Property 24/10 - 179

Agent deadline for NQF4 extended
Certain members of the real estate marketing sector heaved sighs of relief when the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) recently announced that the January 2014 deadline for all unqualified estate agents to achieve their NQF4 qualifications had been extended to June 2015.

“Before this announcement,” says Wayne Albutt, the Rawson Property Group’s Regional Sales Manager for the Western Cape, “we were heading for a situation where a small percentage of estate agents would, as a result of being unqualified, have either had to retire or work illegally, i.e. without official recognition.”

He says there still are some estate agents who due either to old age or a reluctance to tackle study of any sort, have not even started on achieving competency recognition.

“In my view this is totally illogical because, although the work involved can take time, the EAAB qualifications are relatively easy to achieve and any estate agent who has gained some experience already would find that what is required of him is highly appropriate and useful,” says Albutt.

Poor workmanship in sectional titles
A sectional title building in need of refurbishing, which then is discovered to have a number of design faults and waterproofing issues can create huge financial problems and strain on the reserve funds the body corporate has set aside (if they have any).

This is according to Michael Bauer, general manager of IHFM, who says when IHFM was called in to assist at a ten-year old, 92 unit complex in Kenilworth, Cape Town, it was found that each block (the scheme is made up of six smaller blocks) needed to be assessed separately as they had different configurations.

He says it was then found that each block had a vast amount of damp and damage to the external walls, which would need to be seen to before the building could be painted (which was at first the original job at hand).

In another inspection, Bauer says, when the body corporate wanted to install prepaid metres for the water supply, they realised they couldn’t because the plumbing had been installed badly and did not comply with the relevant regulations and standards.

Top tips for South African landlords
Since the inception of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), there has been much debate on whether provisions in the Act apply to residential leases.

This is according to Gail Cawood, general manager of letting at Knight Frank SA, who says it should be borne in mind that the initial vetting processes before signing a lease should be stuck to so as to ensure that the tenant is one who can be relied on to be a steady payer and someone who wants to live in the home for a long time.

Section 14 of the Act, which applies to fixed term leases, applies to juristic persons. Cawood says many landlords know that tenants have the right to cancel their lease, giving 20 working days’ written notice, provided that all the rent due, up to the date of the lease cancellation has been paid as well as a reasonable penalty

Why you must pay home loan on time
For most people, a home is the biggest asset they’ll own in their lifetime - one that could create long-term wealth, if handled correctly. Not fulfilling your bond repayments will not only jeopardise this important asset, but could also have an adverse affect on your financial life including your credit record.

Marius Marais, CEO of FNB Housing Finance, says buying and owning a home is a good way to build wealth, however, homeowners need to make every possible provision to repay their bonds, even when faced with financial difficulties.

He says there are a number of serious consequences to defaulting on your home loan. Missing even one bond repayment becomes a problem as there are penalties incurred and catching-up, if you are already experiencing financial difficulties, becomes a difficult task, he says.

To fix home loan interest rate or not?
With the prime interest rate at a low that was last seen in the market over 30 years ago, many homeowners may be contemplating fixing the rate on their bond.

This is particularly appealing to homeowners who are risk averse and want a fixed amount that they can budget for each month, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

“Where a homeowner stands financially, along with their appetite for risk, will be the determining factors as to whether a homeowner chooses to fix their rate or opt for a variable or flexi rate."

He says homeowners who are at their budget’s limit and cannot take the risk of an interest rate increase are probably more likely to opt for a fixed rate than those who have some breathing room in their budget. The security of a fixed rate ensures that the homeowner will not have to deal with any unexpected changes and additions to their monthly expenses for a fixed period of time.

Property and online marketing
Today almost all large estate agency groups use both printed and digital media to advertise their stock, services and to build their reputations with the general public.

This has greatly complicated the whole process of identifying where buyers are coming from, where they are most easily found and what they respond to best, says Bill Rawson, Chairman of the Rawson Property Group.

The online property portal services, says Rawson, now offer such good value that estate agencies have no option but to use a wide variety of these. "However, there are question marks over which websites are the most effective and where the emphasis should be placed from now on."

He says all they do know is that over 70 percent of buyers today genuinely do consult the internet in their search for a home. "We also know that one serious misdemeanour publicised on the internet can at least temporarily have quite a severe dampening effect for an entire group, although it is remarkable how these groups manage to survive what many of us would regard as a shattering blow to their reputation.”

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