Property 24/10 - 180

Get pre-qualified for a home loan
The South African property market is healthier than it has been in years resulting in a great deal of market activity and many buyers looking to obtain home loans.

However, applying for a bond can be a tedious process involving a lot of red tape and the disappointment of being declined can leave you feeling despondent and frustrated.

Tony Ketcher, Seeff MD in Randburg, says because of this they strongly advise buyers to undertake a pre-application assessment from a bond originator like ooba to assess their home loan qualifying ability before they start looking for property.

He says buying a home can be an emotional process and this can sometimes influence property buyers, causing them to overlook important aspects related to the transaction.

“Not knowing what your buying potential is right from the start can easily lead to Illusions of Grandeur and wishful thinking about your financial capability, and this results in inevitable disappointment.”

Landlords pay your own municipal bills
Landlords and managing agents of residential properties should keep control of water and electricity accounts and not allow these to be sent directly to the tenant.

This is according to Tony Clarke, Managing Director of the Rawson Property Group, who says landlords often insist on having the billing details of their water and electricity accounts changed into their tenant’s name to avoid what can be seen as a nuisance on their side.

He believes this is a mistake as it takes the control away from the landlord and opens them up to a number of risks and possible fines for late payment.

According to Clarke, if landlords do allow the municipality to send these accounts directly to the tenant there is a chance that the tenant will fall behind in his payments at some stage. “The landlord will probably not know about this and it could become a serious issue because ultimately the landlord is responsible for all of these payments, even if the account is no longer in his name.”

Tolls to cause mass tenant migration
The introduction of e-tolling is set to cause a major upheaval in the Gauteng property market, and especially in the rental sector.

“The toll fees are going to place an additional strain on household budgets and many people who currently use the freeways to commute long distances to work will want to relocate to avoid them,” says Jan Davel, MD of the RealNet estate agency group.

Rental demand is also likely to strengthen, he says, in the increasingly popular areas close to public transport access points like Rea Vaya, Gautrain or Metro stations, as more people try to avoid commuting by car.

Battling with bond payments? Read on
The average home loan period is 20 years, a relatively long period during which there are likely to be several financial ups and downs.

Chances are that homeowners will face tough times at some stage during this time span, either because of external economic conditions or personal circumstances.

Steven Barker, head of home loans at Standard Bank says that should customers find themselves in a difficult position, it is important that they communicate openly with their bank.

“Many people fear telling their bank that they are not in a position to pay back a loan, however, the more cooperative customers are, the more likely they are to keep their homes.

“It is important to remember, it is not in the bank’s interest to repossess properties – our aim is to try to help customers keep their properties wherever we can.” He advises customers to be absolutely honest with the bank.

Demand for sectional title offices
As many property owners and landlords continue to battle to retain tenants, some property experts say growth in the property market will come from smaller offices and sectional title offices.

According to Org Geldenhuys, managing director of Abacus Divisions, the growth in the property market is going to come from smaller offices and sectional title offices, with purchase figures of around R1.5 million to R2 million.

He explains that this domain is the domain of the owner/occupier who, until very recently had been sitting on his or her money.

Property buyers and prices
“Current signs are that there is a flicker of an uptick in the commercial property sector, with this charge being lead by owner occupiers looking at small office space deals,” he says.

Help my house has been hijacked!
A Property24 reader asks:
My tenants haven't paid rent or electricity for 5 months and now my bond is in arrears and the bank is taking judgement and will then attach my property. The tenants refuse to move out despite notices etc. They have basically hijacked my house.

Where is the justice? And the law protects them. They have vandalised my property and barred entry. I've had two strokes, that's why I rented out the house. My daughter and I are now homeless and the tenants live in my property for free. I am unable to afford a lawyer to get an eviction order. The tenants laughed and said they will stay till the house goes on auction and then get it for 'nothing'.

I've been to Wits Law Clinic, Legal Resource Centre, Legal Aid, Magistrates Court and High Court. No one can help. My constitutional rights are nil and it seems the judicial system has failed me as well.

Do you have any advice please?

Top 10 Cape Town CBD apartment blocks
The Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) recently released a survey that shows overwhelming support for the “downtown” lifestyle that the Cape Town CBD has to offer, read the article here.

The report notes that just 10 years ago, it was estimated that only some 750 people were living in the Central City and according to the latest census data, this figure has now risen to well over 5 000, living in approximately 3 500 sectional title units.

According to Francois Venter, director at Jawitz Properties, Cape Town CBD can be seen as the ''Manhattan of South Africa".

Compared to other major metropoles such as Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth and East London, Cape Town’s CBD is arguably the best CBD in the whole of South Africa.

It provides great proximity to all that the Mother City has to offer, is well run, and is very cosmopolitan. “Buyers and tenants are mainly South African, or based in South Africa, many of whom we assume work in the city.”

Common myths about the credit amnesty
The past few months have had consumers eagerly waiting to hear how their ‘bad’ credit records will disappear as a result of the DTI’s Removal of Adverse Information Project, which has now been given the go-ahead by Cabinet.

Before consumers get too excited at the prospect of more credit for Christmas shopping, it is vital that everyone understands which information will be removed and whenthis will happen, and this is yet to be finalised. The public comment process is still underway and it is likely that Christmas will come and go before the amnesty process is implemented.

Credit Ombud, Manie van Schalkwyk, says they have found that many consumers, both via their call centre and outreach programmes, are already asking questions about the proposed removal of adverse information from their profiles.

He says the removal of specific adverse information from a consumer’s credit profile, does not mean that the entire credit history of that consumer just goes away.

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