How I made R234,756.31 in 5 days

In my last post, I shared my story of how I transformed my body in 30 days. It was easy to do, because someone showed me the “recipe” of getting an athletic body in the shortest possible time. I followed the recipe and the result was exactly what I wanted. So if this is possible with training, isn’t it possible with anything else in life. You find the recipe, the plan, you execute it and the results are a given.

I once read that to be successful in any industry, you need to be a specialist. What makes one a specialist? Knowing something that 99% of other people don’t know. And how do you achieve that? By reading 5 books on a specific topic. Yes, by reading 5 books, you would have done something that 99% other people didn’t do. Specialist. Easy.

So with the above in mind, I started the property game 4 months ago. I read a whole bunch of books, met with people in the industry and started following trends and articles. I was looking for the recipe on how to make money out of property. I met great people, from bond originators, to estate agents, conveyancing attorneys to developers. I had several lunches and dinners, I invested in friendships and I spend an awful lot of time reading books and browsing the net. At the end of my “study”, I knew a lot about property in South Africa. I knew that some people had made millions and I’ve also learned that some had lost everything. I knew that it was a risky business but I was confident that I had the recipe to make my first killer deal.

And… I did.

I bought a property on a sheriff’s auction. Now sheriff’s auctions are a different ball game and you are taking a huge risk when involving yourself in one. Here are 3 things that you need to take special note of:

You need cash

People say “You need money, to make money!” and I’ve always disagreed and said “You need time, to make money!”. Well in this business and in the current downward market, you unfortunately do need money in property. When the hammer falls on you at an auction, you need to pay a 10% deposit of the purchase price and commission on the spot and in cash.

You are not allowed to view the property

Well, at least not on the inside, so you can drive past the property but you will never be allowed to view it on the inside. When I do my research, I always try and get as close as possible or ask security guards whether it is vacant or not and what the condition is. This is a huge risk and as a rule I always make provision for at least R100k to do repairs and for legal costs should you need to evict a tenant or owner.

You are responsible for all outstanding levies

Yes, any outstanding levies, including body corporate levies, electricity, rates and taxes, etc. This can be an expensive exercise and one needs to do proper homework. The outstanding levies on the property I bought, was a staggering R132k.

Now, with the above in mind, I had done my homework and had my eye on a property in Bryanston. I did a valuation and knew that the property was worth R1.7m. In a bad market (as it is now), I calculated that I can drop the price with R100k and make a quick sale. The property is situated in an upmarket neighbourhood and through research, I knew that one would find a buyer easily. I did my calculations and my highest bid would be R1,120,000.00.

On the auction day (Tuesday) I was sitting next to an old man from Cape Town and we started chatting (my friends always find it odd that I chat to complete strangers), but he was convinced that it was a great deal and in the process became my biggest fan. He encouraged me to increase my price as it went past my bid and the hammer eventually fell on me with a bid of R1.2m.

That Saturday I went to the property (for the first time) to drop off my cleaning lady and as we were busy unpacking, someone knocked on the door, it was the neighbour and they wanted to buy the property. I couldn’t believe it! I actually changed my mind and decided not to sell but to move into the property myself. The neighbour was serious and convinced me otherwise. We signed the agreement and this morning the funds were transferred into my account. The final selling price was R1.6m.

I’m now convinced that everything in life has a simple recipe, we just need to be willing to learn and spend the time to figure it out. Today, property is one of my most enjoyable hobbies and in the process, it is making me more money than what most people earn at a 9 to 5 job.

Let me know if you read this post and if you have any questions. I’m always keen to chat property and answer questions about it (I am a specialist, remember).

Ps. The old man from Cape Town was more excited than I was when I got the deal. 🙂

56 Comments

  • Marnus (Author)
    February 2, 2012 at 9:26 am — Reply

    Here are some crazy cool people, who I have learned so much from. They have helped me, taught me, inspired and motivated me:

    Bernard Engelbrecht of Qfin Financial Services – I still need to meet someone who gives better customer service and knows more about property than Bernard. He is also first on my speed dial list.

    Deofrann le Roux of Du Plessis, Le Roux Attorneys – No words will justify Deofrann’s level of service and commitment. This was the third transaction with them and I will never ever look at any other conveyancing attorney.

