Category General News

HAVING chalked up sales amounting to more than R5million last year, Carol Higgs of the Dormehl Phalane Property Group's Upper Highway branch was the proud recipient of a 'Millionaire's Award' at this year's DPPG awards ceremony held in Port Edward in March.

Her branch took five awards, having been rated No 1 for Referrals in 2018, No 2 for Registered Residential Sales in 2018, No 5 for Franchise of the Year 2018, and No 2 for the Ooba Achiever award Units and Rands Coastal.

A full-status residential agent, Carol has been at the Upper Highway branch since the beginning of  2018, but has been in the world of real estate since late 2007, having worked for two other property companies. 

Before having been bitten by the property bug she was reaching for the sky, so to speak, as since 1979 she was employed in the travel industry, working for various airlines and travel agencies.

"I joined DPPG on January 4, 2018, and left my previous employ after 10 years when the owner/manager sold his business. Dormehl Phalane appealed to me because the staff always seemed friendly and more personable, and it didn't seem as though they were just numbers in a large organisation," says Carol.

Marketing awareness and implementing methods out of the norm are strengths of the DPPG brand, she adds, explaining that her branch "really works as a team... no individual separation. We help each other with support and advice".

Carol believes strengths she brings to the branch and the group are her reliability, honesty, accuracy, communication skills and perseverance.

"Jean Liversedge is our branch manager and we currently have 11 agents in our combined offices of Gillitts and Waterfall, under the Upper Highway banner," she says.

"We only sell residential freehold, sectional title and vacant-land properties. Rentals and commercial sales are handled by other branches." 

The Upper Highway area in KwaZulu-Natal covers Kloof, Gillitts, Hillcrest, Assagay, Summerveld, Bothas Hill, Inchanga, Drummond, Monteseel, Camperdown, Waterfall, Crestholme and Crestview. 

The appeal of the area, Carol says, is that it falls west of the city of Durban, about a 30-minute drive from the coast, and is on a higher altitude with far more dense vegetation and cleaner, healthier, atmospheric conditions. 

"The weather is far milder than on the coast and the area has a feel of being in the country. We have numerous shopping centres, some of the best schools in the country, a state-of-the-art hospital in Hillcrest, as well as medical centres. 

"Our area also provides for all other amenities required, such as a vast array of restaurants, sports, health, equestrian clubs and family craft and food markets, not to mention libraries and municipal offices. 

"There really is no need to leave the area for most requirements. Plus, our upmarket areas provide for the most cost-effective properties in comparison to other upmarket areas such as Umhlanga, Durban North and Ballito."

Carol admits that the current state of the economy has had a backlash on the property market in general.

 "The lower-end market has been more active, however, for this reason. The upper-end properties remain on the market for a longer period nowadays, so correct pricing of properties is imperative for selling objectives. This has projected more input for better marketing."

Born in Durban on August 18, 1959, Carol has lived in the 'sunshine city' all her life. She was schooled in the Queensburgh area, obtained a matric exemption pass, then did a stint at the University of Natal.

However, she says she became impatient, wanting to enter the working world. So she obtained a position with a travel agency, "quite by accident", in 1979.

"From there I moved on to airlines such as SAA, Air Mauritius and Lufthansa, then back into leisure, and was mostly with corporate travel agencies until 2007."

During this time, Carol was fortunate to have travelled the world, visiting Mauritius, Reunion, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Greece, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Turkey, England, France, the US, Brazil, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, the UAE and Australia. 

"After almost 30 years in the travel industry, I decided I needed a change - and having always had a keen interest in home décor and design, I was prompted to try my hand at real estate. I have since acquired all the necessary national qualifications to endorse PPRE (Property Professional in Real Estate) after my name."

Away from the property world, Carol enjoys any quiet time, "away from cellphones, screens and people". She loves meditating, reading and listening to music, and also enjoys trying recipes from other countries, home décor ideas and health topics.

Carol has married twice and has a 34-year-old daughter (Cara Leigh Skinner) from her first marriage, who now lives on the Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia.

"Her father, Noel Skinner, and I met in the travel industry. He is now retired but still contracted to Comair Airlines. My second husband, Hilton Higgs, works in the flooring industry as a consultant. We have been together since 1991 and married in 2000."

What has been Carol's most memorable moment working in property? 

"Driving in a car rally with more than 30 branded vehicles, driving around our area in the main streets, hooting and bringing attention to ourselves. It was exhilarating," she says.

Her motto as a property person?
"Honesty and integrity always."

Author: Billy Suter

Submitted 12 Jun 19 / Views 202