“This is both a good way to assess your ability to afford your repayments, and it makes the bank far more likely to approve your home loan,” says Linda Rall, ooba’s KwaZulu-Natal sales manager.
Rental maintenance: tenant & landlord
Navigating the ins and outs of a rental agreement can be tricky – especially when it comes to maintenance and repairs. Both tenants and landlords should take careful consideration of their rights and responsibilities before placing their signatures on that dotted line. “The law is fairly open ended as far as the maintenance and repairs section of a rental agreement is concerned,” explains Michelle Dickens, MD of registered credit bureau TPN. “It states simply that a landlord is required to maintain the property such that it is fit for the purpose for which it was let.”
What exactly does that mean? Well, as Dickens points out, this generally relates to the general fixtures and fittings which must be maintained in a workable condition, things such as a functional geyser that produces hot water, doors which lock and a stove that works. She cautions though that this will not usually apply if the required maintenance or repairs in question are a direct result of the tenant’s negligence.
Dickens further warns that the tenant and landlord’s respective responsibilities are subject to differ based on what has been signed in the lease agreement. “Always make sure you read your lease agreement carefully, and remember anything that you agree to must be put down in writing otherwise it will not hold as far as the law is concerned,” she advises.
Can partner withdraw from joint bond?
Two Property24 readers ask questions about how one party to a home loan can be released so that the other is free to apply for a new bond of their own.
Michele Bovet, Marketing Manager at SA Home Loans, advises:
Q 1. I would like to know if the joint partner in a home loan wants to withdraw from the joint bond, is that possible? For instance my sister who needs to buy her own house. How do we go about this?
A. It would depend on the type of bond, direct or indemnity. Direct bonds allow endorsements, while indemnity bonds would need to be cancelled and re-registered. It would also depend on the relationship of the bondholders.
Commercial property demand and trends
The commercial property sector is set to improve in 2013 because of the difficulties of bringing new developments into fruition, and this will create demand for property in certain areas in the country such as Houghton, Bryanston and Rosebank, according to Paul Barrow, head of property at the Barrow Group in Johannesburg. Barrow says the construction sector has been through tough times with signs of improvement, however, it remains difficult to get a development off the ground due to several factors including delays in municipal provision of services, as well as difficulties in accessing development finance.
He points out that Government’s planned rollout for infrastructural spend, upgrading of roads and improvement of services will hopefully stimulate the economy, providing work for property professionals.
Office property market
Barrow says B and C grade office properties remain under pressure especially in marginal areas and this trend is expected to remain stagnant.
Ins and outs of sect. title insurance
Many owners of sectional title units are under the mistaken impression that the body corporate's insurance policy covers movables such as furniture and curtains, as well as the buildings, common property and all fixtures within the sections. However, this is not the case. Martin Bester, Managing Director of Intersect Sectional Title Services, a sectional title specialist company based in the Western Cape, offers some advice on common issues encountered with the insurance of Sectional Title units.
What does the body corporate insurance policy cover?
Prescribed Management Rule 29(1) (a) places a duty on the trustees to ensure that the buildings and all improvements to the common property are insured, while the onus for insurance on moveable items falls on the individual residents.
Bester says the body corporate insurance policy covers the building(s), all fixtures and fittings, and liability and indemnity insurance against perils that are specified in the Act, as well as other perils that the members may decide are required.
Can I cancel lease if my power is cut?
A Property24 reader asks:
I am a tenant and the owner has not paid his municipal rates and taxes, therefore the power has been cut for the premises I am renting. The estate agent has allowed the owner 14 days to remedy the situation, this means that I could be without electricity for two weeks.
I would like to have the lease cancelled, what are my rights?
Yusuf Boda, legal manager at Legal & Tax, advises:
When an act of an owner renders the property unfit for the purpose for which it was let, such as no water or electricity, a burst geyser, non-working oven, etc. these would need to be attended to by the owner or agency and failure to do so would constitute a material breach of the lease agreement.
Finding finance for your first home
Buying a home is the biggest financial commitment that most people will make and for those who are struggling to afford that first step onto the property ladder, there are options. This is according to bond originator ooba who says when you start thinking about buying a home, the first thing that you need to do is save up for a deposit.
Then remember that aside from your deposit and your monthly repayments, you will also have to come up with the cash for the legal costs, transfer duty, bond registration and bank fees. There are several online tools to help you calculate the costs involved in your property purchase, such as monthly bond repayments, how much you'll need to save every month for a deposit and bond and transfer costs.
Technology focal point in real estate
The continual developments in technology have raised the efficiency of many businesses and also had a massive impact on the way property transactions are handled across the globe. This is according to Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, who says that the way forward is to tap into mobile internet users. He refers to The Internet Access in South Africa 2012 study conducted by World Wide Worx, headed by Arthur Goldstuck who is regarded as South Africa’s leading expert on internet and mobile technology trends. “The report indicates that broadband access in South Africa has more than doubled in the last two years as mobile operators cut the cost of data and network roll-out accelerated." World Wide Worx found the total number of fixed line broadband subscriptions in South Africa is now outnumbered 8 to 1 by mobile broadband subscriptions.
Goslett says the study also shows that Internet penetration in South Africa is approaching 20 percent and, for the first time, the mass market is embracing digital tools on their phones.
Tips for the successful investor
Investors often face a dilemma when investing their money due to the trade-off between income and capital growth. Typically, there are investments which provide a high level of income, such as bonds and cash, but which have less scope for capital growth. Conversely there are investments which produce a low level of income but have an ability to grow that income, and thus enjoy good capital growth over time. Choosing between these investments can be difficult.
Marriott Asset Management says a potential solution to this dilemma is to adopt a balanced approach, blending different asset classes to achieve one’s objective – a trend which they notice is on the rise at present.
"By combining high yielding investments (i.e. bonds) with investments that have the ability to grow their income (i.e. equities), it is possible for an investor to attain a reasonable level of income with inflation-hedged income and capital growth. The income can be used to fund a lifestyle or can be reinvested to accumulate more capital."
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