Steep electricity hikes from tomorrow
Electricity tariffs are set to increase in cities around the country from tomorrow and Joburg is hardest hit with a rise of 27,7% followed by Mangaung at 26,5% in terms of figures released by the various metropolitan councils this week.
In Cape Town, the price of electricity goes up by 20% while in eThekwini it will rise by 19,8% and in Nelson Mandela Bay it is up by 22%. Tariffs for businesses increase by between 20% and 30% in the metropolitan regions.
Joburg’s executive mayor, Parks Tau, says that the increase is largely due to a steep rise in tariffs charged to it by Eskom. Property rates in the city will go up by 6,7% and water and sanitation charges rise by 14%. Refuse removal costs increase by 6,7%.
In Mangaung, other services have risen by between 10% and 12%.
Adding class with glass
Glass is a versatile material, useful for all sorts of jobs around the house. Apart from traditional applications such as glazing in doors, windows and mirrors, it has a great decorative value when used for shelves, backsplashes, room dividers and ornaments. But to use glass to fill its full potential it is essential to master the techniques needed to cut and shape it.
Types of glass
One of the great advantages of using glass is that there are an infinite variety of types, patterns and colours to choose from, including:
Float and sheet glass: Most clear glass used for windows and doors is either float or sheet glass. Sheet glass is 2cm to 3cm thick and because of the way it is made it inevitably contains more surface distortions. Float glass is more expensive, but generally of a much higher quality and is available in thicknesses from 4mm for glazing, to 25mm for doors.
Land reform goals revised
The Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Gugile Nkwinti, says that the government will revise its 2014 target to redistribute 30% of the agricultural land in South Africa to black emerging farmers and will concentrate on creating productive and sustainable farms instead.
It also plans to create a new office of the value-general to investigate it and where the government had gone wrong in the “willing buyer, willing seller” system, which is currently being evaluated and reviewed.
He says this new office will be in “important institution” since the criteria used by valuers to determine the value of the land bought by the government was largely unknown up to now.
Buying and 'bonding' together
Aspirant buyers struggling to get mortgage bond approval might look at a co-ownership agreement with friends or family. The banks are quite happy to lend a hand.
In a recent poll conducted by mortgage originator ooba, 38% of people surveyed believe that partnering with friends or relations to get a bond is a positive option.
Although bond applications in the first quarter of this year reached their highest level in 3 years, aspiring home owners are still struggling to get mortgages.
As a result, applying for a joint mortgage bond is becoming more of an attractive option for people trying to enter the residential property market. It is not unheard of for couples, whether husband and wife or about-to-be-weds applying for bonds, but the current trend goes beyond this – with friends grouping together to source finance and entering into joint ownership agreements. Absa Bank’s home loans division says that it does not restrict the number of members.
Furthermore, the lending banks are looking favourably on such arrangements as an alternative to suretyships, under which recovery of debt in cases of default is often difficult. Now they prefer guarantors signing as co-owners.
Antique style decor
A sentimental style of décor, the antique style is warm, cosy and inviting – perfect for any true romantic. With a little effort, a traditional outlook and a passion for things of yesteryear, it is a relatively easy style to create.
It has little room for aggressively modern materials like plastic and chrome, but it can tolerate skilful imitations of wood- or leather-look plastics, faux fur acrylic velvets and vinyl wallcoverings that imitate flocks, brocades or print silks.
When choosing pieces for an antique décor scheme, be on the look out for older-style materials that will give a room a genuinely antique feel, such as dark woods, stained Oak, Mahogany or Rosewood and for example, gilt, crystal, brass, brocade and velvets.
Home maintenance pays when you sell
As a homeowner, you should start a programme of regular maintenance from the day you move in.
Well maintained homes generally sell faster and for higher prices, so regular home maintenance always pays in the long term.
That’s the advice of Jan Davel, MD of the RealNet property group, who says it’s no secret that the best-looking homes always sell fastest and for the highest prices, and that it’s much easier to get a home into “show condition” if you don’t have to overcome years of neglect.
Property buyers should always make sure, he says, that there is enough leeway in their household budgets to keep their homes in shape. “Deferred maintenance during a period of high interest rates and increased home loan repayments is one thing, but owners should never let their homes get so run down that turning things around is an insurmountable chore.”