Property 24/10 - 304

How to spot a property buyer or sellers market
Just about everyone knows that the real estate market is cyclical - or that there is sometimes more demand for homes than the supply of properties for sale, and sometimes an oversupply because demand has dropped off.

What they often don’t know, however, is what this means in practical terms to those who are in the market to buy property and those who are trying to sell their homes, says Bill Rawson, Chairman of the Rawson Property Group.

“When you hear people talk about a ‘sellers’ market’, for example, what they are really saying is that there are fewer properties for sale than there are prospective buyers - and that sellers are thus in a strong position to negotiate higher prices for the homes they are selling,” says Rawson.

Economic pressure slowing down Gauteng's home price growth
While much has been said regarding the slowing in house price growth in recent months, the residential property market in Gauteng is a highly complex one, with sharp regional and suburban variations, and there are a number of highly positive developments within the region’s property sector.

This is according to Rupert Finnemore, recently appointed Gauteng regional head of Pam Golding Properties (PGP), who says there has been a gradual slowing in home price growth in Gauteng since 2013 as households come under increasing economic pressure. Like the rest of South Africa, he says the Gauteng residential property sector has also been impacted by a number of interest rate hikes. This, however, tells only part of the story of the local market, which has remained remarkably robust despite a cooling in sentiment, he says.

Four tips for landlords to prevent pricey evictions
It’s every landlord’s nightmare - being stuck with a tenant who doesn’t pay rent or isn’t looking after your property and refuses to move out, no matter what you do. In an ideal situation, it would be a simple matter to evict these kinds of tenants. Unfortunately, eviction is never an ideal situation.

“South African housing law does, arguably, favour tenants’ rights at this point in time,” says Jacqui Savage, National Rentals Business Development Manager at the Rawson Property Group.

“And this stems from the need to protect citizens from the kinds of mass evictions that took place during apartheid, but it has left opportunities for unscrupulous tenants to take advantage of underprepared or uninformed landlords.”

What buyers need to know about building plans
An illegal extension on a property can put the home buyer in a potentially tricky situation according to Charles Haigh, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Elite, who says this situation is best avoided by a little due diligence on the part of the real estate agent, seller and buyer.

Haigh says potential property buyers should be on the lookout for extensions, alterations or additions to dwellings, and should specifically request a copy of the plans of the property.

“An approved plan will shed some light on the age of the property, setbacks for building lines and, of course, whether the changes have been endorsed by the local authority for building regulations,” says Haigh.

Selling your home? Make sure you don't pay two commissions
If, when selling your home, you find that you are losing faith in the estate agent with whom you are dealing, be very careful indeed about how you break off relations with the agent or the way in which you continue to operate with him or her.

John Smyth, CEO of Multi Net Mortgages, says in South African law, any introduction to a property by an agent which down the line - no matter how much later - leads to its sale via another agent, may be deemed by the law courts to have been an ‘effective cause’ of the sale.

Smyth says this will probably mean that the seller will have to pay two commissions, both quite possibly at the originally negotiated percentage level.

Conversely, he says if an agent takes a client to a property knowing that he has already been introduced to it by another agent, he is obliged by the Estate Agency Affairs Board Code of Conduct to warn the seller that if a deal is concluded, he could now be liable for two commissions.

Get your bond down faster with lump sum deposits
It has become common knowledge among homeowners that paying a little extra off your home loan every month can dramatically reduce the term of the loan, and result in big savings on interest.

However, Shaun Rademeyer, CEO of BetterLife Home Loans, says homeowners should not be misled into believing that paying their monthly bond instalment in two halves, one at the start of the month and one in the middle, will have the same effect.

According to Rademeyer, there is no advantage in breaking up your home loan repayment like this unless you deposit half a repayment every two weeks, which would, of course, then equate to 26 half-payments a year or 13 full monthly payments instead of 12.

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