Nano Shadung’s mother and grandmother were domestic workers and the only decent homes they ever knew were the ones they cleaned and then left.
“They couldn’t afford decent properties to one day use as an investment or a head start for us, and the little salary they got went to taking care of their children,” the 29-year-old marketing and promotions coordinator says.
“All my mother was ever concerned about was putting food on the table in our one-room house in Alexandra, in Joburg, clothes on our backs, and providing a decent education for both myself and my sister.”
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For Shadung’s family, owning property was something for rich people – not something they could ever afford. But four years ago, at the age of 25, Shadung shattered that mindset when she bought her own home, becoming the first homeowner in her family.
It was an achievement filled with great pride and joy as the purchase of the three-bedroom, freestanding house in Cosmo City, Randburg, not only made good on a promise to her mother but opened her eyes to the investment possibilities associated with property ownership.
Pride and provision
Initially, her motivation for buying a home was not about owning a bricks-and-mortar asset. “It wasn’t about being a property owner. It was about fulfilling a promise I made to my mother years ago that I would make her proud by buying her a home.”
However, the purchase also made Shadung realise that her property could help secure her financial freedom. “When I got my first proper paying job it wasn’t a hard decision to make and I knew nothing mattered at that point other than to have a decent house to call home.”
From making this decision to actually buying the property was a tricky process, though, as she knew that her first salary of R8 000 was not enough to secure a bank’s confidence to grant her a home loan.
So, she committed to saving money. “I continued to save and keep a good credit record as well as joined township stokvels as a means of saving more money.
“For many years I had to work two jobs – one permanent and the other part-time. The money from both my jobs went to saving for a deposit for my house and paying lawyers’ fees.”
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In addition to dealing with the usual problems associated with preparing to be financially ready for homeownership, Shadung’s estate agent did little to help her through this process.
In fact, she says he was “chasing a quick paycheque” so neglected to give her important information such as
• The fact that she could try to negotiate the price down.
• The state of the house, including electricity problems that she inherited after moving in. He also did not push for the previous owners to leave the house and ultimately left her to deal with it on her own. “To this day, they still owe me a month’s rent for the duration they stayed after the transfer had taken place.”
From a house to a home
Despite the challenges though, Shadung’s achievement has ignited hope and pride within her family. “My mother is still very proud. Even when talking to people about it, you can see a glow and pride in our achievement.
“The reason I say ‘our’ achievement and not mine is because my mother played an important role in making this dream come true. I am the hope for a better life that my mother did not even see coming.”
Her status as a homeowner has also changed the way she and her family think about property. “I view this home as an investment and my family is well aware of how it could help me buy more houses and, as a result, lead to the start of generational wealth. My sister would also love to one day buy her first property.
“I feel that, if I had had a good head start, I probably would have accomplished a lot more than I currently have and I do not want my children and my niece to walk the same difficult paths I did.” Shadung’s home purchase has also motivated close friends to take their first steps on the property ladder.
Where to from here?
At first, after buying the property, she felt like she had “made it in life” but this changed as she realised she had more to achieve. While the purchase “still warms my heart”, it has opened her eyes to the property industry and the potential investment holds.
“My intention was purely to give my mother a home but, with research, I realised I could create wealth from it to buy more houses for investment purposes. This could lead to a sound and stable retirement plan for myself.”
For this reason, Shadung does not intend to live in this house – which she shares with her mother, sister and niece – forever; it is merely a starter home.
“I would love to purchase a townhouse for me to live in and, hopefully, another house that I could rent out. “My mother is truly fond of this house, though, so maybe I will leave her to stay in it while I go make some more bacon to purchase more properties.”
Words of wisdom
Shadung adds: “I encourage more young people to be drivers of their futures and to understand that, while their past is not their fault, where their future takes them is all in their hands. “Property is my future, my wealth and my legacy.” And it could be yours too.