Property 24/10 - 292

Don't let fake estate agents fool you
Property transactions in South Africa are still, surprisingly, sometimes carried out by members of the public purporting to be agents operating legally, whereas these ‘agents’ are working without a Fidelity Fund Certificate (FFC) from the Estate Agency Affairs Board according to Annette Evans, general manager of the Institute of Estate Agents Western Cape, who says some do not even have the necessary training which can open a buyer or seller up to becoming victims of fraud - should they decide to deal with these so-called agents.

Evans says it is compulsory for professionals who earn money from holiday lets, property management, rental and sales of property and business broking to pay into the Fidelity Fund, which exists to cover losses the public may suffer due to the actions of an agent.

Commercial landlords need to spot red flags early
Economic conditions are tough, but there will be opportunities in 2016 for commercial property owners who stick to the basics, act on red flag scenarios early and ensure they are properly geared according to Brett Webb, head of specialised lending, business and commercial banking at Standard Bank, who says there is still business to be done when it comes to commercial properties of below R40 million. “We still see opportunities, and clients are seeing opportunities despite the economy being sluggish.” The International Monetary Fund recently cut South Africa’s growth projection to the lowest on record at just 0.7%, with expectations also dropping to 1.8% next year from a previous expectation of 2.1%. Higher borrowing costs were cited as one of the key negatives for the economy.

Homemakers expo in Joburg this weekend
From 25 to 28 February, the Homemakers Expo will be taking place at the Ticketpro Dome in Northriding, Johannesburg. The exhibition is an opportunity to meet some of the industry’s professionals, be inspired and find design solutions to help you finish some of those home improvement projects.

Here are some of the show’s highlights:

Live by design
This is a brand new curated area that brings a fresh flavour to the show. Feast your eyes on some handpicked décor collections and home improvement goods.

Must-knows when applying for a home loan
Buying a home is one of life’s major events and there are few experiences quite as exciting as acquiring a space to call your very own.

However, buying property is also a huge financial commitment accompanied by voluminous financial criteria, legalities and paperwork, all of which can not only put a damper on the experience but also scupper your goal completely if you don’t have your ducks in a row according to Jill Lloyd, area specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Claremont and Lynfrae, who says buyers should always get a head start on the financial application before they even think of beginning the search for their dream home.

Must-knows when for making and accepting an Offer to Purchase
South Africa’s land registration system is a comprehensive one whereby, once a buyer takes transfer and the property purchase is registered in their name, they have a real right to that property according to Laurence van Blerck of Knight Frank Residential SA, who says, however, it is vital to understand the terms and conditions of an offer to purchase or agreement of sale for property.

All the essential matters regarding the offer to purchase are normally set out in one document, and it must be clear that both parties have reached agreement on all matters.

Occupational rent demystified
Many first-time buyers don’t understand the difference between taking possession of their new property and taking occupation - or the provisions in a sale agreement for the payment of occupational rent according to Shaun Rademeyer, CEO of BetterLife Home Loans, who says actual possession only happens when the transfer of ownership from seller to buyer is officially registered in the Deeds Office.

“However, buyers are sometimes allowed to occupy their new home before the transfer process has been completed, and this can lead to confusion.”

Rademeyer says many sale agreements provide for the buyers to be able to move into the property by agreement with the seller as soon as their bank provides ‘guarantees’ to the transferring attorney that the purchase price will be paid.

Make your property earn money for you
For South African property owners, the coming year is undoubtedly going to be a tough one. Faced with rising interest rates, the escalating cost of living and a stagnant economy, many property owners are scrambling to hold on to their assets.

Arguably, however, there is a golden opportunity for owners to benefit from the downturn by offering travellers more affordable, ‘informal’ accommodation according to Tom Williams, Chief Operational Officer at e-commerce travel website, who says by turning under-utilised or vacant houses, cottages or rooms into attractive, self-catering spaces for paying guests, property owners can quickly start earning a passive income and truly make their assets work for them.

“Anyone can register their accommodation with an online aggregator and be hosting visitors within hours,” says Williams.

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