loan or the next stage of financing is settled. Once the permanent loan is acquired, some of the money is used to settle the bridging loan before proceeding with the other financial obligations.

The Ins and Outs of Bridging Finance

Bridging finance is more expensive that other forms of financing. The extra interest levied on the loan takes care of the risk involved in dispensing the loan. The fee paid for processing the loan is also higher than that of conventional loans. There might be other costs that are amortized over a shorter period such as equity participation for the lender. When applying for a bridging loan, the lender may ask for collateral from several sources and a lower loan to value ratio in order to cover the extra cost. Nevertheless, the process of applying for the loan can be quite simple.

Bridging finance is very common in the commercial sector where the borrowers would like to have the finance to close on an opportunity. What about property deals? Many buyers take a bridging loan to buy a well-priced property, quickly. Others take such loans to prevent a foreclosure that could be in the offing.

What About Rates And Taxes?

Remember, there might be other costs which need to be paid for in advance, such as rates and levies. In order for a property sale to be registered with the deeds office, the local council needs to issue a Rates and Taxes Clearance Certificate. Any arrears on your rates and taxes account need to be settled immediately – what if you are not in a position to do this? Like Mark, you’ll need an advance to settle this bill, get the Rates and Taxes Clearance Certificate, conclude the sale of your existing property … and only then secure your new home.

Don’t let a small thing like settling your account with your local municipality stand in the way of moving on to a fresh start in a dream home. The bridging finance loan is paid back once such a property is sold or refinanced with another type of financing. A bridging loan may be all that you need to secure the residential or commercial property of your dreams.

One thing to bear in mind when you’re looking for a bridging loan: it pays to go with a registered credit provider to get competitive rates and fees.

Does it sound like you could use bridging finance to relieve your financial stress? Get in Touch

Yours in Property


Buy-to-Let Home Loans

Buy-to-let home loans are the smart way for South Africans to invest for their future. Buy an investment property while your children are young and when their college-time for comes around, you can borrow against the investment property to help finance their education. When the home loan is fully paid up, you will not only have a property but also additional income every month.

The way to make money on a house is to buy it and keep it for a long time.  It is a lucrative way to supplement your retirement income. Because:

● someone else’s money is helping to buy your investment property;

● when the loan is paid off, the property and the growth value is yours;

● a property can be used as a tax deduction;

● besides the maintenance, it is a relatively unencumbered investment with excellent growth over time.

Getting a Buy-to-Let Home Loan

A successful buy-to-let investment begins with thorough investigation into buy-to-let home loans. If you do your homework and seek the support and advice of an experienced estate agent or bond originator, you will likely do well.

The less it costs you to borrow the investment money the greater your profit will eventually be. The way your taxes are structured will play a role in your margin of profit. Consult with your tax accountant before making any final decisions.

Begin By Researching On Your Own

A buy-to-let home loan is an investment strategy that is growing in popularity with South Africans. If you think property sounds like a promising investment for you search for a buy-to-let home loan lender on the Internet. There are calculators you can use to find answers to preliminary questions.

Questions such as: how much you can afford to invest in a rental property; is a down payment required; what the interest rate will be; the term over which the loan will run; if the loan can be repaid over a shorter period without incurring penalties.

Study the Real Estate Market

There is certain criteria to look for in an ideal real estate investment property. If you look at small to medium sized single-family homes, use this checklist:

  1. The house should be in good condition. It is okay to refresh the paintwork and the landscaping but you do not want to spend money on expensive refurbishments to a rundown house.
  2. The wise choice of house is not the most expensive on the street. The least expensive would be preferable because you will realise increased value if the nearby properties are expensive.
  3. Check the selling history of the neighbourhood. Have prices gone up or down over the last ten years? You want to see a steady increase.
  4. Your investment property will be attractive to many tenants if it is near schools, parks, a shopping centre and public transport. A stable and safe neighbourhood is a priority.
  5. Check the average rental of homes in the area to help determine the possible monthly return on your investment.

It is advisable to view and research several different areas. A real estate agent would likely be helpful in your investigation and save you some time. This is especially true if you decide to invest in commercial property instead of residential. Comparisons will require extensive investigation.

How do Your Numbers Compare?

When you pre-qualify yourself for a buy-to-let home loan, you find out how much you can afford to borrow for an investment property. You will also discover how much the loan repayments will be every month. These will differ according to the interest rates and loan term.

