Property 24/10 - 12

The shrewd and not-so-shrewd investor
Really shrewd property buyers will often be found buying when markets are falling or stabilising.

So says Mike Greeff, chief executive of the Cape estate agency Greeff Properties, who adds that they act counter to the man-in-the-street's perceived wisdom and counter to the demand cycle. "By buying when confidence is low and competition is weak they put themselves in a position to cash in when later improvements occur in the market."

He says a lot of less sophisticated buyers are still waiting for "confirmation" that better times have arrived.

"All this means is that, when they finally commit themselves they will probably pay higher and have to accept an increased interest rate," says Greeff.

Why overdoing home's upgrade is a bane
Every upgrade to a house should be tackled with an eye on the value of other homes in the area. But upgrades to a home are essential when done judiciously and bathrooms and kitchens are the focal points.

So say property industry experts Property24 spoke to on this matter.

Mike Greeff, CEO of Greeff Properties, says that "when people are fortunate to have enough money for almost any type of improvement, there is a danger that they will overspend".

"They want to create a home which is so luxurious and comfortably fitted out that it exceeds the average value for the better homes in its area, not just by 20% or 30% but by far more.

Create buyer appeal with home staging
Home staging is not a new trend, but it is certainly one that is growing in popularity.

This is according to Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, who adds that it can have an enormously positive impact on the sale of any home.

But what exactly does it entail?

Goslett says staging is a specialised skill - the cost of which would include the staging consultant's fee, paint, wallpaper, the rental of "props" such as furniture or artwork, as well as all the miscellaneous products required to fix any obvious issues with the home in question, such as filling cracks, sanding down floors, rubble removal, and so on.

Think twice before you subdivide
Residential property subdivision is becoming a major trend among homeowners in the middle to upper ends of the market.

So says Peter Gilmour, chairman of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, who adds that "with the cost of living on the increase, the cost of maintaining large properties has also risen".

"Add to this the difficulty and expense to secure a large property and it is clear why so many homeowners today are opting to downsize and subdivide their properties. Not only does this promise potential financial benefits, but it also assures a home environment that is more secure, as well as an opportunity to save thousands annually on general maintenance costs, rates and taxes, and water bills," says Gilmour.

Sect. title investing: What to consider
Buy-to-let investments remain a popular option for a wide range of investors, but how feasible and safe are sectional title units as rental properties?

Michael Bauer, general manager of IHFM, a sectional title management company in Cape Town, outlines what factors, benefits and pitfalls need to be taken into account when an investor chooses to go down this route.

"The better managed a sectional title scheme is, the more its value will appreciate - and values in such schemes will always tend to rise faster than those of other residential property.
He says this is due to the shortage of supply in the city centres and popular suburbs and the increasingly strong demand in this sector, particularly at the lower end.

'Many Cape sellers still unrealistic'
Many property owners in the Western Cape are finding it difficult to sell their homes because they simply will not adjust their price expectations.

So says Mike Greeff, CEO of Greeff Properties, who adds that "we have had a year and a half of media reports about the need to be realistic in pricing but, amazingly, there are still people who take no notice of this advice".

Many property owners, he said, believe their homes are still valued at around the same level as the last property boom without taking into account that the housing market has changed significantly in recent months.

Previous high interest rates and the rising cost of living limited what first time property buyers could afford to spend and the decline in this sector has had an effect on the entire property market.

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