    Derek Varkevisser from Berader Properties – Derek is a client of my accounting firm and became a good friend in the process. His company and dealings, lighted the spark in getting me interested in property.

    Rory O’Hagan of The Rental Cafe – Rory has an eye for an investment opportunity and I can chat to him for hours on end about property. He is such an inspiration and an incredibly nice guy. Rory has made big bucks with property and I’m a serious fan.

  • Stephen
    February 2, 2012 at 10:06 am — Reply

    Hi Marnus. I really enjoy reading your posts. I would love to get involved in property but like you said, one needs money. How did you manage to network with people in the industry? I always find it difficult to meet the right people.

    • February 2, 2012 at 10:14 am — Reply

      Thanks Stephen!

      ONE NEEDS MONEY

      I did say it but where there’s a will, there’s a way. Banks do still give 100% loans to first time buyers. So you can buy a smaller property and get a 100% loan for it. If you can buy at a low price (now is the time), then you can make a decent profit in a short period of time. This can fund the next property’s deposit and you can grow. Important thing is to get started. You can also find buyers and look at great deals for them and charge them commission for getting the deal. If you need any assistance with getting a bond, contact Bernard at bernard@qfin.co.za – the best in the industry.

      MEETING PEOPLE

      Like I said, I always chat to random people. And I don’t see why not. You have nothing to lose and most people are very keen to offer their assistance. If I just take the four people I mentioned above, I met Rory in a lift, Derek at a hotel’s pool, Bernard through a friend.

      All the best!

  • Anicka
    February 2, 2012 at 10:48 am — Reply

    I once bought on a auction and lost a lot of money. Defnitely not for me.

    • February 2, 2012 at 1:53 pm — Reply

      I’m really sorry to hear that. Proper homework is essential.

  • February 2, 2012 at 2:04 pm — Reply

    Question on Facebook/Twitter:

    Please list the books you’ve read:

    Jason Lee – Making money out of property in South Africa (please keep in mind that the book was written in an upward market) – also check out his website http://www.jasonlee.co.za

    Donald Trump & Robert Kiyosaki – Why we want you to be rich

    Michael Perebzak – Road to Riches Through Real Estate in 7 Easy Steps

    Ebooks and website.

    Very very important to understand SA market when reading international titles!

  • Chris
    July 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm — Reply

    Hows about i give you my money and you make a profit for both of us?
    Im sure this is an agreeable term for an old friend?

    • Marnus (Author)
      July 24, 2012 at 1:06 pm — Reply

      Money is never the problem, the time to find the deals is. 🙂 Thanks for the comment Chris. Miss you buddy!

  • Riz
    August 20, 2012 at 6:57 pm — Reply

    Old blog… only read it now… want more! U seriously need to right more! No matter what the topic… it’s always engaging…

    But …exactly how much money is needed to start? To anything infact…

    • Marnus (Author)
      August 21, 2012 at 12:18 pm — Reply

      Hi Riz. Thanks for the message! 🙂 Like anything else, I just need more time and I’ll do it. Or outsource, how impersonal. Mmmm… One can always get a bond to finance the balance of the purchase price, but cash would be at least 10% of the purchase price, sheriff’s commission and any outstanding levies and rates and taxes. So let’s say 2 bed apartment at 500k, then deposit of R50k, commission of R10k and average outstanding amount of around R40k. So you would be looking at around R100k cash! Hope that helps!

  • Riz
    August 20, 2012 at 6:58 pm — Reply

    Oops…I meant write more! See I was THAT engrossed!

  • Lorraine
    October 16, 2012 at 1:20 pm — Reply

    WOW! i really enjoy your posts Marnus! You are such an inspirational person. I know a lot more about property nowm than a few minutes ago!