You will need to juggle the advantages of larger repayments over a shorter period – resulting in an overall eventual saving – opposed to a lower affordable monthly repayment over a longer period.

Part of the equation will be whether you can expect to receive a rental to offset the monthly buy-to-let home loan payment.

This exercise will tell you whether an investment property is the right decision for you at this time.

The Right Decision for You?

In South Africa, the buy-to-let loan market is at an all-time high. Rent with capital growth has become a favoured choice for additional retirement income since the returns on traditional annuities and endowments have proved inadequate for retirees to live comfortably.  It is somehow reassuring to be able to drive by, look at and or even touch your investment.

Property is as valid as any other investment asset. Over the last few years property asset investments have outperformed many other assets investments. Banks are well prepared to help investors with the purchase of buy-to-let residential and commercial properties. Would this be an investment choice for you?

Yours in Property,



In our December blogs, we commenced a trilogy of practical, challenging and good news articles for the Christmas Season. One of the quotes that I referred to was that of Anatole France: To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act. It is repeated for ease of reference.

As a quick recap, in our first article we wrote of four mission critical activities that you could undertake before Christmas so as to ensure a successful 2016. They are:

1.      Set a Vision bigger than you
2.      Determine the timeframe and set the milestones that need to be achieved
3.      Set the goals for the milestones
4.      Write down the plan of action

The second article was focused on the all-necessary, Execution. Indeed, the first is daydreaming if you do not Act with Intention. The headings were:

1.      Clear and communicated goals
2.      Bringing the resources to bear
3.      Management control
4.      Hard work

In this third and last blog as we rise into the fun and family of Christmas, is the most important mission critical activity in my humble opinion. In order to introduce the topic, one of my best learnings from a programme at Harvard was a quote by the ex-Chairman of ALCOA [the Canadian equivalent of Huletts Aluminium]. As background, he had been the CFO for many years when the board sought a new CEO. Of course he was highly competent at finance but may have lacked the “leadership flair” required to be the CEO. He managed to convince the board and was appointed. He tells of how he sweated over what he would do to stamp a culture of “People matter” into the organisation. He decided that as people do matter, he would introduce a culture of Care to the organisation.

Given the nature of his industry, he decided that Safety would be his first priority. Soon after his appointment with the issue of Safety clearly communicated as a matter of priority, he visited one of Alcoa’s plants. There he came across a person grinding metal without safety glasses. He asked why and discovered there were not sufficient glasses to go around so, on a first-come-first-served basis, some workers were allowed to take the daily risk of eye damage. He called the Supervisor over, confirmed the story and fired him on the spot. Word sped around and his leadership was stamped on what became an incredible period for the company. He then said this, which I repeat often:

People give you their hands, their heads and their hearts [and then what really struck me] and they give them to you in that order.

He made the reality and the requirement of making People your primary focus absolutely clear to me. He encapsulated all we require to make our businesses happy and healthy. He also raised the bar very high for me and every one I worked with. Indeed, it is obvious to me that Mutual Respect and A Sense of Belonging are core pillars for any business.

Let’s spend some time on the cusp of Christmas, unpacking these four elements:

1.Peoples’ Hands
You buy peoples’ hands. When you interview a new person and appoint the best of the candidates, you make them a job offer which they accept. The first thing they read is the salary, the benefits and the bonus. The rest is waffle that they eventually prove or disprove. I read my son’s job offer the other day and it commenced, quite un-customarily, with a statement about the culture of the company and the style of management and employee interaction that they sought to portray, them to him and him to them. I was impressed with that and wished I had applied such a statement in my offers over the years. It became the mirror against which he and they could reflect every interaction going forward in his career. What’s most impressive is that they have not let him down on one issue so far. But that said, they have paid him and bought his hands. His labour, or as the economists would call it, his unit of labour is R”So much” per hour and his Letter of Appointment tells him the hours he must work per day for the pay he will receive.

It is tragic that many labour polls repeatedly confirm that staff have decided that, treated as a unit of labour, you can only expect their work. Given the hours [obviously excluding lunch, tea times and smoke breaks in this scenario] and the job’s instructions, that’s what you can expect. No more, no less. I have worked with many people in large corporates that see work as a means to an end – it’s not just prevalent in government.

2.Peoples’ Heads
So how do you break out of such a menial, labour-only mentality? Begin to see people having a sense of meaning and a desire to achieve.

