• 1
    Can I view the property before buying it?
    • Viewings are most certainly welcomed and encouraged! Please make sure to arrange a viewing with your relevant agent as soon as possible in order to avoid missing out on a great deal. Many of our properties get sold on the very first viewing/showing due to the high demand of our properties as well as our large investor client base and following. It is therefore important that you make sure that you are able to attend the first viewing if you are interested in viewing the property.

  • 2
    Can you assist me in applying for a bond?
    • Indeed we can. We have a finance department that will gladly assist you in applying for your bond at South Africa's four major banks. Our finance department will simply request a few documents from yourself, and after that you get to sit back while we handle the entire process on your behalf.

  • 3
    How can I minimize my risk with tenants as an investor?
    • Many investors out there unfortunately do not realize that there are many ways to minimize your risk as an investor when it comes to dealing with tenants in general, for example: 

      • Carry out a thorough screening process before signing a lease agreement with any tenant (perform a background check with tenant’s previous landlords, credit check, affordability assessment etc)
      • Rental insurance companies exists allowing landlords to mitigate their risk greatly. These rental insurance companies allow you to insure the loss of your rental in the case of your tenant defaulting during any particular month. 
      • Taking 2 months deposit upfront to cover yourself further encase of a defaulting tenant, or to cover any breakages that may have occurred up until the point that the tenant decides to move out. 
      • Have your letting agent do regular inspections on the property in order to record how well your tenants are maintaining your property.  
      • Install pre-paid electricity meters to make sure your tenant only uses what they can afford.  

      These are just a few ways that is one is able to minimize their risk as a landlord. The key is knowing what measures to put in place, and then simply going ahead and doing it. The great news is that this can all be left up to a specialist letting agent which allows you to focus your time on expanding your portoflio.

      IMAGINE is in partnership with one of the largest and most reputable letting agencies in South Africa who have been managing our client’s portfolios for many years with great success.

  • 4
    Do you have someone that can source a tenant for me and carry out the full blown management of my property on a monthly basis?
    • Indeed we do. We are partners with the largest and most reputable letting agent in South Africa. They cover all aspects such as sourcing a reliable tenant, carrying out monthly maintenance on your property, monthly rental collections, levy and electricity payments on your behalf if needed etc. This allows you to sit back and focus your time on expanding your portfolio without the every day management hassles that most ‘self managed’ landlords encounter.


      The cost of this full blown management service is a small monthly fee normally around 10% to 12% of the rental collected on a monthly basis (better rates can be negotiated depending on the size of your portfolio). This is money well spent considering that you are able to delegate the entire management process of your portfolio without needing to be involved in the day to day nitty gritty of it all. Note that the only way to grow your portfolio to a decent size is to delegate the management side of it. 

  • 5
    Is it wise to invest in a property outside of my home city?
    • We often get asked whether its viable to own property (and manage it) while living in another city. The answer is, of course it is viable. In fact, most of South Africa’s top property investors own property all over the country, the key is to have a good management system in place. You may be surprised to know that many of our clients are South Africans living overseas, and they continue to purchase positive cash flow property on a monthly basis and hence continue to expand their portfolios. Many of our clients have built portfolios of substantial sizes and are currently enjoying tremendous capital growth and extraordinary cash flow returns while living abroad and delegating the full blown management of their portfolio. If they can do it while living abroad, you can do it while living in a different city.

      So how does one delegate the management side of things? After you have purchased a property through us, we will immediately refer you to our partner managing agent that will take care of absolutely everything involving the monthly management of your property. This includes tasks such as sourcing a tenant, carrying out any required maintenance on the property down the line if need be, monthly rental collections, levy and electricity payments on your behalf (if required), as well as any other management related tasks which may need to be carried out. One of the secrets to succeeding in the property game is to delegate the tedious every day tasks in order to free up your time in order to focus on doing more deals and hence expanding your empire of wealth.

JHB CBD and Pretoria CBD investing

  • 1
    Why invest in the Inner City of Johannesburg and Pretoria?
    • As with anything in this world, you will very seldom succeed without doing your home work and researching the opportunity in detail. Many people looking to buy their first investment property in the inner city suburbs (or CBD) of Joburg and Pretoria may have heard about the lucrative positive cash flow opportunities and incredibly high tenant demand, however they immediately run for the hills after hearing one or two ‘nightmare tenant’ stories from some skeptical and misinformed investor who developed false and negative views of the area due to one or two rumours he had once heard.

      Any experienced inner city property investor will tell you that dealing with tenants in these inner city suburbs is no different to dealing with tenants in any other area of South Africa (in fact inner city tenants are in many ways easier to source and manage). As with any successful rental portfolio it all boils down to the initial tenant screening process, followed by efficient and effective management. One of the biggest questions we get asked is “who is going to be collecting my rent every month and managing my property?”. We are proud to say that we are affiliated with one of the largest and most reputable letting agencies in South Africa who specialize solely in these inner city areas, and have been managing our client’s portfolios over many years with great success. Lets uncover some of the biggest myths when it comes to investing in the inner city....