  • Ingrid Raikes
    March 8, 2013 at 6:53 pm — Reply

    Hi Marnus, l’m most interested in your ‘techniques’ of buying and selling properties. I have done particularly well myself with three properties, all with position, position and position……..that is until now! I first bought a nice old house in Parkview in 1986 for R90 000 and sold it 5 years later for R 400 000; then a half acre in Greyton in the Cape for R320 000 and sold it for R760 000 4 years later; then a really good timeshare for week 52 at Sabie River Sun for R18 000 and when l sold it l got R50 000 and then l purchased a very nice 1000 sq mt property in Dullstroom for R72 000 in a very good position right in the middle of Town, north facing, level, one off the main road and with nice trees. I had a hunch that Dullies was going to be, because of its close proximity to JHB and it’s popularity with trout fishing, visiting wild flower enthusiasts, lovely restaurants to frequent and really nice decor, curio and gift shops to browse; that somebody would buy it from me to build a weekend cottage. I have owned it now for 4 years and so far although quite a few people have looked at it, after having it on the market for 11 months now, l have reduced the price to R200 000 net to me a for a quick sale as l would really like to put that money into the Satrix Fund which has done really well for me over the last year! Have you any suggestions to assist me to sell quickly now???

    • Marnus (Author)
      March 15, 2013 at 2:44 pm — Reply

      Hi Ingrid,

      Thanks for the comment and well done – some nice profits there. Can’t imagine what the Parkview house would be worth now?!

      You bought 4 years ago – remember that it has been an awful time for property sales – especially properties that are not primary residences. I would say hang on to it, market it to the right type of person (ie. investors or someone looking for a weekend hideaway) and you will get it sold – if not now, then when the market picks up again.

      Satrix is a story for another day. They are investing in the top 40 shares and are taking fees for it. You can invest in the same 40 shares through your own bank and save on the fees. Plus you can exclude all the dogs they have in that portfolio. The last year was good for the JSE but I have my doubts for the coming year. Profits and PE’s are sky high and the rand is not looking good.

      All the best with your property.

      Regards,
      Marnus

  • Sihle Mavuso
    April 16, 2014 at 1:19 am — Reply

    Interesting read. I am currently a young aspiring entrepreneur, with a keen interest on the investment property sector. My 1st question to you is: Is it possible to get involved in investment property from a zero or very low point?

  • Jabulani
    August 27, 2015 at 3:43 am — Reply

    Marnus I have a residential property that has attracted developers for office space. I haven’t taken offers yet since I want to make sure that proceeds are put into good use to start and grow property business.

  • Madoda
    February 7, 2016 at 1:56 pm — Reply

    That’s an inspiring story, very motivating to an aspiring property investor like myself. But how do you make a profit if you buy a property through a bond?

  • zephrine morrison
    March 1, 2016 at 3:23 pm — Reply

    Hi. Always felt that property is the sure way of creating wealth. I have started a small construction business last February. With the sole view that we want to eventually be attractive to banks. This wayvwe can access funds to venture into property. Its been hard to get banks to giv busva bond. My wife is in a permanent Job and we have decided to use this as leverage. Hopefully this way they will budge. Also registered with Sheriff to get updates on auctioned apartments. What advise you have for first time auction attendees and buyers

    • Nthabiseng Moiloa
      March 2, 2016 at 7:05 am — Reply

      Hi Marnus

      In the post you advise us to read atleast 5 books on property in SA. What 5 books would you recommend me to read?

  • Mazi Mamabolo
    March 5, 2016 at 11:37 pm — Reply

    Hey. What is the process of selling a house? Doses the seller pay anything?

  • Zee
    March 7, 2016 at 7:43 am — Reply

    Hi, any recommendations on books to read to upskill myself?

  • Harvey
    April 22, 2016 at 7:26 am — Reply

    I read this article because I want to enter the property market with the purpose of buying and selling and I found it very interesting.

  • Godlip Baloyi
    May 13, 2016 at 12:49 pm — Reply

    Hi
    How do you acquire funding for multiple properties.

