Property 24/10 - 17

Sect. title: Accounting must change
For those readers who do not understand Afrikaans, the word "gaap" means to yawn, and since some people believe accounting is boring, the reference to GAAP seemed appropriate.

But why anyone would find this topic boring is beyond me. The thrill of balancing is an indescribable high.

For some time now, South Africa has been aligning itself with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), which means we will soon stop using and referencing Generally Accepted Accounting Practice (GAAP).

Any season is good for selling, buying
If you are thinking of selling your home, it will interest you to know that demand does tend to vary from month to month and from season to season.

But, says Mike Greeff, CE of Greeff Properties, this should not deter anybody from marketing their home as and when it suits them.

"The early months of the year traditionally see a big increase in the number of homes available and in sales turnover. This is, of course, due to the promotions, retirements, redundancies and staff changes that take place at that time of year as well as to school changes and the start of university studies," says Greeff.

27% of SA feel only 100% bonds are fair
More than a quarter of South Africans polled in a survey commissioned by ooba, a bond origination company, do not feel that it is reasonable to have to put a deposit down when buying a home, the company said on Tuesday.

According to the poll, 27% of respondents believe that a 100% bond is reasonable, while 42% said a deposit of 10% was reasonable and 12% of respondents said they believe a deposit of more than 30% was reasonable.

However, according to Craig Deats at ooba, while all banks have again started offering 100% home loans, being able to put down a deposit does make it more likely that your bond application will be approved.

Should I buy property or pass by?
For the novice, pinning down the right time to buy or sell is a pivotal and often daunting issue as there are various factors at play.

Property24 spoke to some experts to help clarify this often thorny issue.

"What those who are inexperienced in property matters are usually trying to ascertain, is whether now is a good time to buy or sell. My answer almost invariably is 'yes'," says Lanice Steward, MD or Anne Porter Knight Frank (APKF).

The first obvious point to be grasped, she says, is that anyone selling and buying in the same market (i.e. in roughly the same area and roughly the same time) will iron out the fluctuations that have occurred in the last year or more: if they sell for less than expected, it is probable they will be able to buy at lower than they budgeted for.

Don't lose by fixing bond rate
With interest rates at historic lows, many homeowners are contemplating whether or not to fix their bond rates.

While economists - and homeowners - widely expect interest rates to start rising early next year if not later this year, pegging bond rates to a fixed level is not necessarily the smartest option right now, says Martin Schultheiss, CEO of property group Harcourts Africa.

"Banks usually offer fixed rates at one or two percentage points above prevailing levels, which means that homeowners who exercise this option will be paying a higher rate until interest rates catch up. And if rates do not rise quickly, homeowners paying a fixed rate will be out of pocket," he cautions.

How to increase your rentals
The strict criteria of the National Credit Act (NCA) and increasing property prices are forcing South Africans to abandon temporarily any hope of becoming homeowners and making them tenants for longer than they anticipated two or three years ago.

This, in turn, has increased the attraction of buy-to-rent investment properties and has led to both new and old landlords looking for ways of increasing their rental returns, says Mike Greeff, CEO of Greeff Properties.

"First and foremost, if you want to add 20% to your rental (which is usually possible only when you get a new tenant), do all you can to improve the home's security. Put in burglar and panic alarms, automate the garage doors, install security doors and security locks on windows and consider topping the boundary wall or fence with electrified wiring. Quite rightly, people will pay well for good security."

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