  • 2
    MYTH : “I’ve heard that inner city tenants are a lot more risky than your middle to upper end ‘leafy suburb’ tenants”
    • No matter where your investment properties are located in South Africa, if one fails to perform a thorough background check as well as an affordability assessment on your tenant, well then you’re asking for trouble no matter where you invest in S.A. The CBD / inner city is no different, the exact same principle applies. It really is a pity that so many misinformed investors out there have been led to believe that you are less likely to receive your rent every month from a CBD / inner city tenant compared to that of a tenant in the middle to upper end ‘leafy suburbs’. After many years of investing in the CBD, we (as well as our clients) have found this to be quite the opposite. 

      Tenants earning steady income vs those that are self employed:

      Your middle to upper end tenants are in fact more risky than your average inner city tenants, one of the many reasons is that most tenants in the middle to upper end market are small business owners. Due to the nature of small businesses, regular financial ups and downs are experienced due to the instability of small businesses in general (a staggering 95% of all small businesses fail within their first 5 yrs). In addition, your middle to upper end tenant’s business need only have one ‘bad’ month which could result in your rent being paid late (or not paid at all). This compared to inner city tenants who are typically earning a steady income as most are working for large corporate companies and government organizations. An inner city tenant’s salary/income is therefore far more secure than a self employed tenant.

      Multiple rent contributors vs one single contributor

      In addition to the above, in the middle to upper end market your entire rental payment is typically being paid by one single bread winner in the house hold, as opposed to CBD / inner city tenants who typically share their rental payment (for example 3 ways) on a monthly basis (eg. in the case of 3 young professionals sharing). This means that in order for the inner city tenants to deafult on the full rental payment, all of the contributing tenants would need to default on the exact same month, and chances of this happening are extremely slim. Whereas with the middle to upper end tenant it simply takes the only contributing individual to default and your entire rental (which is typically a far larger sum of money) is lost in full. 

      Higher rentals in the middle to upper end market can result in a bigger knock for the investor if your tenant defaults

      The worst aspect about your middle to upper end tenant defaulting is that we aren’t talking about a mere R 3500 inner city rental which is being lost, we are talking about a rental payment of between R 8000 and R 35 000 which is being lost. Aside from the larger rental amount that you are losing out on, you are left with a far bigger bond installment to now pay out of your own pocket as typically the property was bought for at least 4 times the price of your average CBD / inner city flat.

      CBD / inner city suburbs offer a far higher rental demand

      Another beneficial factor about the inner city suburbs is that the rental demand is incredibly high due to these tenants wanting to be close to the work place. It is not uncommon for letting agencies in the inner city to source a good paying tenant within 48 hrs of advertising a particular flat. This compared to the middle to upper end market whereby you might be waiting anything up to 6 months to secure a qualified tenant. The reason for this lengthy tenant sourcing period in the middle to upper end market is that only a minority of the South African population can afford to live there, this leaves the lower end market (CBD / inner city) with an extremely high and vibrant demand for rental housing. 

      After considering the above aspects, which tenants sound more risky to you? 
      Other Factors Making The CBD Such a Lucrative Investment

      With an estimated one million people commuting to work in the Johannesburg CBD each day, these inner city properties represent not just a gap in the property market, but rather a yawning chasm. And with the government pumping millions and millions of Rands every month into these Inner city areas to rejuvenate and uplift them on a monthly basis, well what more could an investor ask for.

      The Inner City projects have been, and are continually extremely successful in servicing the demand for tenants and city living residents, and have shown tremendous capital growth. Areas are being cleaned up and buildings rehabilitated on a daily basis. In 2001 you could have purchased an Inner City apartment for as little as R25 000, these days it is difficult to find a flat in a well managed block for under R200 000.

      Some of the biggest property investors in South Africa currently own huge volumes of property in these inner city areas and have experienced capital growth and rental returns like no other areas in South Africa. We (IMAGINE), as well as our clients have too been investing in the inner city for many years now and we have never looked back. If capital growth and extra-ordinary positive cash flow is what you’re after, you’ve come to the right place.

    • For more info on the Johannesburg CBD as an investment choice

  • 3
    How much money do I need to be able to invest?
    • This is normally dependent on the bank’s current lending criteria as their criteria is changing on a regular basis. Currently we recommend having about 10% to 15% of the purchase price in order to cover a deposit, as well as have funds for the transfer and bond costs. For a rough estimate of transfer and bond costs please see below: 

      • R150 000 property purchase would cost you around R8 500 for transfer and bond costs (if buying cash you would only pay transfer costs which would be around half of this amount ie. R4 250) 
      • R200 000 property purchase would cost you around R9 500 for transfer and bond costs (if buying cash you would only pay transfer costs which would be around half of this amount. ie. R4 750) 
      • R300 000 property purchase would cost you around R10 500 for transfer and bond costs (if buying cash you would only pay transfer costs which would be around half of this amount. ie. R5 250)

      An example to calculate the total costs for a R 150 000 property purchase would be: 10% deposit (ie. R 15 000) + transfer/bond costs (ie. R 8 500) = R 23 500 TOTAL COSTS REQUIRED 

      In some cases the bank will grant you a 100% bond in which case you will only need to fund the transfer/bond costs and no deposit, however this is very rare and is the exception rather than the norm. In addition, the banks only consider granting 100% bonds to first time buyers who are earning under R 16 000 per month, if they decide to grant a 100% bond at all.