  • jeff
    May 14, 2016 at 6:57 am — Reply

    Hi there, I am quiet encouraged to read about your success in property. I just want to start in property in south Africa. I only got R30000 in my account. Please advice me. How do I start. I am an accountant and I am ready to start a property business and carrier. Please advise

  • Victor
    May 25, 2016 at 11:47 pm — Reply

    I’m a young man who’s keen in “flipping homes”. I want to start buying from sheriff’s auctions. I just need to know how do you then evaluate a house you haven’t seen properly. Do you check the market price of similar houses in that area? Please enlighten me on that. Thanks for everything you wrote so far

  • mondli ngwenya
    May 27, 2016 at 5:45 pm — Reply

    I want to start to invest in property and I need title of books that has information about property

  • Lebo
    June 29, 2016 at 4:12 pm — Reply

    Hi enjoying the articles they motivate me

  • Masala
    July 13, 2016 at 4:06 pm — Reply

    Hi
    I am interested in knowing much about investing In property, I have some funds but I am lacking the knowledge of the industry. Which books can I read that can give me some insight?

  • Nicolette
    August 3, 2016 at 10:13 am — Reply

    I’d like to chat to you

  • Rossy
    August 5, 2016 at 10:47 am — Reply

    Me and my friend would like to make money out of property and we looking for the mentor, may you please assist us.

  • Liza
    August 6, 2016 at 6:30 am — Reply

    Hello. My friend and I would like to invest in property but lack industry knowledge and experience. We need a mentor like you. Could you please assist us?

  • Thakhani
    August 8, 2016 at 11:50 am — Reply

    i am looking at getting into the property business myself. which book would you recommend for a rookie like myself?

  • Michael
    August 24, 2016 at 11:49 am — Reply

    HI..Interesting story. I have my one foot or shall i say toe in the business. still very small..inetrested to exchange with you directly online if at all possible.

  • Fire
    September 9, 2016 at 10:04 pm — Reply

    I am also quite keen to get into the property market.Are the Sheriffs allowed to view the property?Would it be legal to make an arrangement with the sheriff? please also let me know which books you would suggest reading to become a specialist in the property game? which are the 5 books you read to get you started?

  • Kgs
    September 25, 2016 at 8:12 pm — Reply

    Hi I want to know,how did you plan to fund the property and what were the 5 books you read?

  • Morne
    November 21, 2016 at 8:57 pm — Reply

    Hi Marnus,
    Ek geniet self die eindomme, en weet daar is n groot mark daarin.
    Wat is die boeke se naam wat jy gelees het, en kan jy meer deel van jou eindoms ervaring?

  • Uzel Gulston
    November 28, 2016 at 10:43 am — Reply

    Hi my name is Uzel i am a lady with big dreams ,please make contact, i read your post and was in the auction business for 8 years unfortunately our company was closed down, drop me a e mail i really need to ask you a few question

  • Timothy Vilakazi
    November 30, 2016 at 4:34 am — Reply

    Hi Marnus, I’d like to know the five books you read, I’m really intrigued.

    • Andile Ndaba
      March 17, 2017 at 10:48 am — Reply

      Hi Timothy, I suggest you start with the flowing;
      1,2,3 – Jason Lee Making Money out of property in South Africa series. These books will provide you with everything you need to know about the property market and are great because they are focused purely on the South African market.

  • Thokozani
    January 9, 2017 at 11:50 pm — Reply

    i will definitely like to chat with you and to know about the 5 books you read

    • Andile Ndaba
      March 17, 2017 at 10:49 am — Reply

      Hi Thokpzani, I suggest you start with the flowing;
      1,2,3 – Jason Lee Making Money out of property in South Africa series. These books will provide you with everything you need to know about the property market and are great because they are focused purely on the South African market.

  • Brandon
    January 12, 2017 at 9:48 am — Reply

    Hi Marnus,

    How many houses have you bought and sold? I am also looking into going into property, but a bit scared of the risk. which books would you suggest?

    Kind Regards,
    Brandon

  • Nkosinathi
    January 21, 2017 at 7:02 pm — Reply

    I’m very interested at this industry but lack knowledge. I have a lot of questions to ask, such as how to start, how to get nourished and more. I would love to learn about this and I’m a very ambitious person..

  • Tiyani
    February 21, 2017 at 4:25 pm — Reply

    Wow! amazing stuff. I also have an interest in the property market, though I still wanna empower myself.

    Ps interesting info you shared.

  • Nkosiyabo
    March 1, 2017 at 2:32 pm — Reply

    hi my name is nkosi iam very much interested in propperty but now i need someone to show me the ins and outs of property. i would really appriciate it if you were to mentor me regarding property.