Two well-known motivational theories come to mind: Maslow and Herzberg’s theories. Maslow believed people seek to rise from Physiological needs, through Social and Emotional needs to the Need to Self-Actualise. Stephen Covey of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People fame, took this a step further to Self-transcendence being the need to actualise in order to serve others and live life at a level higher than your self-centred needs. Of course, self-preservation to self-transcendence is a journey but, as a leader, you can assist in motivating the upward tendency at the level of each individual’s potential.

Herzberg [Google his theory for further insight] speaks of Hygiene factors and Motivators. Hygiene factors eg never enough paper for the copier machine [or the toilet :)], aggravate people but only become conspicuous by their absence. They need to be solved before their irritation turns into a reason for demotivation. But, Motivators such as Achievement, Promotion, and Recognition, become lasting forms of motivation. Only once in my life have I seen a person who questioned their promotion and eventually stepped down; the rest were extremely happy. When last did you restructure a job to give more responsibility, catch someone doing something right, compliment achievement or tell someone they have what it takes to succeed? If you want heads at work – thinking, questioning, curious, initiating, deciding, improving heads at work, then look to yourself and the manner in which you handle people.

3.Peoples’ Hearts
Hearts are not easily or quickly won. Just watch The Bachelor J. We all feel vulnerable giving our hearts to someone – will I let them down, will they reject me, it’s just silly or too emotional, will they hurt me or divulge confidence? How much more unlikely giving your heart to your company or your boss? It’s very tough to win people’s hearts. So what is the secret to getting the brain switched on as the employee enters their office and then giving it everything they’ve got as an individual and as a key team player with their colleagues and their team? You build trust and confidence; it takes time and patience. Look how the ALCOA CEO started – Safety first – and then the rest. In a multi-billion Dollar enterprise, he put the People first and fired anyone who didn’t understand the Rule – for him it was not a game; the protection of his employees was non-negotiable and sending them safe to their families every night was HIS responsibility. How do you think it feels when you work with [never “for”] a boss like that? If you can trust him to worry about your eyesight, perhaps you could trust him with other important things. And, by the way, his Union relationships improved dramatically as well.

So it is, you win peoples’ hearts one step at a time. What do you get for your effort? Commitment, Dedication, Loyalty [not the kind you only get from a Labrador], Compassion, Others-centeredness, Care, Growth and, a big one, Willingness. I have been blessed to experience those kinds of people even in the most dire of circumstances. Each of us who floundered our way through 2008-2010 needed every scrap of “heart” that everyone could muster. Try retrenching people when you’re still doing well because pipeline is still strong whilst explaining that the pipeline was going to collapse soon [by 90% eventually] and the packages they are receiving now would not be available when that happened. You need Heart right then ‘cause hands and heads just don’t cut it. And even better, when things are going well and recognition is being handed out, Heart accepts it gratefully and determines to do more. Perhaps, in a nutshell, it’s just amazing to work in a company where hands, heads and hearts come together every morning to enrich colleagues’ and customers’ lives.

4.Peoples’ Order of Priority
Let’s dwell on the negative for just a moment to make a point. If you breach “heart” in a relationship, everything recedes immediately back to “hands”. A sad fact. It is no different in your personal life as what it is in your business life; it takes years to build trust and confidence and minutes to dent, or worse, destroy it.

On the positive side [it’s Christmas after all], the process of building from hands to head to heart is quite possible. Believe it or not, the Golden Rule is a very good place to start. How do you like being treated? You accept a job you’re confident you can do, you get paid month after month, you get some targets and you work hard to achieve them and then you are promoted by a boss who indicates they like you and you receive an increase and carry on performing and then, when your parent dies, the boss goes to the memorial service out of respect for you……..not too difficult when you read it. And what’s the Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have them do to you”. It sounds childlike, but it isn’t that much more complex. Let’s try it another way. You take the job, but it’s a little more than you can chew so you approach your boss and they agree to help you. You start with some mentoring and they set tasks for you to achieve. If you don’t, they correct you and if you do, they compliment you. Slowly but surely, admitting mistakes and building self-confidence, you achieve higher and higher targets and get rewarded in the process. How does it feel and what would you not do for that “fabulous” boss? You could probably mention someone who has meant that much to you – a teacher, a spouse, a boss – someone who built your confidence, enthused you to higher things and privileged your life. The order is always the same – hands, head and then heart – and your personal values have much to do with the process. To explore this further, you may wish to look at McClelland’s X and Y theory. How you choose to see people often determines the height to which they rise; starting with your spouse and your children.

