Young middle class South Africans increasingly attracted by property
One of the gratifying aspects of working in the property sector at present, said Bill Rawson, Chairman of Rawson Properties, is that despite the difficult conditions more and more young, well-educated people, often with degrees, are now expressing an interest in making property a full or part-time career.

"Previous generations," said Rawson, "were often far too willing to join a big corporate and quite possibly spend their entire working lives there.

This may have been safe but it was often fairly dull.

"More recently many young people have also been inclined to fritter away their initial working years on travel, luxury goods and pursuits which add nothing to their work experience and work competence.

“Today it is increasingly realised that corporates cannot be relied on for long-term employment, a fact reinforced by recent retrenchments.

"As a result I increasingly come across young people who feel very differently to those of my generation: they recognise the value of qualifications such as a CA or an engineering degree but they often see these as no more than a stepping stone to independent entrepreneurial career - and more and more they see property as offering them the opportunity to be independent and work on their own."

Asked what advice he would give to such people, Rawson said that they should set about acquiring their first investment property as early on as possible and put this high on their priority list - ahead of smart cars, expensive holidays or other unnecessary luxuries.

"Once the first investment begins to prove successful," said Rawson, "the bug usually bites and the potential of being able to earn an income this way becomes all engrossing and steadily more fascinating."

The danger, said Rawson, is that the young entrepreneur will over-extend himself and be caught short by interest rate increases or a poor tenant - so there should always be sufficient cash on hand to ride out a six to 12 month difficult period.

The franchisee system operated by any of the major property groups in South Africa today, whether it be for marketing, administering, auctioning or developing property, said Rawson, has been a further boost to the entrepreneurial spirit and those who have complemented their franchising with adequate training have provided a valuable service to South Africa.

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