Just Property — making waves in the Eastern Cape
Being part of a dynamic company was the driving force for Gérard Smith when he decided to set up the first Just Property franchise in King William’s Town last year on April 1.
The business grew so quickly that he opened his second franchise in Mdantsane four months later in August. This was followed by the opening of the East London branch in October and now, exactly a year later, he will be celebrating the launch of the Just Property Gonubie office tomorrow (April 1).
“I am so passionate about property and excited to see the fruits of our hard labour over this past year,” said Gérard.
When you call clients and tell them their bond has been approved sometimes they can’t believe their dream of being a homeowner is coming true. It’s so surreal and makes this job really fulfilling
“I love working with people and educating them on the whole process that we as real estate agents know so well. When you call clients and tell them their bond has been approved sometimes they can’t believe their dream of being a homeowner is coming true. It’s so surreal and makes this job really fulfilling.”
Gérard’s Just Property team also has an extensive rental portfolio, which they manage with great care and diligence.
After working for many years in the automotive industry, Gérard was encouraged to pursue a career in real estate by a good friend.
“She said I have the right attitude, personality, passion and the necessary drive for this type of work.
“I was employed at one of the international brands for three months and learnt so much. But ultimately my go-getter attitude and the need to implement new creative ideas and different strategies led me to open my own franchise with Just Property.
“I really liked their business model, the whole company philosophy, their ethics and the way they do things. They are also on the ball with staff training, support and technology. I couldn’t ask to be part of a better team.
“I also have to thank my amazing wife, Siyamthanda, who supports all my crazy dreams. She backed me up from the start and took care of things at home so I could build up the business without earning an income for the first few months. By October I had sold over 40 properties and knew we were in store for big things and even more opportunities.”
Gérard is extremely passionate about upskilling previously disadvantaged people.
“One of our university graduate interns showed us that you can achieve anything you set your heart and mind to. She would catch taxis and ask for lifts to get around to all the different properties in her portfolio. She did so well that we were able to buy a laptop for her when she made employee of the month. It’s all these little things that you can do being the owner, which really makes the difference to people’s lives. If I worked for a boss I couldn’t make decisions like that,” Gérard said.
He is no stranger to hardship having grown up with his grandparents and walking to school with no shoes.
“My childhood was very difficult. My grandfather worked as a security guard and my grandmother was a housewife. I am so thankful for all the values they instilled in me.
“Life throws you a lot of challenges. At one point I was also unemployed for two years, but I am so grateful for all I have achieved and those who supported me along the way.
Working in property is a balancing act – it’s a challenge to keep both the buyer and seller happy. You have to manage the relationship and expectations of both parties. You are dealing with different personalities and backgrounds
“Working in property is a balancing act – it’s a challenge to keep both the buyer and seller happy. You have to manage the relationship and expectations of both parties. You are dealing with different personalities and backgrounds.”
Gérard assisted Jaydene du Preez and her husband with the purchase of their townhouse in Beacon Bay.
“The process of buying a first home is both exciting and unnerving. But from the first call to say we'd like to view the property, to the final stages of hand over, we have found Gérard, to be there for us, walking with us through every step of the process.
“He has gone beyond what we'd expect the role of an agent to be and made every effort to ensure we feel safe, looked after and secure in our decision to purchase the home we did.
“When unforeseen issues crept in, he personally took care of them himself and he even took great interest in the renovations we were implementing in our new home. Through this process, Gérard has become part of our story and perhaps even our future – he and his company will certainly be the first people we contact should we ever consider purchasing property again,” Jaydene said.
Tanya Casoojee said: “Gerard is so professional and helpful, he goes the extra mile to make sure you as the client feel comfortable, always in the loop and confident in your decision.
“He helps you think things through and look at the bigger picture. He is very positive, kind and efficient, I don't only look at him as a realtor but also as a friend whom I can trust, he is not just in it for the money.
He really works hard to make sure he gets the best deal for you as the client. He is always on the ball and ready to answer any questions
“He really works hard to make sure he gets the best deal for you as the client. He is always on the ball and ready to answer any questions. When going to view houses or hearing him on a phone call, his professionalism and great manners shine through. It’s such a pleasure working with him.”
Bellinda and her husband Lizo Stemele turned to Gérard “after a year of disappointing customer service from East London real estate agent's failing to sell our property while we were based in Cape Town at the time”.
She added: “We were blown away by his immaculate service, constant feedback and the manner and urgency in which he sealed the deal.
“We have never met, but the relationship we have managed to build is such a strong tie that I'm comfortable giving him a brief of what we want and getting him to source us our new home. That is how much we trust and value his work. He is a passionate person, respectable and goes the extra mile to ensure that he delivers to his client no matter what.
“I have no doubt in my mind that he is going far in his business and wish him all the best in his future endeavours,” Bellinda said.
The list of happy clients is endless and a true testament to Gérard and the Just Property brand.
Gérard said: “We receive our strength and blessings from the Almighty God and give Him all the honour, praise and glory. On earth it is my amazing partner and wife I thank – she is my inspiration, balance and the fuel to my fire. Without her, none of these achievements would have been possible. She is truly a Godsend.
“I would also like to thank all my family, friends and clients who have supported me and been part of the Just Property journey over this past year. Come and visit us at our new Gonubie offices for all your property needs. We are here to make your dreams come true.”
Just Property King William’s Town
Tel: 043 051 7912
Address: 101 Buffalo Rd, King William's Town, Qonce, 5600
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