It has been a privilege writing these blogs for Homeloan Junction. They have stretched me and caused me to revise what I know and research what I need to know. If they have benefited you in any way, we are pleased that we could make a small difference in your life. 2016, in the light of local and global events, looms before us. But, as a nation, we have known worse and overcome with application and faith. We will do so again. For each of us, the challenge is to do what we can, to influence what we can and to harness the resource of our People to achieve the goals we have set and agreed. It is no different for a self-manager, or Homeloan Junction, a corporate or a country. We trust you will take the time to reflect on a vision greater than you and then action it to the point that your heart knows meaning and blessing in the years that lie ahead. Two sayings, believe it or not, off T-shirts in a gym:

Whoever you are

Wherever you go

Whatever you do

Be Yourself and live your dreams.


I determine to:

Be Active

Be Healthy

Be happy

Be Me.


And one for the road, the prayer of St Patrick of Ireland:

May the road rise to meet you, 

May the wind be always at your back, 

May the sun shine warm upon your face, 

May the rains fall soft upon your fields, 

And, until we meet again, 

May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.


Happy Christmas!

Yours in Property



Inside Tips on getting your homeloan approved first time

Let’s face it, particularly in the South African context; securing a homeloan in order to purchase your first home can be quite scary. Do you even qualify? Most men and women dream of settling down and starting their own family and to have their very own home in which to do this. The bad news is that the challenges of meeting the criteria as a first-time and successful applicant have increased. Does this mean you won’t qualify?

Here are 5 insider tips to help you to secure the homeloan that will help you buy your dream home:

Tip #1 Create a Record of Good Standing
Many first-time applicants have had their home loan application rejected. Why? The problem lies in the fact that young applicants have no credit record and history of their ability to pay promptly and consistently. So, in spite of having saved for a deposit with the bank, you may not be able to secure that homeloan simply because you have no other loans. Before making an application, spend some months creating a good credit history by paying smaller loans on time, like your cell phone or clothing accounts.

Tip #2 Generate Financial Discipline
While the country’s leading lending institutions and major estate agents warned against this, the government under Thabo Mbeki was determined to and ultimately succeeded in relaxing credit access rules and lending criteria. There are two ironies in this. One; Mbeki’s Minister of Finance (who did not have jurisdiction over these rulings) was openly opposed to the relaxing of previously prudent credit rules. Two; while the banks were initially sceptical when the laws were quickly passed, they obligingly processed new applications and granted them. This proved to be a disaster waiting to happen. The trick is to have financial discipline – don’t accept just any offer of credit. Make sure that you can afford the repayments first. This way you won’t be in any danger of being blacklisted.

Tip #3 Make Formal Inquiries with Home Loan Junction
Today, the homeloan application process is relatively simple and straightforward, and most South Africans with access to computers, laptops, mobile devices and the internet, can self-test while completing a pre-application. Correctly, banking criteria still prefer the first-time applicant (or any applicant for that matter) to make a formal application and ideally with one of our officials in person (although the application can, in certain instances, be made online). Invariably applicants are reminded of, or advised on what records and documentation are required to make inroads towards a successful application.

Tip #4 Ask About Options and Opportunities
In reaction to the disastrous effects of the relaxation of credit lending criteria, the government initiated new legislation which saw the founding of the National Credit Regulator which essentially acts as a watchdog for both clients and lenders. This has also made the homeloan application process more difficult for many applicants. But, today there are still companies, particularly new entrants to the personal and home lending markets, arguing in favour of more flexible, merit-based and opportunistic rules. Their argument is sound because if more people have access to credit within the parameters of properly regulated checks and balances, of course, the country benefits economically as a whole.

Tip #5 See What You Can Afford
Let it be known that all is not lost for new applicants. Homeloan Junction leaves them with some clues on how to go about securing their homeloan successfully. As a bond originator and not a traditional lender, We promises a speedy delivery of services ideal for helping you plan ahead of time. The emphasis is also on savings and tools which are available online to help you assess affordability and whether you qualify for a first-time loan. We also offer innovative alternatives to traditional bonds which could see you paying far less in the long term and also paying off your loan over a shorter period of time.

Tip #6 And Learn How Much You Can Save
For more information on whether you meet all criteria and what you can do next, you can contact Homeloan Junction directly online. Our service and advice is free.  Blog posts on our website have important information on what influences first-time home buyers.

