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What’s happening in real estate: news in short

MAIN IMAGE: Yolanda Schubert, new operations manager for RealNet; Keith Wakefield, chairman of Wakefields Real Estate.

RealNet Holdings has a new operations manager

RealNet Holdings has announced the appointment of Yolanda Schubert as the real estate group’s new operations manager, with effect from 1 September.

“Yolanda is no stranger to RealNet, having been an estate agent and owner of various franchises in the group between 2004 and 2012,” notes RealNet managing director Gerhard Kotzé. “However, she has also gained vast expertise in a variety of other fields during the course of her career that will make her a particularly valuable addition to our management team.”

Yolanda trained as an air traffic controller with the South African Air Force. She later joined the Namibian Department of Transport as a civilian air traffic controller before undergoing further training in aviation management. From 1994 she worked as operations manager for the VIP Aircraft Handling Company at OR Tambo airport where she met among others former President Bill Clinton, Microsoft’s Bill Gates and actor Pierce Brosnan. Then in 1998, she moved to Switzerland to take up a position as supervisor of the national air traffic control training centre, based at Zurich’s international airport before returning to SA six years later where a friend persuaded her to enter the real estate industry. After qualifying as a full-status agent, she bought the RealNet Mooikloof and RealNet Silver Estates franchises, which she ran until 2012, when she decided to sell them. Since then, to honour her restraint of trade, she worked as a public relations officer for two well-known legal firms specialising in conveyancing, but now she is excited to be rejoining the RealNet family. Kotzé notes that in addition to her responsibilities as operations manager, Yolanda will also act in an advisory and support role to franchisees in the group’s inland region.

Wakefields Real Estate celebrates 80 years

On September 3, 1939, two days after the start of World War II, the first Wakefields Real Estate office was opened. Today there are 31 branches throughout Kwazulu-Natal.

For Keith Wakefield, chairman of Wakefields, their 80th birthday this week had some real significance. “If I had to say what I consider to be the most significant thing that happened to the property market over the past 80 years,” says Keith, “it would be when the banks, rather than building societies, began lending money. The way building societies were structured meant buyers could wait up to 12 months before the funds were allocated. And that was for an approved loan! This move into the loan market by the banks – and the competitiveness which ensued – completely altered the way property was bought and sold.”

Keith’s grandfather was the founder of the family estate agency, after him Keith’s father, himself, and now, his children, have all been part of the province’s property landscape through all its highs and lows. The family’s love of property is the hallmark of the Wakefields brand.

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