  • Joey Scheffer
    March 2, 2017 at 5:35 pm — Reply

    Hi Marnus, I have a real soppy story, but don’t want to repeat it. It’s over and life is beautiful! I need advise to start from scratch. Saw an opportunity in property, and now need to provide a business plan to a possible investor/helping hand. I went on the internet, lots of business plans….. I need a specific guideline and after reading your story, you’r the one that will understand. More so, as to what type of return on investment I should offer, in my case. Thank you!

    • Andile Ndaba
      March 17, 2017 at 10:45 am — Reply

      Hi Joey, what you are referring to is a joint venture – where you find a partner to run the project with you, split the expenses and the income. When presenting the proposal, here are a few things you should consider.

      – Anything under a 10% return doesn’t justify the project. The reason for this is that one can simply invest the same amount of money into growth point shares and get 8% – 9% without taking the risk and admin that comes with working a project. Therefore in order to justify the risk and effort that an investor will have to take, the returns should be slightly higher.
      – Work out what the current income is less expenses and divide that with the purchase price to get your return.
      – Determine if the property offers an upside. if the property is under rented and you can purchase it based on that, by the time you increase the rent you would have unlocked more cash flow – this can be attractive to investors.

      • Mamatu Zwane
        May 28, 2017 at 3:19 pm — Reply

        Hi Andile, you seem to have knowledge about the property business. I am staring up mine and need all the help and advice I can get.

        Can we chat?

  • Mthunzi
    March 29, 2017 at 12:38 pm — Reply

    Hi Marnus

    I want to buy a 3 bedroom house for R409000 at Soshanguve in Pretoria using a home loan. The section where these new houses are being built is a new area which is still being developed. I would pay the bank about R5500 per month for 10 years. I was thinking of buying it and renting it out for R6000 per month.

    There is a similar one also at Boksburg but its selling for R590000, which l could buy using home loan instead of the one in Soshangive and also rent it out.

    Please let me know what are your thoughts on this.

    Regards
    Mthunzi

  • Lerato
    April 11, 2017 at 7:23 am — Reply

    Hi Marnus do you teach? i am really interested in learning about the property market

  • Mzwanele Bahlekazi
    April 30, 2017 at 12:47 pm — Reply

    Good afternoon.

    I am currently working and I ve been looking for an extra activity that I love and enjoy, the one that can earn me a buck on a side.
    I ve come to realise that property is what I was meant to do in my life because since my primary school I ve designed house plans for different family members and even friends. The house that my parents built(a nine rooms house), I designed when I was 13 or 14 years.
    I never went to school for drafting or drawing house plans or even extending them. It just came naturally and I enjoyed it.
    At the moment I am working as an Ait Traffic Controller and looking for something to do part time or even to Change my career totally.
    Recently I 2 as busy searching for what can do and found out that property is what I want to do but I do not have any idea were to start but I know that I belong there and that’s were I am going to pour out my creative energies.
    Please guide me as to where to start in terms of dealing or buying property. Any books that you can recommend for my self study so that I can understand the market.

  • Thabang
    May 3, 2017 at 11:19 pm — Reply

    hi! i am an entrepreneur and i made lots of mistake. i am starting properties and i really need a mentor.
    please give me your email address or kindly email me..

  • Allister
    December 20, 2017 at 10:56 am — Reply

    Just a quick question. When you buy at an auction do you have to wait the 2.5/ 3 month period for transfer before you get a new buyer. Or can the property be transferred directly to the new buyer

  • Reabetswe Mogale
    May 2, 2018 at 12:11 pm — Reply

    Helllo Marnus ; i have a business partner that knows investors who can gives us funds for property;thanx

    Reabetswe

  • mario visagie
    May 20, 2018 at 5:48 pm — Reply

    haai Marnus Mario I am interested in property business buying houses from the auction fixing it with my maintenance team and selling it again but I really needs a partner to help me with finance please

  • Kingsman
    May 23, 2018 at 1:44 pm — Reply

    Hi Marnus. I have been doing allot of reading about wholesaling real estate. Does wholesaling real estate exist in South Africa? That is getting a property seller, signing a contract with them, finding a buyer and selling the contract to the buyer.

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