What began as training initiative focusing on consumer education for first-time home buyers has evolved into a new RE/MAX franchise, which is operating from Soweto, Gauteng.
Run by broker/owner Rachel Vickers and her husband Gavin, RE/MAX Kairos specifically works with buyers who are earning a joint monthly income of between R8 000 and R25 000 who are typically looking for properties priced under R650 000.
It began with education
Rachel 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 focused on education around financial literacy and launched the programme. Within a few months we had established our affordable housing marketing, sales and administration division, under the banner of Kairos Development Solutions, which 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,” she says.
Opportunity in affordable sector
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, Rachel explained that they joined RE/MAX as they share the same value systems and vision, as well as 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 its distinctive web presence is another advantage, as buyers in the affordable market tend to use their cellphones to search for online property listings.” In fact, Rachel points out that around 65% of all leads in the affordable housing sector are generated online.
More education …
“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 this sector of the housing market, and so too does buyer education, according to Rachel. Therefore RE/MAX Kairos will continue to offer the same training and education that they have been, to first-time buyers. “Only one in four buyers in the affordable space will get a bond upfront,” explains Rachel. “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.”
Employment and empowerment
Looking ahead, Rachel 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.”
Rachel 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.”