Property 24/10 - 227

Challenges in affordable housing
While there has been an increase in the volume of land coming on stream for affordable housing developments over the last few years, there are a number of challenges that need to be overcome in order to sustain this trend.

According to Rocco De Kock, director of Valumax Group, one of these challenges relates to the often protracted procurement processes involved in obtaining government owned land, making it vital to identify and deploy mechanisms to assist in accelerating the sale of land.

“Such mechanisms need to consider streamlining supply chain requirements as the existing system can make it difficult for officials to award projects or tenders. Key to improving this is simplifying tender or decision making processes.”

House hunting with Absa's new app
Over the past few years, home buyers’ searching patterns have become more reliant on technology, with a consistent increase in the use of smartphones or tablets to find suitable properties.

The majority of marketed homes are now listed online where buyers can learn everything about a house before they even set foot in it. When they pull up to the curb, they’ve likely already experienced a virtual tour or seen photos of all its features and just want to see if it’s as nice in real life as it looks online.

With the launch of the Absa Homeowner App, prospective home buyers can now conduct property searches, rate properties, calculate home loan repayment costs, moving costs and transfer duties using the app. The Absa Homeowner App can be downloaded onto iOS and Android smartphones as well as on iPads (selecting the ‘iPhone only’ option in the App Store).

City of Cape Town takes on non-payers
The City of Cape Town has collected R270 095,57 from the sale in execution of a vacant property in Plattekloof which was sold for R1.3 million. The sale in execution was as a result of the non-payment of municipal debts.

“We are sending out a clear message that those who can afford to pay, must pay. We thank all of our hardworking ratepayers for their contributions, which is part of the reason why this City is the best run in the country. Those who have the means but are refusing to pay their dues are doing a disservice to every resident in Cape Town,” says the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Finance, Alderman Ian Neilson.

The property owner in question owns a number of properties across the city. These properties are owned by a family trust, operating as different entities, but the common characteristic is the long history of non-payment.

Beware dodgy agents and missing deposits
Both landlords and tenants need to ensure that rental deposits are being paid into properly audited trust accounts when new leases are signed.

So says Jan Davel, MD of RealNet Holdings, after several cases of ‘missing’ deposits were recently reported in the Bronkhorstspruit/Kungwini area. He says rental markets where demand is high, such as in Bronkhorstspruit, create opportunities for unscrupulous operators who set themselves up as rental management agents, but are not registered with the Estate Agency Affairs Board and do not have valid Fidelity Fund Certificates.

Such operators often pay tenants' deposits into personal accounts with no oversight. And unfortunately, he says tenants then often find themselves out of pocket at the end of their rental contracts, when the deposit they paid has gone 'missing'. However, consumers do have legal recourse to recover their money, but it can be a long and expensive process, he says.

Beware online property complaints
The Internet has opened the world of communication and people can readily share their likes and dislikes, with some of the dislikes turning into complaints, which can be used and abused at the poster’s convenience.

While the Constitution of South Africa encourages the principle of fairness, protecting every member of our society, members themselves should make an effort to understand their rights and duties in making South Africa that wonderful place we all strive to live in.

Websites like Hello Peter, which are designed solely to publish consumer complaints, should also warn and educate the public about the consequences of publicising defamatory statements about other parties. At present, it seems that society is largely ignorant in this regard.

Four questions every buyer should ask
Buying a property can be a rather complex process, not to mention the fact that it will likely be the largest financial investment that most people make.

This is according to Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, who says it is for this reason that he advises buyers to take their time when deciding to buy a home and systematically work through the process by asking themselves a few vital questions, along with seeking the counsel of a reputable real estate professional.

“Stepping back and taking the time to answer some key questions will help to alleviate some of the emotional stress and assist buyers to successfully navigate the home buying process. The answer to each of the questions will provide the buyer with some guidance and will form an essential part of making a well-thought-out, informed decision,” he says.

According to Goslett, the key questions are:

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