  • 4
    Do you also supply the block / complex financials?
    • For most of the blocks that we deal in, we do not have the audited financial statements in our possession. Many body corporates (or managing companies) are extremely delayed when it comes to sending these through to us after we request them, as well as the fact that many blocks / complexes actually charge you for providing this information to cover their admin costs. In addition, even if we do request the block financials, in most cases the property is already sold by the time we actually receive the financials. It is thus unfortunately not viable for us to obtain the financials for many of the blocks that we deal in.

      Most of our clients however are able to make an informed decision without seeing the block’s financials as there are alternative means of determining the blocks financial stability. We carry out the following in order to ensure that the block is financially viable:

      For the majority of our clients the above measures are sufficient in order to make an informed buying decision.

      • We perform a deeds search on the block to make absolute sure that banks have recently bonded units in the block. This is a fairly solid method to determine whether the block is financially stable as banks will always steer clear of any block that is deteriorating financially and headed down the wrong road in their opinion. As with any fixed asset that a bank is potentially going to lend against, banks carry out an assessment of the block / complex before deciding whether to lend on any of the units in that particular block. This being said, if the banks have bonded in the block in the recent past, the bank has basically done your homework for you already. As mentioned above they would never go near a block that they see as high risk. After all, they are the ones really taking the risk at the end of the day as it is their funds that are being secured against the property). 
      • We find out what company is managing the block in order to get an idea of the future direction of the block, as well as make sure that there is a functioning body corporate in place. We also call the body corporate (or managing company) and discuss the block’s current situation with them, and will make a decision based on this information as to whether we deem the block a fit investment for our clients. We are also able to supply the body corporate (or managing company) contact details to you which enables you to call them up yourself and ask them any pressing questions that you may have regarding the block, as well as to even request the financials from them if you insist on this.
  • 5
    How is the ‘Cash flow’ figure shown on each listing actually calculated?
    • Our cash flow calculations are based on estimated figures (it go’s without saying that due to the numerous variables involved, we will unfortunately never be able to predict your cash flow for your particular situation down to the very cent). We can however give you a very realistic and probable prediction.

      Estimated Rental:

      You will notice that the ‘Potential rental’ field that we show in our listing information for each property is usually a range between the minimum achievable rental, and a more optimistic rental. Eg. ‘R3200 to R3600’. For our cash flow calculations we use a rental amount which is directly half way between these two amounts. Eg. In the aforementioned example we would use R3400 in our cash flow calculation as we believe this is a fair rental estimate considering the lower and higher end rental amounts for the property at hand. Please note that IMAGINE cannot guarantee this rental amount. Our clients are aware that one cannot ever be 100% sure as to exactly what rental one will fetch, we do however base our figures as accurately as possible by comparing them to what similar units are renting for in the same area. 

      Bond Instalment/repayment:

      The bond instalment figure we use in our calculation is based on a 90% bond at the current prime lending rate (note that the actual interest rate that you are offered/granted is enirely up to the banks). Of course, if you are buying the property with cash, you need not take this monthly bond repayment expense into account and your cash flow will typically be far higher.


      The levy figure we use is the amount that the current owner claims to be paying to the body corporate (or block management company) on a monthly basis. Where ever possible we attempt to obtain a levy statement to ensure the accuracy of this figure. 

      Estimated Rates/Taxes:

      In 99% of cases, owners do not actually receive regular accounts statements from the municipality due to the usual admin nightmares that the municipalities face in South Africa, as a result most owners are not aware of what their exact monthly rates/taxes amount is. Due to our experience in this sector of the market, we have taken the initiative to come up with an estimated rates/taxes figure which is 0.03% of the listing price of the property. This formula on average gives a fairly realistic estimated rates/taxes figure based, however we cannot of course guarantee this figure as it is merely an estimate. Either way, it is a minimal monthly expense and our clients are therefore happy for us to simply state an estimated figure.

      Lettings fee:

      This is only applicable if you choose to have your unit managed by a letting agent. By default we do not take this fee into account when calculating our cash flow figures, the reason for this is that many of our clients do in fact opt to self manage their units. Please add a letting fee expense of 10% of the monthly rental to the calculation if you plan to have the property managed by a letting agent (note that if using our preferred letting agency we are able to negotiate discounts on letting fees for our clients depending on how many properties you have under management.) 

      CASH FLOW figure: 

      The cash flow figure is calculated simply by taking the estimated rental achievable (explained above), minus all other expenses (definitions of which have also been explained above).