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14 November 2013

Challenges in EAAB’s intern programme
The Estate Agency Affairs Board’s programme to transform the real estate sector by introducing previously disadvantaged learners into estate agencies across the country, which was proposed and put together by the former Minister of Human Settlements, Tokyo Sexwale, is now about to go ahead and following its adoption by the new Minister, the Honourable Connie September, will be rolled out over the next ten weeks.

Bryan Chaplog, CEO of the Estate Agency Affairs Board, has asked for all estate agency leaders to sign a pledge form, committing their companies to the programme and the response has been very positive says Tony Clarke, Managing Director of the Rawson Property Group.

“As proposed at the original summit conference, where I played an integral role,” says Clarke, “the main aim of the programme is to de-racialise the estate agency sector. The goal is to have every agency in South Africa as well as each branch/franchise of those agencies to take on a new intern agent from a previously disadvantaged background.”
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Investing in a holiday home
The Estate Agency Affairs Board’s programme to transform the real estate sector by introducing previously During December, many people explore the opportunity of buying a holiday home in their favourite destination. ooba have listed a few pointers to consider when you are investigating buying an investment property.

Andrea Atkinson, ooba’s Eastern Cape sales manager, says buying a holiday home is a big expense and commitment, and the kinds of things you should consider are different to your first home.

"You need to make sure that you know as much about the property and the local market as possible before taking such a big step."

She suggests asking yourself or your estate agent the following questions:
Why are you buying the property? It’s important to understand exactly what you are buying the property for, as this will affect the decisions you make.
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Tax on rent: room in a house & flat
Following a recent article published by Property24 - Tax & garden flat - what can I claim? - three readers had questions relating to renting out a room in a house, an investment property in a sectional title scheme and a flat.

Johan Swart, tax manager at Legal & Tax, advises our Property24 readers:

Q.1 Tax and investment property - what can I claim?
Q.2 - I rent out a room in my house, what about tax?
Q 3 - Renting out my flat and paying tax
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Dread selling your home? Read this
Selling your home is always a wrench, especially if it’s been your family residence for a long time and is full of happy memories.

If you then add the stress of organising the actual move – deciding what to take and what to discard, packing everything up, hiring movers and dealing with details such as insurance, utility and phone disconnections and letting everyone know about your change of address – it’s no wonder that sellers often feel like calling the whole thing off.

This is according to Jan Davel, MD of the RealNet real estate franchise group, who says it doesn’t help that moving often brings with it all sorts of unexpected expenses such as connection deposits, locksmith’s charges, additional insurance, cleaning costs and, if you are moving from a freehold property to an estate, access tag deposits and the first month’s levy.

But cancelling the deal is generally not an option unless you want to incur legal and financial penalties, he says, so the best thing to do is remind yourself why you decided to sell and then try to focus on creating a brighter future in your new area and community.
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Estate agents audit requirements
The Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) has made it clear that all estate agents, whether they operate as sole proprietors, close corporations, Pty Ltd companies or partnerships of any kind, need to adhere to the audit requirements as set by the EAAB’s legislation.

This is according to Annette Evans, regional manager of the Institute of Estate Agents, Western Cape, who says while this seems to be a confusing and complicated process, all the steps are listed and agents should go through them meticulously.

There is an audit report format that has to be followed, which includes an audit report form, and all estate agencies should make sure that their accounting records are audited within four months of the last day of their financial year.

The auditor must be registered with the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors and the records that are to be included are:

  • documents showing all monies received and paid out,
  • whether to a trust account or invested in a savings or other account,
  • all assets and liabilities,
  • all financial transactions the financial position of the business.

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House prices and property investments
Data from the US shows that despite higher taxes and the introduction of the Sequester, the USA household balance sheet has improved meaningfully, retail sales have maintained solid growth, industrial output is back almost to its previous high levels, the employment situation is improving (189 000 new jobs have been created per month in the last five months) and, significantly for the South African housing sector, house prices in the USA have risen by more than 10 percent in one year, according to the STANLIB survey.

Kevin Lings chief economist at STANLIB predicts that housing activity will continue to recover and that this will contribute about 0.3 percent to the US economic growth in 2013, currently running at just above 2 percent.

These and other factors raised the value of US household assets to almost $84 trillion at the end of the first quarter of this year and have also reduced home debt to a smaller percentage of overall household debt, says Bill Rawson, chairman of the Rawson Property Group.

“The increased confidence and optimism now seen in the USA will, I believe, be reflected in South Africa, as it has always done in the past, and the much improved performance in the US housing sector will also be seen here, especially now that repossessions are slowing down and in fact in some cases being terminated.”
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I've been told to get rid of my pet!
A Property24 reader asks:

Is a body corporate allowed to change the rules of a complex whenever they feel like it, without calling any general meetings to discuss things with owners and residents or put it to a vote? We have been renting in our complex for almost a year and have had two dogs since we moved in, which was never a problem, but now we are being told that we need to get rid of one of our animals.

When we signed the lease, we were not given any rules, but the owner and letting agent knew from day one how many pets we had. The body corporate has not formally changed the rules but after a year have told us to get rid of our pet.
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Cape Town office property market
While some nodes in parts of the country such as Sandton in Johannesburg are reportedly thriving, in Cape Town, the office property market remains under pressure characterised by increasing vacancies, moderate rental growth in a number of nodes that could be further compounded by additional new stock in the market.

According to the Cape Town Office Market Overview Q3 2013 report by Jones Lang LaSalle and Baker Street Properties, overall Cape Town vacancies increased to 10.4 percent from 9.8 percent in Q2 2013.

The bulk of these vacancies are in the secondary office market where some space has been vacant for long periods and show little chance of being filled as some landlords continue to pitch asking rentals above market expectations, reveals the report.

Furthermore, the Cape Town CBD’s secondary buildings in particular are mainly contributing to the rising vacancies with Grade B reaching 13.7 percent and Grade C now 26.9 percent.

The new stock scheduled to come on stream in the next few months will further add to escalating vacancies in the City of Cape Town, explain report writers, Ndibu Motaung, head of research at Jones Lang LaSalle and Dave Russell, commercial leasing and sales director at Baker Street Properties.
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