Turning Dreams into Reality: Winston Kunene's advice on investing in Real Estate in your 20s

By Lindelwa Masuku

Joburg Post's 'From The Expert' series highlights young professionals and business leaders across various industries. This week, we have property expert, Thembisa Winston Kunene, who is the founder of Libertalia Group and Mwesu Properties. 

With a genuine passion for real estate, Winston has been able to generate wealth, invest, and make money in the property market. In this article, he shares his insights on 'Securing your first property in your 20's'.

Winston is a young and ambitious entrepreneur who has made a name for himself in the South African property industry. At a young age, he founded Libertalia Properties, a real estate company that has grown to become one of the most successful in the country.

Thembisa Winston Kunene, who is the founder of Libertalia Group and Mwesu Properties.

With a focus on education and youth empowerment, Winston has not only achieved great success in his business, but also been recognized for his efforts through various awards and nominations. 

Winston advises that there are several ways to acquire property and financial freedom, but one needs to educate themselves on the ways to capitalize on them, such as improving their credit score, researching the market, and understanding the amenities around the property. 

He also discusses some of the common mistakes first-time homebuyers make, such as not getting prequalified, making impulsive decisions, and not sticking to their budget. 

Winston stresses the importance of understanding the location, latent and patent defects of the property, and working with a trusted and professional estate agent.

Thembisa Winston Kunene, who is the founder of Libertalia Group and Mwesu Properties.

We will delve into Winston's story, his achievements, and what sets Libertalia Properties apart in the highly competitive world of real estate.

Briefly introduce yourself tell us what inspired you to start Libertalia Group and Mwesu Properties, and how you got started in the real estate industry?

 What inspired me to start the Libertalia group and Mwesu properties is my genuine passion in  real estate that I developed after having learnt of all the different ways one could make money,  invest, and generate wealth in property. 

I also did have an entrepreneurial background from my high school, and I found an opportunity through a lady that was an estate agent, and she was looking for young entrepreneurs coming up. Since then I have invested quite a lot into my  career and was able to do very well for myself.  

Many young people may feel that purchasing a property is out of reach, what advice would you give to someone in their 20s who is considering buying their first home?

The advice that I would give to someone in their 20s about purchasing property is there are  quite a lot of ways to go about acquiring property and financial freedom but unless you are  willing to actually do their work in finding out some of those ways and how to capitalize on them.

For example, something like credit score and a lot of times young people live not  
necessarily looking at certain life decisions that they are making in their 20s affect their overall  financial wellbeing so most importantly one needs to educate themselves on all that they can do  to better position themselves.  

What are some common mistakes you see first-time homebuyers make, and how can they avoid them?

The common mistakes that home buyers first make is not understanding how much they can afford and not getting prequalified, not having an idea of where they stand in terms of how much the bank would loan them.

Also not doing enough research in terms of the market that you want to buy in if you do not know how much properties are selling for around you, not understanding the amenities that are around you that might prove problematic in the long run.

Last thing mistake is making an emotional or impulsive decision and not sticking to  your budget now that you see something.

What are some of the key factors to consider when choosing a property, such as location, size, and amenities?

Some of the key factors to consider when choosing a property obviously the first would be the  location, so that one is very important because unless you understand the market and the area and the financial shifts that are happening around the area you can easily fall into overpaying for a certain property.

Or get into a situation where you've now  brought a particular property at a very high price but the market or the area is declining. 10- 15 years down the line you are not able to basically get back the money that you invested into  the property. 

Secondly I'd say secondly the most important thing is sticking to your budget which I mentioned in the past question so I won’t go into it and thirdly, you'd need to know all they is to know about the property basically not only how big the property is but you need to understand the latent defects and the patent defects that the property comes and make sure that this is a property that you can resell back into the market when the time for that comes. 

How important is it for first-time homebuyers to work with a real estate agent, and what should they look for when choosing an agent?

 It is very important to work with an estate agent that the buying and selling process comes with  quite a lot of procedures that need to be conducted like the pre-qualification, the loading of  the property to screening and conducting the viewings and lastly quite a lot of admin and you need an  understanding of property law as well. 

What I would suggest you look for when working with an  estate agent I'd say always find somebody that you can trust because we always say that when  you are selling somebody's property you are basically working with their most valuable asset so  find somebody that you can trust, somebody who's professional and somebody who is efficient  as well.  

What kind of financial planning should first-time homebuyers do before purchasing a property, such as saving for a down payment or improving their credit score?

This is a very important one and they needs to be a lot of financial planning that one dose  before purchasing, like I just mentioned your property is going to be one of the most valuable assets that you will purchase so it's always advisable that you have a deposit and that you're going to go down for the property depending on your savings and then improving your credit score as well is like one of the most important things because that will affect the interest rates and your bond repayments.

How can technology and digital tools help streamline the home buying process, such as online property listings or virtual tours?

Online listings have absolutely changed the game for the better but not only that it's through the online research that you can now go to sites like lightstone where you can get a report of  the specific property that you are interested in and all the information about it and with virtual  tours as well now I can run viewings from the comfort of my home.  

Finally, what are your top tips for first-time homebuyers in their 20s, based on your experience in the real estate industry and as an entrepreneur?

My top tips for first time home buyers in their 20s would be to first start saving. Just make sure  that you start saving as soon as you can so that by the time that you need to pay for your  deposit and all the things that basically you would need to pay for you actually have an available  funds, secondly and I did speak about this prior but just make sure that you get pre-approved and start doing your market research as early as possible too. 

Thembisa Winston Kunene, who is the founder of Libertalia Group and Mwesu Properties.

Libertalia Properties, a South African real estate company, has been making significant strides in the property industry. The company has formed partnerships with notable organizations, including Keller Williams and Balwin Properties, to bring innovative development projects to the market.

At the core of Libertalia's success is its focus on education and training. The company provides real estate courses that aim to uplift and empower the youth of South Africa by equipping them with the necessary skills to build a career and investment portfolio in the industry. 

Libertalia's commitment to youth upskilling and opportunity creation has earned them a nomination for the inaugural Top 16 Youth-Owned Brands Awards.

In addition to this nomination, Libertalia has been shortlisted for the prestigious FORTY UNDER 40 AFRICA AWARDS. These awards recognize young business leaders from a wide range of industries who have demonstrated professional excellence, commitment to business growth, and community service. 

Thembisa Winston Kunene, who is the founder of Libertalia Group and Mwesu Properties.

The nomination is a testament to Libertalia's commitment to building a better future for the youth of South Africa.

Libertalia Properties' success in the industry is evident in its partnership with Balwin Properties, the largest sectional title developer in South Africa. Balwin Properties currently has 97 developments, with a total of 47 529 apartments in South Africa. 

Libertalia's partnership with Keller Williams, the largest real estate franchise in number of agents and sales volume for 2018 and 2019, has also contributed to the company's success. 

Libertalia's dedication to education and training, combined with Keller Williams' industry expertise, has resulted in a winning formula for the company and its clients.

With its commitment to education and training, partnerships with industry leaders, and recognition from prestigious awards, Libertalia Properties is poised to continue making significant contributions to the South African real estate industry.

Article Tags

Thembisa Winston Kunene

Libertalia Group

Property South Africa

Real Estate

Property Entrepreneur

40 Under 40 Africa

Mwesu Properties

Property in your 20s


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