eKasi is making property accessible to people living in townships

A Durban company is taking auctions to the townships in order to create awareness around property-ownership benefits

While vehicle and property auctions are often seen as the preserve of rich people who can pay cash for assets, Troy Meyers of eKasi is taking auctions to the townships.

Regarding eKasi, he says: “This is a company that has, as its strategic objective, the clear intention of servicing the medium to lower end of the fixed property market as its primary focus. Not many companies see immediate or quick returns or gains emanating from this sector of society, hence it’s, in our view, underestimated or doesn’t receive adequate attention as an investment opportunity.”

READ MORE: Substantial growth in township house prices

He, however, sees potential to “expand into these underserved areas and, thereby, stimulating interest and hopefully forging and growing new economic growth points within townships”. eKasi hopes to achieve this by providing the knowledge and enabling environment required in order for people to acquire assets.

eKasi’s first township auction – featuring luxurious vehicles and fixed properties for sale – took place last month at Durban’s  popular hangout spot, Eyadini Lounge in Umlazi.

Meyers says eKasi aims to target popular places such as shopping centres and shisa nyama spots. “The areas we like to concentrate on are your traditional black townships, peri-urban nodes, as well as places frequented by upwardly mobile sectors of our communities,” he says.

“As eKasi, we think can assist in breaking the perceived stranglehold that the established networks and exclusive buyer pools have over determining who gets what, perpetuating the holding patterns in the creation of wealth for a well-connected elite within the industry.

“So we also believe that getting out of the comfort zones where auctions take place is what’s going to make us different, because the new buyer can participate and learn in an environment that’s not alienating and intimidating,” explains Meyers

READ MORE: House price growth in townships outperforms suburbs

Meyers has been in the auction business for many years, having been introduced to it by James Shaw, who is a traditional auctioneer.

“I first started my own property/estate agency company at the age of 28 in 1994. The market in those days was very finite and lacklustre, so I entered the construction industry for about 10 years before returning to the sales side of things. Eight years ago, I joined James Shaw, my current partner, an ex-CEO of Aucor, a national massive cooperate auctioning house. We have worked together in building a reputation in the industry. We’ve also struck up a working relationship with township-based estate agents and our strategic partner, Pakama Nhassengo, who is a property developer in his own right,” says Meyers.

“Purchasing goods at an auction, for the seller, is an efficient and quick way of gaining much-needed liquidity in a difficult situation. For the buyer, it’s an opportunity to get assets at a more reduced price than normal as it’s understood that the goods on sale are sold under the likelihood of urgency and a bargain might be in the offing. All this creates an atmosphere of excitement and expectation. Therein lies the possibility of being a winner for both buyer and seller: it’s the experienced satisfaction that keeps bringing people back to auctions.”

READ MORE: Soweto entrepreneur on turning failed businesses into a success

Auction dos and don’ts:

  • A big no-no is getting caught up in a bidding battle with other bidders that’s driven by ego.
  • Don’t get caught up in the hype and flattery of some unethical auctioneers, rather do your own assessment or bring help along to get an idea of what an item or asset is worth.
  • Decide on your bidding cut-off and don’t let your emotions or the heat of the moment sway you to bid for more than what you can afford.

Be aware that many bidders lose their deposits or could be held legally liable for losses incurred for inconclusive transactions.