In view of all the challenges, expectant applicants should have realistic objectives. With enough information on the home buying process, and with online calculators at their fingertips, there is no reason why South Africans cannot plan and succeed in buying their home at their first attempt.

Part of our service entails good advice based on experience and qualifications. Talk to Homeloan Junction today about how you can successfully secure your loan. We have contact with banks and conveyancers and knowledge of the products, and various credit terms available to advise you of all the options which will best serve your requirements.

How better to serve your needs than to approach a company who will, on your behalf, motivate and negotiate one of the most important deals of your life? Homeloan Junction is a one-stop service complete with efficiency and convenience at the tips of your fingers.

Yours in Property


individual or firm; they are not more important or less important. A friend of mine consults to a coffee company. They have the opportunity of cracking the Retailer market [high turnover, low margin] or of rolling out a franchise of brilliantly branded coffee cafes. The first strategy looks powerful on paper, but the second, by far less in turnover, makes more money. Interesting for the entrepreneur because he physically can’t do both. He is faced with goal prioritisation and then goal optimisation as he executes. Poor goal clarification can lead to a “straddled” strategy –  attempt to do everything and, whilst I may not fail at everything, I don’t optimise outcomes as I could have if I was focussed. In the book by Ashbury and Ball, The Winning Ways, they quoted Meyer Kahn, then-CEO of SAB, as saying he just did one thing every year. Sound seriously simplistic, almost childish. But you see his goal in those days was to internationalise SAB and become the biggest brewery in the world. His business managed 2nd and anyone who has SAB shares knows what’s happening right now as Anhauser Busch moves to acquire SAB, gain and African footprint, and be by far, the #1 brewer in the world. So your goal needs to be owned and communicated as the most important thing you need to achieve. If not, beware the new year resolution quandary.

  1. Bringing the resources to bear

In the course of establishing milestones or, in other words, laying out the journey of the Plan, you would have given thought to what it takes to achieve the goals. Apart from the caveat that entrepreneurs often take big risks, knowing what it requires to take on your goals is fundamental to Execution. Early January, you will begin committing resource to your Vision and its Plan. In the coffee example above, the owner needs to employ a Financial Manager without whom his tax, debtors and quick expansion could vaporise his business. A friend of mine taught me that businesses fail for two reasons: Success and Failure itself. Whatever the latter is you will understand, but the former is harder to comprehend. Success, and what the bankers call Overtrading, goes hand in hand. You may need new staff, more staff, new offices, more offices, more cash resources, more marketing, more stock – whatever is “more” could lead to unsuccessful Execution. From observation, Success fails even more conspicuously than Failure or, put another way, it’s just a bigger mess. So dedicate the resources that you have to the top priority goals and don’t overstretch them. Getting “one thing” done properly is more important as you build success than attempting everything. The only antidote to inadequate resources is clear prioritisation.

And, by the way, for many estate agencies, the most vulnerable resource is the Principal – You. Stretched too thin, you cannot execute optimally. You may put in the effort but something is bound to fail – your health or relationships, for example. You’re human so pace your ability to Execute as if it is a scarce  resource. By doing so, you may avoid much disappointment.

  1. Management control

I often think that this management discipline is the most neglected of all. In 1916, Henri Fayol laid down 5 functions of Management which were condensed over the years to four: Planning Organising, Leading and Controlling. Let’s face it, by the time you’ve done the first three successfully, the fourth seems redundant. Nothing could be further from the truth and, I would go so far as to say, what you don’t Control will control you. The five pillars of Management Control are: Set the Goal, Measure Performance, Evaluate Performance, Correct or Reward and Feedback [into Goal Setting]. A process is required to control an outcome. Space allows for just a few points: (a) Ensure that you can measure your goals. Some say you only get what you measure. (b) Evaluation takes time and effort. Look at what went wrong and what went right, assess future performance and what needs to change and compare current to desired outcomes. (c) We all correct well but few of us stop to reward well. From a pat on the back, to a restaurant voucher, to a monetary incentive to a large bonus – all Reward is good to ensure continued performance to goals. (d) Feedback is the process that informs direction. Think of it this way, you get to a destination by steering the car away from deviation and putting it back on course over and over again. Management Control is just like that and is mission critical to Execution.

