Since opening their doors 4 years ago, Seeff Richards Bay co-owners husband and wife Elaine and Silven Chetty have done more than welcome their first child into the world – at the Seeff National Awards celebrating successes in 2012, their branch won the National Rental Office of the Year award, as well as Most Improved Licensee of the Year.
Dave Jones, Seeff Kwazulu-Natal’s Regional Relationship Manager, says that Seeff Richards Bay has had a “phenomenal growth in rentals – they sign up on average 30 rentals every month, which is a feat that exceeds expectations for a mid-sized branch and firmly places Richards Bay as the best performing rental office in KwaZulu-Natal. Their branch growth in terms of sales increased 49% last year in the context of a successful regional team which showed a group sales growth of 25% for the same period.
“This success is down to their having a team that is aligned with what they want to achieve and with the Seeff brand. All of their agents are either fully accredited or close to being fully accredited with the mandatory NQF4 level real estate qualification, which sets them apart from their competitors since clients prefer working with ‘property professionals’.”
Elaine Chetty describes the rental market in Richards Bay: “Seeff Richards Bay has grown its rental book by constantly providing value for the landlord by taking away the hassle normally associated with managing a property. We have three experienced rental brokers – who feature among Seeff’s top 15 brokers nationally – coupled with two rental administrators, who ensure that both tenants and landlords receive service that is professional and sincere. Our thorough credit checks done on prospective tenants ensure that our number of defaulting tenants is limited, which landlords obviously want.
“Banks are still sticky when it comes to financing bonds, so most clients are forced to rent while saving up for deposits. They can easily afford the rental prices in Richards Bay, which are mainly between R5000 and R9000 a month, although we also have rentals above this range. With numerous industries in the area, labour moving in and out of Richards Bay is also driving the rental market. Expansions to these industries cause a surge in demand, driving up rental prices.”
They currently have over 400 clients who have enquired about properties for 1 September, and need more rental stock in order to meet the demand. Most popular choices for rental at R5000–R9000 are security complexes, although Chetty says free-standing houses have been becoming more popular recently with families wanting space. “Free-standing homes go for about R8000 per month in some areas, whilst the more affluent areas reach in excess of R15 000 per month. However, our typical tenant is aged 27–35 years and looking for pet-friendly complexes.”
She sees the property market in Richards Bay performing as it has over the past 18 months, with sales volumes improving slightly. “The rental market will remain buoyant as the shortage in stock and banks still not releasing finance easily will drive more people to rent in the foreseeable future. Buy-to-let investments for the Richards Bay area remain a good choice, as there is a definite shortage of properties while demand is high. We have one new off-plan development, Cedar Park II, which consists of two-bedroom units, selling at R565 000. These will definitely satisfy some of the rental demand we face. Developers are choosing to target the mid-price range of R500 000–R900 000 as they have done their homework on the rental demand here.”
Contact Seeff Richards Bay Elaine Chetty on 083 513 5559; email firstname.lastname@example.org.