- Nolonwabo Mahanjana
- Real Estate
Amongst the challenges of learning to adapt to a new culture, and learning to balance my academic and social life, the biggest challenge was financial. My parents did the best they could to support my academic endeavours, but I still faced financial challenges. As a child, I did not have any entrepreneurial influences around me, and I grew up knowing the cliched approach of excelling at school so that I could get a good job, and work hard to climb the corporate ladder as an employee.
As a self-sponsored student in a foreign country, I had to find a way to pave my way through school and it was this desperate need to survive, that planted the entrepreneurial seed. As a University student, I got involved in many “business” ventures, from buying and selling laptops and cell phones on campus for a profit to selling second-hand shoes in Johannesburg CBD, to the exporting of goods to Zambia and Malawi.
After I graduated, I jumped into what I was conditioned to do my whole life. I found a job and was hoping to climb the corporate ladder, in pursuit of “success”, however, I found that I was not fulfilled because I felt under-utilised. This re-triggered my entrepreneurial spirit, and I started to look for business opportunities I could pursue, whilst still employed. I attempted many business ventures, most of which failed, but was able to create a sustainable, profitable business with one of the ventures. In hindsight, the reason for the success was that I had teamed up with the right business partner, and we built a competent team. I met my wife, during this period and fortunately, she shared a similar drive for entrepreneurship. She too had had many attempts, at business, that did not take off. We naturally extended our relationship, to become business partners, and this has worked well because we have different personalities and strengths, that complement each other well.
After our first child’s birth, I became insecure about my family’s future financial well-being and realised that generating an income from my salary and the business did not provide much security for our future. This led my wife and me to start learning about investing in property. Before long, we had invested in a few properties around Johannesburg (where we live) and were satisfied with our investments. The main challenge we faced was that we did everything ourselves, including, searching for the properties, calculating the Internal Rate of Returns (IRR) on the property, due diligence, process of securing the property, and after we secure, we still had to do the advertising, tenant screening, property maintenance, monitor rental payments, etc. It was initially painstaking, but we realised we had to start putting systems in place, to avoid burnout.
Our passion for property investing ensured we had an eye out for great deals, and we started finding better yielding properties outside of our comfort zone of Gauteng. We realised we had to change our approach, because we would not be able to do everything ourselves anymore, due to the logistical impracticability. Luckily, my early business experiences taught me the power of leveraging off of the RIGHT partners. When we came across a property that ticked all the boxes, albeit, in Cape Town, we were fortunate enough to find the right partners on the ground. They helped us to purchase, tenant and maintain our first property, and to top it all, an acquisition outside Gauteng. We have received our rentals, in full and on time, without ever even seeing the property live.
The global financial crisis of 2007-2008 created opportunities to find great property bargains, especially in the United States of America, amongst other countries. I was well aware of this but had absolutely no idea how to take advantage of this. After my experience with investing outside Gauteng, I was keen to find the right calibre of partners that would enable me to access properties outside of South Africa. Due to the increased complexity of investing in a foreign country, from everything including the correct investment structures, money movement between the countries, bank account opening, company registration as a foreigner, tax and legal challenges, etc, I was well aware that I had to carefully select the partners I need to work with. [note: by implication, as being portrayed as a partner of WM, the message is that WM is helping with all of this, which technically we don’t and/or not registered for. I would reword the sentence: “the challenges of offshore investment became very quickly and clear to me, from having an investment structure, money movement between countries, bank account opening, company registration as a foreigner, tax, and legal implications. I just dawned on me again, I need to select the Right partners to work with on this”]
After a lot of research, and extensive due diligence, it was a no brainier for me to partner with Wealth Migrate (WM). Using the WM’s platform enables me to leverage off of competent partners on the ground, and this gives me access to first world assets, without the headaches. The advantages for me personally are:
• I am able to own a stake in real estate investments in Australia, America, England and South Africa
• The investments are income generating (with quarterly dividend payouts)
• The deals are structured such that there is a defined exit strategy
• I do not have to screen the properties
• I do not have to manage tenants
• I am not directly involved in the property maintenance
• I do not have to worry about the processes of purchasing and offloading the property
• I do not have to fly to the different countries in order to participate in their economies
Nkandu Chitah’s business interests include:
Co-founder and Managing Director of Buna Projects and Consulting, an Engineering Design and Installations Company;
Co-founder and Business Development Manager of Ikhaya Luxury Kitchens, a design and Installations company for Kitchens, and BICs
Co-founder and Chairman of Chimi Resources – a mineral processing and beneficiation Company
Nkandu is also an avid Property Investor and a partner of Wealth Migrate
About the author
Nolonwabo Mahanjana a front-end software engineer at Wealth Migrate. Her passion is to give back to the community spending her Saturdays helping ex-mine workers to claim their unpaid benefits.