RE/MAX Kairos opens in Soweto

What began as training initiative focussing on consumer education for first-time home buyers has evolved into a new RE/MAX franchise which is operating from Soweto, Gauteng as of 1 November 2014. 

?Team photo of RE/MAX Kairos

Run by Broker/Owner, Rachel Vickers together with her husband Gavin, RE/MAX Kairos specifically works with buyers who are earning a joint monthly income of between R8 000 and R25 000 and are typically looking for properties priced under R650 000.
Vickers explains that in 2012 when she and Gavin, started up a training business and ran the ‘Buy Your First Home Programme’, they saw an opportunity to include the sale of affordable homes as a part of their service offering.  “Initially we were focused on education around financial literacy and launched the ‘Buy Your First Home Programme’. Within a few months we had established our affordable housing marketing, sales and administration division, under the banner of Kairos Development Solutions. Kairos Development Solutions partners with developers to provide complete marketing and administration solutions for development sales.”

The company has now joined the RE/MAX of Southern Africa family. “The primary objective of this move has been to provide traction for sales for our agents with a reputable and credible brand to take to market. As the proud owners of the Soweto franchise, we will use our consumer education and team of agents to actively grow the opportunities within this region,” says Vickers.

Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, welcomes the Kairos team into the RE/MAX family and looks forward to their growth and development under the RE/MAX brand. “The affordable housing sector is presenting massive opportunities for growth at present with an exceptional demand, and we are excited about being part of the housing solution.”

Aside from the credible brand name, Vickers explained that they joined RE/MAX as they share the same value systems, as well as vision and a passion for property. “This made it an easy fit. There is also the opportunity for collaboration and networking among the RE/MAX offices through the referral system, and their distinctive web presence is another advantage as buyers in the affordable market tend to use their cell phones to search for online property listings.” In fact, Vickers points out that around 65% of all leads in the affordable housing sector are generated online.

“I am also passionate about education and the RE/MAX commitment to ongoing education of both their agents and consumers really spoke to me,” she says.

Although financial institutions are granting 100% bonds for homes up to R650 000, affordability remains a major factor for the affordable housing market, and so too does buyer education, according to Vickers. Therefore RE/MAX Kairos will continue to offer the training and education they have been to first time buyers. “Only one in four buyers in the affordable space will get a bond upfront,” explains Vickers. “It’s mostly small changes that need to be made in financial management for those who don’t qualify initially. Our personal financial trainers can assist some of these buyers to become bond-ready within three to six weeks.”

Looking ahead, Vickers says RE/MAX Kairos aims to educate, employ and empower. “There is massive opportunity for growth in this sector of the market. RE/MAX Kairos currently has 20 agents who are a mix of full status agents and interns. We also have an opportunity to sell in the region of 17 000 houses in the next five years, mainly in Gauteng. We only work with reputable developers, and needed a strong real estate brand to support us with such a large buyer demand - just another reason why RE/MAX was the obvious choice,” says Vickers.

Vickers explains that there is a strong administration component to their business, which is what sets it apart from others operating in the affordable housing space. “Our agents’ primary role is to sell homes. After completing the initial paperwork with the buyers, the agents have administrative support to guide their buyers through the rest of the details and paperwork, and they can carry on with the selling.”

RE/MAX Kairos is currently marketing 10 affordable housing developments. Vickers notes that the demand for housing in this price segment (R300 000 – R650 000) is exceptional, as is evidenced by the fact that the first phase in a development they were marketing in Alberton was sold out in just four days. Prices here ranged between R399 000 and R799 000.

A development that RE/MAX Kairos is currently marketing is Sharon Park, which is situated in Nigel. Vickers says that aside from many interested buyers in the region, buyers from Johannesburg and Secunda are also showing interest. Over the next four years, around 1 300 homes will be rolled out in this project, which will offer buyers a choice of two-and three-bedroom homes priced from R349 000 – R560 000. Set on freestanding plots measuring roughly 250m2, these homes range in size between 44m2 and 90m2 under roof. This estate also includes strong security features such as a guard house and electric fencing.

“Growth in the affordable market is currently strong,” says Vickers who points to homes within Sharon Park which sold for R315 000 when it launched. “That price has shot up now to R349 000.”

Protea Glen in Soweto is another development being marketed by RE/MAX Kairos. This sectional title development is priced from R390 000 upwards and offers buyers two- and three-bedrooms homes with good quality finishes in a secure environment with a secure perimeter and guard house. “The developer of Protea Glen won an award for best housing development in Southern Africa for units over R120 000 in 2012. These homes will be well-built and offer residents a safe place to call home,” says Vickers.

She concludes by saying: “We look forward to walking the journey of home ownership with our clients, all the while continually educating them on budget fitness and credit repair as well as other financial principles.”

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