Property entrepreneur Sylvia Koketso Milosevic says there is never a bad time to invest in property.
Durban - There is never a bad time to invest in property. Even when the economy is on the skids, or when you have no money.

This is according to Sylvia Koketso Milosevic, a property entrepreneur who has built a sizeable property portfolio and now runs a educational company to help first-time home buyers who want to build up a similar portfolio.

“In fact, when the economy is bad, that is the best time to invest in property,” she said.

“There will be lots of bargains. But when I first started, I made lots of mistakes. My company now helps property investors to avoid the mistakes I made when I was first starting out. So even though now is a very good time to invest, there are two things you must never do: never buy property that will not pay for itself; and never try to do this on your own.

“These were exactly the mistakes I made when I first started out,” said Milosevic. “And so I created this company to provide advice, back-up and hands-on mentoring for first-time property investors.”

Milosevic was only 16 when she ­discovered the hard truth about the cost of living when her father was retrenched and the family lost their only income.

“It was really tough on us,” she said, “but it made me realise that a salary is not the only way to create income. That year my mother gave me a book on investing in property and I decided that this was going to be my passion.

“My knowledge was all theoretical, from books and I had no practical guidance. Then I saw an ad for a property seminar and I went to it.

“It was being hosted by a British company and it was almost as if they were talking to me. They listed all the mistakes I had made and told me how to avoid them. That was a turning point for me. I realised that South Africa did not have this kind of network - a property investment network and mentorship programme - so I decided to start one.”

“To date, we have had over 20000 students who went through our workshops and many lives were changed for the better thanks to this programme.

“We have called it Wealth Alliance, because that is what it is: an alliance of people wanting to create wealth through property investment.”

Five tips from Milosevic’s seminars

Always buy property at below market value. You will find these properties from distressed sellers, estate agents, sheriffs’ auctions or bank repossessed properties.

Try not to use your own money or take all the risk yourself. There are a number of tactics - getting an investment group together, making a deal with the seller.

Be careful of buy-to-rent if the market-related rental does not cover the bond and expenses.

You have to be hungry, you have to follow the rules and you must be persistent.

Don’t go in unprepared or uneducated. Property investment carries an element of risk and preparation and research are vital to avoid making a costly mistake.

The Mercury