As well as maintaining the appearance and function of your secondary home or investment property, it’s important to maintain the cost-effectiveness and efficiency for it to function. A significant part of this means reducing the waste of water.
The easiest way to do this is to install a water-wise garden in your home. By making a simple, yet effective adjustment, we can save water and increase our “green” footprint. We chatted to Sean Newbery, founder of Green Space Design & Landscaping about why this is important and what the key areas are that need to be looked at. Read on below and be a part of the change:
Why is it good to have gardens that are water-wise?
Two very real reasons include the cost of water and the fact that South Africa is a water-scarce country.
How do you transform a garden into a water-wise garden?
If you have a large garden, start with one flowerbed at a time. An easy way to do this is to spend dedicated time on one flowerbed every month, or every second month, budget depending.
Once you’ve decided where to start, the next step is to replace thirsty exotic plants with groundcovers and water-wise plants.
If possible, try replacing smaller lawn areas with hard surfaces such as decking, paving, mulch or gravel around your home. It’s also advisable to spread thick mulch throughout flowerbeds to help retain moisture in the soil and prevent weed seed germination. Why? Because weeds use up vital water that could be feeding the plants.
Lastly, you can install an automated irrigation system that will stick to a programmed time. This will ensure that your plants aren’t overwatered if you forget to turn the sprinkler off. The best time to schedule the watering of your plants is in the early morning as this will ensure they have a good supply of water to face the heat of the day. More than that, the water will have time to reach the roots without the threat of evaporating.
Which plants use the most water?
Lawns are the most high-maintenance element of a garden, requiring a lot of water to remain healthy. Newly planted trees will need a fair amount of water too, but once established they will find their own water source deep underground. They will then create shade in your garden, thus limiting the evaporation from the soil. Other types of plants that usually requires more water include Hydrangeas and Azaleas.
And which plants are really water wise?
Most indigenous plants are water-wise. Local nurseries will usually advertise this or have sections specifically for water-wise plants. However, all plants from nurseries would have been watered every day to ensure they look good and healthy on display. These plants will need to be weaned off this regime over a period of time.
Most succulents are very similar in their preferences. With this in mind, your selection of succulents should come down to aesthetics. Most of them prefer full sun but a little shade is acceptable too, as many do like some shade during the hottest time of the day.
Which plants should be removed completely?
Any alien invasive plants should definitely be removed as they self-seed very easily and can take over and consume valuable water that other plants need. Flowering annuals are very thirsty and should be replaced with indigenous ground covers instead. Any plants with fleshy roots, such as agapanthus and clivias, should be a consideration as they retain moisture in their roots.
It isn’t a complicated task to make changes that can impact our planet. Often we can get overwhelmed and so we shy away from doing anything at all. For more information about how to further “green” up your home, visit Green Space Designs and find out all you need to know.
Whether you’ve just bought your dream holiday home in Stilbaai or need to revamp your second home in Cape Town, Xperiencemakers are up for the challenge to transform your space this season.
We look forward to working more closely with this Cape Town based interior design company that is a perfect fit for many of our clientele; with over a decade of experience and a passion for creating tailor-made, timeless homes. We sat down with founder Reneé De Waal to find out about the hottest trends this spring.
What are the biggest décor trends this season?
One of the most popular new trends is Modern Bohemian – this style allows you to combine comfortable vintage pieces with modern décor. The five must-haves for this look are: a statement hanging light, textured linen fabrics, multi-coloured prints, vintage mirrors and large leafy houseplants. You can add touches of this style to your interior with a beautiful rug or bright scatter cushions in your living area.
Another firm favourite is the use of raw materials such as concrete, metal and wood. This will complement both traditional and contemporary spaces.
If you love a bold statement in your home, then big floral prints inspired by fashion trends will be an ideal stylish touch. Existing chairs and sofas can be re-upholsetred with floral prints, and new curtains and cushions can be added to liven up your living room. A mix of various patterns and prints is very much on trend this spring.
Metallic finishes are once again the talk of the season and this year it’s all about antique brass over bright copper tones. You can bring in this style to your home with accessories such as lamps.
If your holiday home has a traditional and classic style, how would you suggest these trends be incorporated?
Part of the floral trend is the use of vintage and timeless prints, so we’d suggest you draw inspiration from quaint English and French homes. Real wood in most traditional homes is a staple of the interiors, and the floral trend can easily complement this style.
How can homeowners transform their patios for comfortable outdoor living?
Warm sunny spring days are best enjoyed outside on your patio, and rattan, wicker and raw wood furniture have made a reappearance this season. Combine these pieces with large comfy cushions in light shades with accents of tropical greens. Install gauzy curtains over your exterior doors to provide light shading, to create an elegant and comfortable atmosphere.
What are your essential décor tips for a beach home?