  1. Hard work

The founder of Twitter was interviewed the other day. Asked about their success he retorted: Isn’t it funny how 10 years of hard work looks like an instant success? To the same point, many years ago our Bank came up with a slogan: Work smarter not harder, as part of a values campaign. I’ve got to be honest, I have never understood that and have always resorted to hard work, the right kind of focussed work, as a prerequisite for success. Continual attention to detail, looking for new things, personal application to the task, risk management and expenditure of effort has a way of winning through. I know successful people and all of them look like an instant success after years of hard work and sacrifice. Why should you and I be any different? In the process, don’t ignore three things: Exercise, Eating and Sleep.

Execution makes the difference between success and failure. In between is mediocrity. Only Success is desirable. 2016 can only be successful against a Plan that is well Executed. Otherwise hope for a geluksskoot [“a lucky shot”]. On the other hand, it is highly probable that a well-considered Plan and a great Execution will pay you rich dividends and serve others in the process. Why would you choose anything less for yourself and those you value?

There is one more ingredient, I believe. People.

Yours in Property

If you knew you had December to make your business highly successful in 2016, what would you do?

“‘Tis the Season to be jolly tralalalalalalalah”.

So the carol goes. But just reading the pre-reporting on the Fitch rating which may see SA Inc achieve junk bond status on 4 December 2015, the “jolly” turns to “golly” in one foul swoop.

So for that reason, at the entree to this beautiful Christmas Season [I really struggle with “the Holidays” so please forgive me], I deem it a good idea to write a trilogy of uplifting articles. Trilogy, because I also need a break between Christmas, that very special Holiday, and New Year, that time when all the resolutions kick in.

If you knew you had December to make your business [read Life, if you will] highly successful in 2016, what would you do? Run for the hills, Dream big, Plan, Act, Take advice, Retrench your dead wood, Drink champagne, Motivate your people, Have a workshop, Write your thoughts down, [Eat, Love and] Pray; really, what would you do? This is the month of determination; in it you set the course for all that achieves success in 2016 – so what would you do?

We don’t know your circumstances, but if you’re reading this blog, you probably are a person who seeks to learn by being informed and challenged. You probably take the smallest scraps of thinking and learning and coagulate them into something you can work with to develop yourself and your relationships and your business. If you’re that kind of person, read on. Below are four major highlights that will define your year commercially and which deserve attention this month before you take a break. Four is not magical and I’m sure there may be more for you. However, dedicated focus on these four things are proven to be key ingredients of success.

First, an anecdote from my days at Nedbank.  At one Homeloan conference, a thoughtful organiser put a small card on my pillow that said: To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act. The quote was by the famous French poet, journalist and novelist, Anatole France, who was awarded the Nobel peace prize for Literature in 1921. Another anecdote, which quote by Zig Ziglar I sent to my Son a few days ago, is: When you catch a glimpse of your potential, that’s when passion is born.

1.Set a Vision bigger than you

You see, Anatole was right to call the dream into being. Nothing in the conditionality he places on action detracts from our God-given right and responsibility to dream. There is  a thought that if your dream doesn’t scare you, it isn’t big enough. I would say that is extreme but something in there does raise the bar. My school motto is Per Ardua ad Astra which means “By hard work to the Stars”. I like that and wouldn’t if I believed in get-rich-quick schemes. It’s the “to the Stars” part that lifts your chin, drives out your fears and burns in your heart. It is the Vision in you that keeps you constantly thinking, wondering, searching and striving until you find the Confidence that this dream, this Vision, is for you. If you can’t buy the “hyper” in what I’m saying, then think about this – What would you like to change so that you double what you have now in one year? Sales, originations, the depth of a relationship, turnover or money? What would it take to do that versus what price you are prepared to pay? If the formula is acceptable to you, then what stops you from achieving that dream? In the stating of it comes the angst of how I would do it; in the envisioning lies the challenge and the risk. But without the genesis of this thought “any ol’ place” would be good enough. If there ever was a distinction between our soul and our spirit, it would be the deep desire for more that lies in the spirit. You can be content with what you have and where you are or you can begin to thirst for more. Set a Vision that is bigger than you. 

