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Property sector makes a difference
Speaking at the 46th Annual South African Property Owners Association (Sapoa) Convention and Property Exhibition held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on 10 to 12 June, outgoing Sapoa President Estienne de Klerk said property is a dynamic sector which makes a difference in the lives of South African citizens.

The theme of the convention aptly titled ‘Making a Difference” had a line-up of local and international speakers who shared their insights and knowledge on local and global property trends, among other things. “Our industry affects the lives of millions of South Africans, every day. Not only do we create wealth, investments, jobs and career opportunities, we also create workplaces, marketplaces, meeting places - the fabric of our society.

“The health of our sector directly affects the health of the economy and the way we conduct our business impacts the quality of almost every South African’s life,” he said.

Two new CEO appointments at FNB
FNB has appointed Marius Marais as chief executive officer, FNB Home Loans and Lee Mhlongo as chief executive officer for FNB Housing Finance. Marais has more than 15 years of financial services experience, having held various roles within FNB and previously the role of CEO for FNB Housing Finance over the last 10 years.

He started Housing Finance as a new business in 2002 and reached the business goal of over 100 000 units financed and a R14 billion loan book within 10 years. He also ensured FNB delivered alternative building and green technologies to the affordable housing market. Lee Mhlongo has been appointed to take over the Housing Finance Division from Marais. He has been with the bank since 2004, holding numerous positions in Retail Banking, FNB Insurance and RMB Private Bank.

Cape Town agent board regulations
The City of Cape Town reminds all property marketing agents and auctioneers that they will again be required to register individually with the municipality for permission to display property marketing boards and directional signage on City property from 1 July.

Each agent will be required to pay an annual application and permit fee (for their six permit stickers) of R1 714.40 (including VAT) for the 2014/2015 financial year. The period for registration starts on 1 July and ends on 31 July. Upon application, the City will issue six permit stickers per agent for the year. Each sticker, which is uniquely numbered, must be displayed on any directional board for the duration of the year. Faded or damaged stickers will be replaced at no cost on presentation of the originals.

Buying property that needs fixing
Buying a property that is in a state of decay and in need of a facelift could go one of two ways, says Adrian Goslett, chief executive officer of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

He notes that for those with the right skills, know-how and available financial resources, it could turn out to be a very profitable and rewarding experience. However, there is always that chance that it turns out to be a financially hungry white elephant.

Goslett says that the difference between a viable, successful investment and one that simply costs more money and time than its worth, is research and knowing which home to choose right from the start of the endeavour.

There are certain property investors who specifically look for properties in need of renovation because they know that firstly, there will be far less competition in the market for these homes, and secondly these properties are generally priced below their market value.

Sellers beware of monetary delays
Home sellers again and again find themselves dealing with eager buyers who for one reason or another (often a reason beyond their control) find themselves unable to lay their hands on the necessary cash – even though they have in good faith signed an Agreement of Sale.

This is according to Denver Vraagom, a conveyancing attorney with Gunston Attorneys, the Cape legal firm, who says in a case with which he has recently been involved, the buyer had, he assured all concerned, been promised that a certain specified sum be paid out by a pension fund to which he had contributed over many years. On this basis the Deed of Sale was signed by both parties.

“After several weeks and ongoing enquiries, it became clear that the buyer was having difficulty getting the cash. This made the seller extremely anxious because he had agreed to buy another home where the seller, a couple in the middle of a divorce, wanted the cash so as to complete the divorce and finalise their separation,’ he says.

What landlords must ask rental agents
A good rental agent can save a landlord a tremendous amount of frustration and time, provided of course the landlord chooses to work with the right agent.

This is according to Susan Watts, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Living, who says given the fact that the rental agent will be handling such a large and important asset, it is vital for landlords to select an agent with the appropriate experience within the industry to ensure a beneficial outcome.

Certified residential rental specialist at RE/MAX Living, Grant Rea, says when it comes to selecting a rental agent there are vital questions that landlords should ask that will assist them in vetting each agent and ultimately making the right decision.

No financials or BC - I can't sell!
A Property24 reader asks:
I have a property in Marina Beach in KwaZulu-Natal which is a deceased estate and I'm the executrix. There is no body corporate, I get a levy account every month that I pay to an office in Durban with one lady working there, the chairman resigned last year and moved to Cape Town. I'm trying to sell the unit but they have no books or financial records, which is making it very difficult. Do I have any recourse? I want the estate wound up.

How can I force them to produce some sort of a financial statement? Who can I approach, there must be some sort of watch dog controlling Body Corporate? I would appreciate any help you can give me. Carryn Durham, specialist sectional titles lawyer at Paddocks, advises:

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