Moving house is one of the most stressful adjustments one can have in their adult life. I’m sad to say that this has been the case for me in every instance when I’ve had to move. Please note that, although this article will name and shame – it is mostly a cry for help to professionals in the SA property industry to up their game when it comes to customer service.
The following stories are an account of the treatment I have received from different service providers in the Gauteng region:
1) My big move to Gauteng:
After a 2 year job-hunt, I’d finally gotten a job offer in the industry I had been trying to get into, that also required me to move out of home 600km away into the economic capital of the country – YAY! Not quite.
So there I was scrawling the internet for rental properties not too far from my workplace, within my budget etc. My first challenge was getting responses of whether the property was still available or not. Let me tell you something, when you’re trying to move to PTA with a name that’s as black as “Nompumelelo“, don’t expect a response. Even when you call, as soon as the person on the other line figures what colour your skin is – good luck securing that property. All sorts of challenges arise “we need 2 months rent upfront”, “you need to come in and sign a lease agreement in person”, or “sorry that property has been taken already” (even though the ad was just posted 2 hours ago).
So eventually I happened to find a decent place through Rawson Properties Moreleta Park, AFTER having to ask my cousin to do an in-person walk through of the property (since I was 600km away) AND using my overdraft facility to pay the deposit on the same day (in order to secure the property, they say).
Upon moving in I discovered the place had not been professionally cleaned as I had been promised. I had to arrange for carpet cleaners to come in and then claim back the cost (aaah, such admin!) and then scrub down the kitchen, bathroom and windows myself. Trust me, this was not the end of my woes.
After a two year stint in the place, enduring broken stoves, a leaking toilet and other plumbing issues (which had a response time of 3-5 days every time I called to report the incidents), I decided to find a new place. So after handing in my notice, I was told that I would have to have the place professionally cleaned (at my own cost) – when this was never done when I moved in. Even though I arranged for carpet cleaners to come in, my deposit was returned a whole month later, R1200 short due to “cleaning costs”. Oh, and the cherry on top – the rude and racist tongue lashing I got from one of the senior agents, Erika Bruyns.
The horror stories continue, unfortunately…
2) New Development, New Hope?
So I figured buying a brand new property off-plan would be a safer, quicker solution to my accommodation problems. No cracks or hidden issues, dealing with an experienced professional team who knew what they were doing so minimal delays. WRONG
FYI, if you ever come across a company called JFS or Homes For All !! RUN !! These people do not know the meaning of professionalism. Period. After signing all the relevant paperwork, the anticipated 9-month wait to complete the building took 2 years – I kid you not – 2 years!! Once the house was ready for occupation, the developers have 3 months within which to come back and fix any plumbing or construction issues that may occur. In our case, this was 5 months. I could list more issues, but after 2 years of abuse, I can’t bring myself to relive all the madness and trauma this company has put me through, so I’ll save you the gory details.
3) Strike three
So now, the husbae and I are on a hunt for our first family home (aaah). This time we decided to got through estate agents of colour who understand our needs and budget (perhaps the lack of discrimination would make the process smoother and less painful). We gave a brief to LRH Properties in Jan 2017, with the promise that by month-end, we would have list of suitable properties to view – to this day I am yet to see these potential properties (we are now approaching the 2nd quarter of 2017).
So, to sum it up my experience of the SA Property market has been crap with a capital C! Please, people in the property industry, I beg of you to prove me wrong.
Finding a place to live is so central to everything in our lives – it’s where we raise our families, host our friends, and become part of communities. But the struggle these agents put us through is just in-humane. We need Property professionals to take their jobs more seriously – our hard-earned money and peace of mind depends on it.