Property 24/10 - 175

8 things to consider when moving
We often take this for granted but picking the perfect moving date is key to a successful house move.

Make sure this date doesn’t conflict with any other planned event and that your friends and family, who have offered to help, are also freed up.

Neil Moodley from HandHop has the following advice...

1. Avoid moving on Fridays
Friday afternoons are generally the busiest time in South Africa and should be avoided at all costs. The last thing you want is waiting for your valuables to arrive.

2. Call in the professionals
When it comes to your chosen removal company, make sure you have done all the relevant background checks and research. There are many fly-by-night companies which claim that they can deliver but fall short dismally.

3. Have your possessions insured
Always make sure that all your possessions are insured. It might cost a few extra Rands but this gives you total peace of mind.

10 Common home defects
Most home defects are fairly common and knowing about them can help the estate agent advise both the buyer and seller on how to address these issues.

John Graham, CEO of HouseCheck has the following advice...

1. Home inspectors shouldalways check for poor drainage - that storm water flows away from the house properly and whether the roof needs new gutters and downpipes. They should also inspect whether there is a danger of water 'ponding' seeping under the foundation.

2. Faulty electrical, plumbing and gas installation in older homes often need electrical and plumbing upgrades, including new wiring, DB boards, hot water geysers and plumbing pipes and sanitaryware.

If electrical wiring, geysers and gas lines are not properly installed, a home may become a safety hazard.

3. Leaking roofs result from poor flashing, blocked gutters or aging roof coverings. Depending on the type of damage, repairs can range from minor to extensive.

REBOSA looking to transform industry
Real estate business organisation REBOSA says it is ready to start tackling some of the challenges facing the sector.

Chief executive officer, Roy Leigh says one of the most immediate tasks on REBOSA’s agenda is the Property Sector Charter (PSCC), an integral component of BEE legislation that is to be enacted in the next year. He says their task is to work with their members, stakeholders and government to find a workable solution with legislative measures that will give effect to meaningful transformation that enables rather than hampers the sustainability and growth of the sector.

As an industry, real estate is grappling with a number of challenges, not least of which is the introduction of around ten new pieces of legislation that affect their businesses quite dramatically.

Leigh says the prolonged economic downturn and low mortgage lending landscape has of course had a significant impact on the industry with overall sales volumes, agent numbers and the GDP contribution down by about 40 percent since 2007/8.

He says the real challenge therefore is how do they adapt and incorporate all of these new measures while still sustaining, never mind growing their current businesses to accommodate the aspirations of the previously disadvantaged. The reality is a global and national market that is growing slowly or in a decline with an outlook that is, at least for the foreseeable future, rather uninspiring, he adds.

Upgrade home sooner rather than later
Sellers want more for their properties while buyers still want to pay recession prices. This is always the scenario when a real estate market starts to turn upwards.

Lew Geffen, chairman of Sotheby’s International Realty in SA, says this should not discourage those with plans to upgrade to bigger or better located properties from doing so as soon as possible.Geffen says there are several very good reasons for doing so, particularly in the current SA market, the first being that it is probably going to take some time for home prices to start showing any significant upward movement.

Although there are many more buyers in the market now than there have been for the past few years, it is not quite a sellers’ market yet, he says, and banks are keeping a tight rein on things by valuing properties very conservatively for home loan purposes.

“There is therefore no point in delaying the sale of an existing property in the hope of getting a higher price to assist your upgrade,” he says.

Count the costs before you buy-to-let
According to the US National Association of Realtors (NAR), investment and holiday home buying accounted for 24 percent of all home sales last year, as buyers sought to make the most of low interest rates and a surplus of discounted repossessed properties that could quickly be turned into rental units.

In South Africa, buyers have been more cautious, despite low rates. According to the First National Bank (FNB) Property Barometer, investment or buy-to-let buying currently accounts for less than 10 percent of total property buying.

However, the trend does appear to be picking up, and those who are new to this type of investment do need to be sure that they are familiar with all the costs involved, says Shaun Rademeyer, CEO of BetterBond Homeloans.

Beware multiple offers when buying
Even though there has been much more activity in the property market lately, prospective buyers are value conscious and are virtually ignoring any home they think is overpriced, while zeroing in fiercely on property they think is correctly priced.

According to Lew Geffen, chairman of Sotheby’s International realty in South Africa, their attention is so focused that the sellers of well-priced homes are once again starting to receive multiple offers to buy – a market phenomenon that has not been in evidence for the past five or six years.

He says this is a good scenario for serious sellers. He says the banks are still being careful about granting home loans, and it is great to have a back-up offer in hand if the first buyer’s bond application should fail. “It is also useful if the first buyer’s offer was subject to the sale of an existing home and that sale does not materialise in the time allowed.”

However, he says, a multiple offer situation can be stressful for prospective buyers, so there are a few things they need to remember, the most important being that it is not always the first or the highest offer that is accepted.

Geffen says there are always two things that matter to a seller, price and terms, and both are open to negotiation. If, for example, the sellers have received a higher offer that is subject to the buyers being able to sell their own home, they might as well accept a lower offer that is non-contingent, depending on how quickly they themselves would like to move.

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