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Property 24/10 - 156

16 May 2013

EAAB monitoring system 'unworkable'
The latest figures from South Africa’s Estate Agency Affairs Board show that currently only 32 718 estate agents are still working in the formally recognised sector of the industry.  Of these, 10 373 are now fully qualified agency principals, 12 162 are full status (i.e. fully qualified) estate agents and 10 183 are interns learning to become fully fledged agents. Another 47 are attorneys who have chosen to acquire Fidelity Fund Certificates.

Tony Clarke managing director of the Rawson Property Group, says it is now law that all new entrants to the estate agency profession, regardless of their qualifications, have to be registered with the EAAB as interns and have to be monitored by their principals or by a full status estate agent who is fully qualified and has had a Fidelity Fund Certificate for at least three consecutive years, for a period of 12 months.

Interns are not allowed to perform any action which could affect the outcome of the sale unless they are in the presence of and under the supervision of a mentor. All documentation has to be completed under the mentor’s surveillance and any valuation of a property can only be accepted if the mentor has inspected it. Similarly, any negotiation regarding price and conditions has to be done under the guidance of their mentor.
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79% of home buyers search online
New research commissioned by Century Properties Developments has revealed a dramatic increase in the numbers of South Africans who use the internet to search and view new homes.  A sample of 200 local home buyers and 100 estate agents were interviewed regarding what media and method locals used to find a new home.

79 percent use the internet with an online breakdown revealing interesting results; this means almost eight out of 10 local home buyers are currently looking online.

Specifically 62 percent of home buyers use property24.com while 11 percent use privateproperty.com and 10 percent use fin24.com

The remaining four percent use estate agent websites while a paltry one percent use search engines such as Google and Yahoo.

The survey revealed that more traditional media like newspapers are still used by 58 percent of local home buyers, but the internet is now the first port of call for most South Africans when looking for property to buy.
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Can I cancel my offer to purchase?

A Property24 reader asks:
Does the offer to purchase bind the buyer to buy the property? If so how long is it valid and can it be terminated if I decide to change my mind and go for another property?

Jaco Rademeyer, from Jaco Rademeyer Estates, responds:
According to section 2 of the Alienation of Land Act 68 of 1981, no alienation of land shall be of any force or effect unless it is contained in a deed of alienation signed by the purchaser and the seller. A deed of alienation is also known as the offer to purchase. To be a valid, an offer to purchase must therefore be in writing and signed by the parties. Those are the only legal formalities that are prescribed for a valid offer to purchase.
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Relief for Homeowners’ Associations
Homeowners’ Associations and property developers will be relieved to know that they can veto transfer of a property in a security estate where the owner of that property has failed to pay all outstanding levies to the Homeowners' Association.  This is according to Izanne van Zyl, a candidate attorney at Norton Rose South Africa. She explains that in Cowin and Sekati NO vs Kyalami Estate Homeowners Association, one of the property owners in the Kyalami security estate, Silver Tunnel Investments 7 (Pty) Ltd, was liquidated. 

The liquidators had sold the property and wanted transfer of the property to be registered in disregard of the title conditions in favour of the Homeowners’ Association.

According to the title conditions:
“Every owner of the erf or any subdivision thereof or any unit thereon as defined in the Sectional Titles Act, shall automatically become and shall remain a Member of the Homeowners' Association and be subject to its constitution until he ceases to be an owner as aforesaid. 
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Capital gains tax favours small man
When dealing with new mortgage bond applications there is often a fear in buyers' minds (as a result of being wrongly advised) that when they eventually come to sell their homes they will lose much of the profit of their primary asset, as a result of Capital Gains or other taxes.  “A great deal of education is still required on this subject because less informed members of the public hold back from becoming property owners through fear of loosely defined taxes,” says Mike van Alphen, National Manager of the Rawson Property Group’s bond origination division, Rawson Finance.

The Capital Gains Tax system, says van Alphen, is, in fact, slanted in favour of the small man who buys an inexpensive property in which he and his family will live, i.e. which will serve as his primary residence. In these cases a R1.5 million capital gain or loss is disregarded for tax purposes. Furthermore, if the total proceeds of the sale of a primary residence do not exceed R2 million, any capital gain or loss is also disregarded. The only important exception to this rule, he says, is that if part of the premises have been used for trade or as a work-from-home office, as that portion of the building is rated on a different tax basis.
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