Want a bargain? Try Soweto
Estate agents operating in Soweto say that there has been an upswing in sales in the township with more and more people looking to buy bargain properties at affordable prices.
John Loos, property strategist for First National Bank says that houses in the R300k price range were selling rapidly and this is borne out by the 21,7% increase in affordable housing sold in 2010 compared with 2009.
"Many people who bought properties in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg are now downscaling and returning to Soweto where property prices are lower," he says.
Occupational rent - are you covered
Reading the fine print and ensuring that every eventuality is covered in an agreement of sale is one of the most crucial aspects of buying or selling property.
Both sellers and buyers, says Goslett, who do not ensure that the required occupational rent amount is stipulated in the agreement of sale leave themselves wide open.
This is the advice given by Adrian Goslett, the CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa who says that according to the laws governing property sales in South Africa, everything has to be reduced to writing and anyone who wants to conclude a sale without any complications should bear this in mind before signing any agreement.
"Although a sales contract normally has a section discussing occupational rent, many buyers and sellers do not realise its importance," he says.
Goslett explains that essentially, this clause is intended to protect both parties as it covers the seller when the buyer moves into the premises before transfer has taken place, or the buyer should the seller stay in the property after it has been transferred into the buyer's name. The clause should clearly state how much occupational rental must be paid each month.
Banks warned by FSB
South African banks need a "culture change" in the way that they deal with customers, the Financial Services Board's deputy executive officer of insurance Jonathan Dixon said at a press briefing this morning.
Dixon says the FSB's Treating Customers Fairly (TFC) framework will provide a basis that will provide more protection to customers and says this framework seeks to bring about a culture change in the way banks treat customers.
Dixon says that there needs to be more intensive and intrusive scrutiny of banks by the FSB. Dixon says the FSB's Treating Customers Fairly (TFC) framework will provide a basis that will provide more protection to customers and says this framework seeks to bring about a culture change in the way banks treat customers.
Payment arrears - act immediately
The National Credit Regulator (NCR) has warned that indebted people should act immediately when confronted with letters of demand or threatening phone calls from creditors and should not wait for the "problem to go away".
Peter Setou, senior manager of education and strategy at the NCR says the biggest mistake that people make is to believe that if they ignore phone calls and letters the problem will somehow just go away.
"The earlier that someone sees they are in financial trouble and acts upon it the better," he says. "The best way to do this is to contact the credit provider immediately there is a default in repayments and discuss the matter with that organisation," he says.
How and when to blacklist a tenant
Landlords and property managers can always get caught out by a delinquent tenant and often blacklisting is seen as the only way forward. However, blacklisting leaves a negative mark against a person's credit profile and needs to be seriously considered before executed.
Landlords and property managers can always get caught out by a delinquent tenant and often blacklisting is seen as the only way forward, but there are a number of things to consider before going this route.
Before entering into a lease agreement, landlords and property managers can run credit checks on the proposed tenant as a protective measure. Aside from blacklisting information, credit bureaus also store positive information regarding the payment behaviour of consumers/tenants which makes it easier for the tenant to enter into lease agreements.
The latest rental stats from TPN Credit Bureau reveal that "Good Standing" regular rental payments are sitting at 81%, which is a growth of 10% from previous years. However, 9% of tenants are only partially paying their rent each month and a further 10% are not paying at all.
Fancy owning a boutique wine farm?
A boutique wine farm with a magnificent modern Cape Dutch manor house has come on to the market in Franschhoek, Western Cape.
Situated at the foot of the Middagkrans Mountain, "La Providence" is located close to the Huguenot Memorial, a prime site with magnificent views of the valley and in close proximity to the town centre. The 2.2ha property is on the market at R28,5 million.
La Providence, says Pam Golding Properties' (PGP) area manager for Franschhoek and Paarl, Surina du Toit, is the quintessential iconic Franschhoek lifestyle farm. "This property offers the whole package, from breathtaking mountain views to its own vineyard, a manicured garden, and an exquisite modern manor house built in the traditional Cape Dutch style, with thatched roof and gables."
Buying property: Check for defects
Although the Voetstoots clause and the introduction of the Consumer Protection Act does offer a certain level of protection to property buyers, knowing what danger signs to look for before they sign on the dotted line could end up saving consumers valuable time and money.
While the Voetstoots clause and new Consumer Protection Act may offer some protection when buying property, rather spot the dangers before you sign.
So says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, adding that the most obvious things to keep an eye on are signs of water leaks and rising damp. Viewing a property while it is raining can often prove beneficial in this regard. Buyers should look for water stains on walls, mould growth and damp patches in plaster work. It is always a good idea to examine all the external walls of buildings and to check that the guttering is in good condition and is able to handle the water run-off.
Should you renovate your home?
There are a number of things to consider before deciding to renovate your home, not least of all whether or not it will prove a wise investment.
Most suburbs have a median sale price and homeowners can actually devalue their homes by over-capitalising on renovations. A good way to check out area trends is to get a property valuation report showing latest sold prices of similar homes in your street, complex or suburb.
Although renovations can add value to a property, if undertaken correctly, homeowners should have a sound knowledge of property values in the area and the costs involved before embarking on improvements to avoid over-capitalising on their homes, says Adrian Goslett, the CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
"One of the most important factors that should be taken into consideration is the area in which the property is situated," he says. Anyone who invests in property needs to keep their wits about them. It may seem like a good idea to add another bedroom or to install a large pool, turning a mundane home into a palace, but owners need to literally keep their fingers on the pulse of current property market trends in the area in which they live before they decide to undertake any costly renovations.
Would you become an estate agent?
The estate agents' profession has been rocked by a string of sensational events over the first few months of this year starting with the forensic investigation into the affairs of Wendy Machanik Properties and ending (if it has ended yet) with the dismissal of Nomonde Mapetla, the chief executive of the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB).
Estate agents in South Africa have, for many years now, been struggling to attain the status of a "profession" in this country and many dedicated people have worked tirelessly to try to improve the image of estate agents throughout the country.
Moreover, the government has stepped in to impose legislation on the estate agents and these regulations range from having a Fidelity Fund Certificate granted and renewed annually to being licensed to practice as an agent by the Financial Services Board.
Want a bargain? Try Soweto