With a beach home, inspiration from nature is always best. Give your home a new colour scheme, and take your pick from blues, aqua, white and sandy neutrals to create a shore side look. A holiday home is a place you can truly relax in, so make sure the colour scheme makes you feel serene and calm. Place large wicker baskets and wooden chairs around your home to add a rustic touch and bring warmth to any room.
And for a country home?
If you’ve just bought yourself a spacious farm house or a cosy cottage, you’ll need to make the space feel more like your own. Instead of bright and bold florals, rather use softer dusty pink tones. If your home already has natural wooden finishes on both the floors and furniture pieces, then subtley bring in these spring shades, either with new carpets, wall paper or lamp shades.
With these essential décor tips from the experts, it may be time your holiday home received a fresh new style and look to suit the season.
Contact us and we’ll happily set up a consultation with their team, or manage the process on your behalf. HQM offer home management services so that we can maintain and enhance your property asset, one of these ways is by getting in trusted contractors in to help us with our job.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “Home is where the heart is.” Owning a secondary home or investment property can be a huge asset if it’s managed well – regardless of the challenges you may face. There are a fair number of factors to consider when renting out your secondary home.
We’re here to help you make the most of renting with insights from our HQM Properties experts:
On the plus side
On the down side
Take some serious time to consider the pros and cons of renting out a secondary home. The outcome is ultimately up to you. That said, it also helps if you have a great home management team looking after you and your property. If you need advice or help on managing your property, get in touch with us today by sending an email to email@example.com or by calling us on 021 801 3946.
Before you get into the rental property market, here are 5 important things to consider before you start the investment process.
#1 Build a solid plan
Having a plan gives you a clear path as to where you see the future of your investment. You need to establish if you are investing for the long-term, medium-term or short-term and whether it’ll be used for personal or business purposes. You need to know exactly what it is you want to get out of the property, this will help you choose the property location and the type of property.
#2 Know your boundaries
Before securing your investment you need to know exactly what type of property you want to get in to. For example, you may be attracted by high rental returns you could achieve by renting out a property to students, however, this may not be attractive because you don’t want the wear and tear that comes with that. On the other hand, you may prefer a lower-return investment and attract a tenant you might keep on for years with less admin. Choose if you want to rent out to a family or let your property out to holiday makers.
#3 Make it about the people
Your target market is key as it will establish what demographic you will be advertising your property to. Will you rent to corporates, young professionals, families or students? Usually this will be dictated by the boundaries you set, your budget, the location, and type of property you are interested in. It is helpful to do some background research on the area and its property growth. Once a chosen target market has been established, you will need to do a check on your monthly overheads and see if it is viable to continue with this investment.
#4 Establish your location
Depending who your client market is, it would be beneficial to research the local schools for children, local parks and libraries. If you are marketing towards young professionals or students, research on the local hangouts, restaurants, taxi services and the convenience to your location will help you secure rentals.
#5 Be organised & open to options
Lastly, how much money do you have? You may need to look at over 100 properties to find one that ticks the right boxes for your investment. Good rental investments are swiftly snapped up by experienced investors who have been in the game for a while. In order to compete with them, a cash offer is always best as the estate agent is more likely to settle the deal quicker. As this is not available to most first-time investors, you need to work harder to ensure you have your bond finance already in place so when one comes up, you are ready to put in the offer.
Now that you know the 5 key essentials when buying a property for an investment, you should be able to draw up a plan with a little more peace of mind. If you still have a question or two, contact or email us and we’ll help you with the management of your property and property interests to make the process a little easier.
To help you along here are a few extra pointers:
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If you’re a Cape home owner then no doubt there is one word that gives you chills down your spine: winter. Fortunately, you can layer-up and pile-on warm things, but how do you take care of your home during these cold months? We chatted to Roofing specialist company Metro founder Adam Commerford for some advice and this is what he had to say:
Get your leaves out of the gutter
Literally take time to clean leaves and sticks and muck out of your gutters. When winter rains come it can cause your gutters to get blocked messing your home’s drainage system in the process. The thought of having to fish out twigs from an overflowing drain or gutter in the middle of a torrential downpour is no one’s idea of a good time. Fortunately that can be avoided.
More than just cleaning your gutters, if they are old or broken in any way, perhaps it’s time to get them replaced. Our services at Metro include guttering – we supply and install guttering to meet design specifications. Click here for more information.
Fix your short circuit quickly
Winter is like a small child – it requires a lot of energy. It’s a different kind of energy but it’s requires constant attention nevertheless. That’s why we offer home energy audits, so you can rest assured there won’t be anything that goes flash-bang in the night. All external and internal circuits, plug points, switches and light systems are assessed. From there you can see what needs fixing and what (if anything) needs to be replaced altogether.
In fact, if you’ve never had a home energy audit done, it comes highly recommended for full safety all year round. Read all about it here.
