Jul 07
Ian Kilbride

Home Truths!

Article Written by Ian Kilbride.

I have known Mike Greeff for many years, in fact I was once his landlord at the Alphen Estate.  That was until Greeff outgrew the space that we, Warwick Wealth, had available as we too were expanding and requiring more square meters.

You could therefore say that our two businesses, Greeff Property and Warwick Wealth, grew up together, even sharing facilities and staff, both then and now.  The similarities between these two companies, despite being in totally different fields, can be distilled down to three simple factors.  Firstly, a clear vision, secondly the energy and drive of everyone involved in the company, from the CEO’s down and thirdly a total commitment to client service and the delivery of what clients require.

There are thousands, if not tens of thousands of companies in South Africa who have these three key elements, vision, energy and client commitment and they are applying them to their own field of business and industry every day.  That is why the obsession the press have with the Gupta’s is so annoying, they distract us from all what is working in South Africa and the thousands of people working every day to build something positive, creative and sustainable.

That’s it, I am not mentioning the G or Z family again in this article, as they get enough coverage elsewhere.  What I do want to highlight though is skill, care and commitment, three attributes that are seen everywhere and I also feel personify Warwick Wealth, as well as Greeff Properties under Mike’s leadership.

My Nana, a 4’foot 8 inch high working class girl with grit and energy lived well until she was 98 and never stopped teaching us all little gems of wisdom.  One such nugget, which royalists won’t like is, ‘Of course the Queen’s mother lived to 101, she never worked a day in her life!’  Another gem that is a little more appropriate to this article was, ‘Land my boy, they aren’t making any more of that’.

I have to confess that although I found the advice simple and inspiring I have not until recently realised its profound truth.  Land, or your home as most of us will experience land, is never cheap to buy but can be expensive if we don’t hold on to it.  Despite Alice Kilbride’s simple lesson my one biggest business regret was the sale of a property that I loved, but at the time I felt I could not justify keeping.  That property’s value today is that very justification, but hindsight is the perfect science.

Buying our ‘home’ is probably one of the most important decisions we ever make in life and when we do so we should do it with the intent to stay.  On a ten or twenty year view a ‘home’ is never expensive and thus there is never a right or a wrong time to buy.  It has taken me many decades to understand this truism.

Just as Warwick justifiably point to the consistent growth of equity over decades, so Greeff can point to the value and security that property offers.  Any weak spot in the property market is simply a buying opportunity, but more importantly and regardless of the price paid, your home will not only be a solid investment it will give you ‘priceless’ memories for the rest of your life.

Alice Kilbride passed away in 2015 but I will never forget and now fortunately fully understand, ‘Land my boy, they aren’t making any more of that’!