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My husband caught me doing this

In the dim and distant past, friends of ours decided to move to America, the the land of the free and the home of the brave. We snapped up their picture perfect two bed, two bath unit in Sandton, believing it would make the perfect rental investment.

And for many years, it was just that. The complex was well run, gardens spectacular and the communal pool blue as the sky and as clean as the crystal glasses my grandmother used to cherish. We were amateur investors back then; we managed the property ourselves (because how hard could THAT be?!) and I was in charge of the finances. Mustafa from Istanbul, Turkey moved in with his wife and two young children, determined to make a new life for his family selling rugs from a shop he rented in Woodmead. He was a dream tenant, paid on time every month and nothing was ever an issue. Just how we like it! About 8 months into his lease, he called me in a panic. Sales had dropped significantly; he couldn’t afford the rent AND school fees. What to do!? “Don’t worry about it Mustafa, you just get yourself back on track and catch up on the rental when you can.” One month quickly became three. By month six, I was starting to sweat a little but hey, I was working full time so I could afford to cover the bond AND how could I evict someone with children? Someone from a foreign country trying so hard to make a go of it here? One night, Quentin asked to see the books. I kind of glossed over the ‘no rental’ part saying I had it covered. His response?

  • Wait, WHAT!?!? All these months of non-payment!?

  • We are not running a CHARITY here, we are running a BUSINESS!!

No amount of persuasion or explanation could dig me out of trouble. BIG.big.trouble. Quentin contacted Mustafa the next day and was not quite as supportive and kind as I was. Mustafa was unceremoniously evicted and I was banned from doing the books. Look I am not saying it was ALL bad, I never liked that gig anyway…

Lesson learned. Now managing agents look after all our properties because I am too soft (I know right, who knew!?) and I get swept up in a good drama. Combine that with a desire to take care of everyone around me and BOOM, perfect storm. Best to learn your strengths and weaknesses then leave the rest to the best!






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