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Xolile Bhengu The Times
NOW SELLING: Wendy Machanik, MD of Wendy Machanik Properties  Picture: MARIANNE SCHWANKHART

NOW SELLING: Wendy Machanik, MD of Wendy Machanik Properties Picture: MARIANNE SCHWANKHART


For Wendy Machanik, putting a roof over someone’s head is a calling



The woman who is being touted in property circles as the next Pam Golding is a perfectionist who was once told by an employer that selling property was just not her thing.

Wendy Machanik, the chairman and founder of Wendy Machanik Properties, started her career as a property canvasser for Aida Geffen Properties in 1974 and almost immediately after joining the company she was given an opportunity to try her hand at being an estate agent.

“I sold my first house in Parkhurst within an hour of opening the show house, at a record R50 000 more than the mandate of R40000. I made R1125 in commission, which was a lot of money back then,” Machanick says.

Two years after joining Aida, Machanik had already made her mark in the property industry and was head- hunted by Dawn Dorfman, for whom she worked for 12 years.

Armed with years of experience and a passion for the property industry, Machanik then joined Kees Groenendyk, but was promptly fired .

“I was devastated to be told I did not have a property sales streak. I was told that property wasn’t for me and that I wouldn’t make it,” she says.

She went back to Dorfman and within a month she and her team had sold 10 houses.

“I was determined and on a mission to prove to myself and my former manager that real estate was for me and that I had the passion for it.”

In October 1989, Wendy Machanik Properties was born.

With no capital of her own to invest in the dream, Machanik took out a R150000 excess bond on her house, which was worth R350000 at the time.

Now, almost 20 years later, the company now has branches in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria and Randburg, and has sold more than 22000 houses and spent R5-million on advertising.

Apart from her home, Machanik now owns four business properties and a high season timeshare that she uses for 10 days each year.

“The man who told me I wouldn’t make it couldn’t face me for years,” muses Machanik.

“It wasn’t his fault, we just didn’t have the right chemistry.

“I realised in running my own business that when working with people there must be a catalyst for personalities that makes them complement one another and enhance success and talent.”

Machanik believes people’s lives revolve around home ownership.

“It’s a noble job to put a roof over someone’s head, and to this day I visit people to see if they are still happy with their homes.”

The births of two grandchildren, Bianca and Dylan, have taught Machanik to strike a balance between her professional and private life.

“It’s very difficult to juggle family and work. You always have to sacrifice one for the other,” she says.

“My greatest wish is to take three weeks off. I have trained most of the people in my management team, but I still feel like I need to be there.”

An antique cabinet tucked away in a corner of Machanik’s well-furnished Sandton office holds pictures of family and friends.

Pictures of her daughter, Nandy, late son, Brandon, foster daughter, Lerato Dube, and grandchildren hold pride of place.

“Lerato reminds me all the time that she’s a Zulu girl,” she says proudly.

Machanik says her main focus is to liberate and empower other women in the property industry.

“Is it okay to say black? I think the politically correct term is previously disadvantaged.

“It doesn’t matter, I have a BEE passion. I love grooming people.

“Women must just fight for their place in the world, and they must accept that men are threatened by powerful women.”

Machanik jogs and cycles daily, does Pilates and jaro exercises.

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