Take time to trim the trees
With winter comes strong winds, heavy rains and unpredictable weather patterns. The trick is to make sure your home is safe when you are there and when you are not. Take some time to trim any trees that are near your house. Look for branches that hang over or near your roof. Identify and remove any dead branches that might break and fall onto your roof. Even if branches and trees don’t cause actual damage, they could block your gutters or damage other parts of the house.
Here are some other easy things to check to make sure you’re really ready for the frost:
Stay safe, stay warm!
If you’ve just purchased a rental property or holiday home, the next step is to decide who is going to look after it; and hiring the right property manager is one of the most important elements of your home investment.
Let’s be honest - owning a property asset in a different location to where you live is always going to be a bit of a logistical challenge, even with improvements in technology. So one of the main benefits of using an experienced property manager is to oversee your investment whilst you are away or don’t have the time.
A good property manager will provide hands on attention to your property, and fulfil a number of roles, including: property inspections, managing of contractors, managing tenant complaints and queries, bill payments, routine property maintenance, dealing with complaining neighbours or council related enquiries. These are all part of the ongoing needs that homeowners entrust to a property manager, to ensure their lives are stress-free. At HQM Properties we become your eyes and ears and manage the home as if it were our own. The following feedback is testament to this:
"Over the last few years HQM Properties has managed the daily maintenance on my properties and looked after all related administration needed in caring for my investment properties in Cape Town. Their service standards are extremely high; they run a very honest and professional service making it very easy to leave your property in the care of someone else.I would be happy to recommend them to any other property owners in Cape Town." K Pfleiderer, Bantry Bay
Large properties require ongoing maintenance that even homeowners themselves often cannot predict.If your secondary home is not attended to often, things can arise overtime that could have been dealt with more cost effectively earlier by a property manager.An example of this would be a large pristine landscaped lawn dying off due to infestation of lawn pests because a gardener did not pick up the problem early enough.
The good news is that our team of property managers have the required knowledge and experience to understand possible future needs for your home, and checklists to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
We always say a home is like a living thing; if neglected it will soon cost the homeowner dearly. For example our team have seen entire properties become flooded because roof drainage inspections were not carried out. These often cause a chain reaction of damages that take time and money to fix.
Large homes tend to have complicated and expensive structures, fixtures and fittings;and there are many potential disasters that can occur in an unoccupied, unsupervised home. So our goal is to maintain your long term investment.
The annual cost of employing a home management company will seem insignificant when an expensive crisis can be avoided with a trustworthy manager carrying out the correct management procedures. For example we recently advised a client to re-seal all external window frames, knowing from experience that this simple and relatively cheap exercise would avoid the likelihood of future water damage inside the house. In the long run we therefore firmly believe it is cheaper to employ a reliable property manager.
Now that you are aware of some of the benefits a property manager can offer you and your home, feel free to give us a call to discuss your needs and arrange for a free assessment of your property.
Eskom has implemented National Load Shedding and the City of Cape Town has recently adjusted how they will divide the load shedding across Cape Town.
Below find an simplified schedule for the areas around the Cape Peninsula
Try out these few HANDY TIPS from your local PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COMPANY to help save your home from becoming your next nightmare this summer!
Looking after your home can be a nightmare with so many things going wrong all the time. Home maintenance is a never-ending battle which is why we would like to give you some free handy tips and suggestions that will make your life a little bit easier.
1) During the hot and dry summer periods always make sure the pool is at the right water level – (in line with the middle of the skimmer box). Evaporation occurs easily and if the pump takes in air this could burn out the pool pump.
2) Moth balls are excellent deterrents for small geckos, lizards and ants that make their homes in warm and dry places. Place them in areas such as garage motors, pool pumps and electrical boards. Failure to sort this out can cause an electrical fault and be costly in the long run!
3) Now is the time to check that your irrigation system is working and to the correct schedule, with no blocked jets, or split pipes. If the pressure is low, there may be a leak underground. Don’t wait until December to see your lovely lawn come up in patches of brown due to inconsistent coverage.
4) Clearing around all outside alarm beams and along electric fences in the garden will help stop false alarms, keep the peace with your neighbours and save your armed response team some sweat & petrol!
5) Using Green “AnTraps” from Pick n Pay will help remove all ant problems around the house. These are easy to install and don’t make a mess.
6) As the season changes, the rust arrives in full force. Spraying locks, hinges, springs etc with silicone spray is a good way to keep unwanted rust away. Whilst you’re at it, check the moving parts such as springs, wheels & chains on your garage door, as they will need a good spray/grease too.
7) It will be Air-con time soon! Don’t get caught in a sweat! Get your aircon serviced now before the real silly season starts when contractors don’t answer their phones. Most service providers will clean the filters of salt build up, as well as check for re gassing if needed.