Michael Schaefer and the ZDFin team have been hard at work since starting ZDFin at the height of the Covid lockdown in June 2020. In the year since it launched, ZDFin has expanded now boasting a national footprint and simultaneously built up a growing loan book ,“and we haven’t even scratched the surface,” Schaefer adds, reflecting on the company’s first year in business.
“The business has been phenomenally received, across the board,” he continues, “not only because of the dire need for specialist finance for schemes, but we have genuinely changed the landscape. Our rates and costing model are more competitive than the other players in the market, who have been forced to relook their rates, the result of which is beneficial to our clients and the greater market; we’re offering more choice and we have the added competitive advantage of years of practical expertise gained in the trenches…in excess of 50 years… in our team. There really is no substitute for experience in the property industry, especially the scheme market, which is a different animal, as those in the know will attest to.”
Schaefer is the first to admit that the specialist financing industry gets a bad rap because of ‘the dearth of credible players’. “Our personal service and results show that we walk the talk and deliver on our promises. We are invested in whatever scheme we take on because we have the field experience and we know what needs to be done in order to affect the day to day quality of life for residents. By working hand in hand with the scheme’s appointed Managing Agent (MA), we bring further benefit to the scheme as an external, impartial support.
The ZDFin offering is about tailor-making solutions with one or a combination of financial products to suit the community scheme, whether it be bodies corporate, share-block or home owners’ associations. Adding to the existing basket of services, the group recently signed up their first sectional title scheme in Hyde Park, Johannesburg, as executive managing agents (EMA), and is in the process of concluding a further five. With arguably no independent, specialist providers offering the service , Schaefer believes this to be an area with ‘significant scope for growth’.
“Acting as EMA for community schemes, is a natural extension of what we’re already doing and a nice fit for our business model. We have an experienced management team and the capacity to provide skilled, experienced and objective third-party decision-making in fulfilment of the EMA functions and duties.”
With their national footprint and the added value they bring through an in-house legal team and network of established and reputable partners such as managing agents, engineers, quantity surveyors, insurance specialists, maintenance contractors and valuers, ZDFin is able to offer smart financial and practical solutions for a growing list of management problems.