2.Determine the time-frame and set the milestones that need to be achieved

Bring your Vision down to earth. Unless you’re a dreamer, dreaming is a beginning but not the desired outcome. Our minds love pictures and can bathe themselves in daydreams and images all day long. Sweet dreams we say to our loved ones, but then they’re going to sleep! Given our December challenge above, there’s no time for sleeping just yet. We can rest later. You need to begin to think out what milestones will direct your achievement and when you would expect to see them on the journey to success. To keep it simple, milestones are quantitative indicators of your achievement. Think of it like this: any salesman loves the “hockey stick” approach to his annual goal. For years I’ve seen that, off target up to September, the super-salesman thinks he can achieve the rest in the last quarter. True maybe, if you’re GM of a holiday resort, but for the rest of us mere mortals, you probably can’t “shoot the lights out” in the final sprint any more than you could in the previous 3 quarters. Salespeople, yes you and me my Originator and Estate Agent friends, love the hockey stick and it’s expected air-punch but, alas, it seldom works. If you’re travelling Joburg to Cape Town in 14 hours, doing 90km/hour for the first 900kms will leave you with much catch-up from Worcester. The problem then is you hit law enforcement, sharp bends through the Hex and more traffic. Life and its achievement is no different and by the time you realise your mistake, it’s too late. From a brain point of view, as you click from the Vision in the right brain, you enter the Reality of the left brain. There you need milestones and a good sense of timing to keep focused on the destination.Determine the time frame and set the milestones that need to be achieved.

  1. Set the goals for the milestones

In point 2 I said the milestones are indicators. Give or take an hour or 30 kilometres, not achieving a particular milestone is not a major issue when you’re on the road. But in business, indications are not enough. Goals are required. If you look at the five pillars of Management Control: Set the Goal, Measure Performance, Evaluate Performance, Correct or Reward and Feedback [into Goal Setting], then you can see that a process is required to control an outcome. “Ag, it’s only 30 minutes” is fine for normal day-to-day driving, but winning rally drivers have their navigators assess their progress by the second, literally. Goals enable the fine tuning necessary for specific achievement. Goals are the hard rock of success. Over is good but Under is simply not acceptable to a Winner. Setting goals is hard work. You need to think and challenge yourself and re-think. You need to drill down into the milestones, decide on the price you’re prepared to pay and then drive out the appropriate, non-negotiable goals you want to achieve. Anything less in a plan is simply wishful thinking and the next time to get to think about it, you’ll be facing the indeterminable “hockey stick” reality. Set the goals for the milestones. Now!

  1. Write down the plan of action

In the Good Book, Habakkuk was told to write the vision down. Hey but it such a cool Vision, why not just announce it and turn it into reality. The reason was simple: We Forget. The plan is the document where you write down the Vision, its milestones and the goals. Then you write down the actions required and mentally rank their level of difficulty so as to understand the obstacles to their achievement. What you need to overcome is as important as prerequisites. You can reach for the stars as long as you like but you better get a ladder or “go virtual”. Not seeing these obstacles to a Plan and dealing them upfront is a figment of the imagination. One word of caution though, as I revert to this almost mathematical process.  Entrepreneurs see the vision, the milestones, the goals and the action plan but often choose to ignore the requirements. Sheer passion says I will [read: want to] do this “whatever it takes”. Fundamental to this approach and attitude is that I am a firm believer that Risk and its concomitant action, Risk Management, is fundamental to success. Entering a business, creating a BIHAG [Big Hairy Audacious Gaol], deciding to marry, all require you to take risks and then manage them. Why? Well, on the one hand, little goals are “more of the same”, they’re incremental and risk mitigating whilst big goals need you to jump at some stage. Once you jump, you’re committed; no turning back. On the other hand, you just cannot see all the pitfalls in the beginning. We often read about the overcoming of a Hilary Tensing team, Ford and Edison. The question is would they have started in the first place if they knew what they would face along the journey? You can’t see it all and the bigger the goal, the longer the timeframe, so the less you can see. But what Reward awaits Success! Write down the plan of action.

So there you have it plain and simple. You now have a choice, get ready to go on leave and just enjoy the silly season, or, do the hard yard to revolutionise your circumstances. It’s always a choice and the choice confronts us many time about many things in life.

In our next part of the trilogy, we’ll have a look at Execution. It truly is the sine qua non of Success. It is the as well as act of Anatole’s quote.

Homeloan Junction epitomises what we’re speaking about. It was built out of the ashes of Sub-Prime to be a top Performer in Evo, Ooba’s Aggregation business, in a few years. Why not approach us to see how we could help you turn your dreams for starting an origination business, or multiplying your existing success, into reality?

Yours in Property.