Property 24/10 - 321

Estate agents, how safe are you when selling property?
It’s an unfortunate fact that working as an estate agent can sometimes be dangerous – and not just in South Africa.

In fact, the most recent Member Safety Report issued by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) in the US reveals that 48% of female real estate professionals feel threatened in person or worried about the safety of their personal information when they are working, says Tony Clarke, Rawson Property Group Managing Director. “And while men may not feel as bad, they are of course also at risk when meeting strangers and working and travelling alone, as all agents often do.

“So everyone in the industry needs to take care and protect themselves - as do homeowners who are selling their properties privately,” says Clarke.

New Sectional Titles Act could cost owners more
While the rules for the new Sectional Titles Act have not yet been announced, it seems that running a body corporate is going to be more complicated, and therefore probably more costly.

The rules are likely to be announced towards the end of the year, with implementation early in 2017. Whatever the case, Mike Spencer from Platinum Global says it will certainly make it unattractive to run your own sectional title scheme. The rules are likely to be announced towards the end of the year, with implementation early in 2017.

“Apart from having to send regular copies and reports to the new Ombuds office on the financial health of your body corporate, you are now going to plan for future maintenance to a far more detailed degree than before,” says Spencer.

Commission prioritises settlement of old land rights
Cape Town - The Commission on Restitution of Land Rights will redirect resources that were meant for the lodgement of claims towards research and finalising land claims that were lodged by 31 December 1998.

Advocate Thami Mdontswa, the Deputy Land Claims Commissioner, said this when the commission briefed Parliament’s Oversight Committee on Rural Development and Land Affairs on the implications of a recent Constitutional Court judgement on the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Act on Wednesday.

On 28 July 2016, the Constitutional Court declared that Parliament failed to satisfy its obligation to facilitate public involvement in accordance with section 72(1) (a) of the Constitution.

How to avoid misunderstandings about property in wills
Wills must be very carefully worded to avoid misunderstandings and misinterpretation, particularly when leaving property behind.

This is according to Willie Fourie, Head of Estate and Trust Services at PSG, who says the executor of the estate, heirs to the estate and the Master of the High Court of South Africa - who must confirm the validity of the will - often have conflicting views about a will’s provisions.

In these instances, Fourie says they look to the executor for a decisive interpretation of any contentious clauses.

Based on this interpretation, the assets within the estate are transferred to the heirs. While heirs may formally object to the executor’s interpretation, he says such challenges draw out and can complicate the settlement of the estate.

'Walkability' trend upping residential property values
Walkability - or the ability to get around without a car - is the current “big thing” in residential real estate, and can substantially increase property values in areas that offer residents shops, restaurants, schools, parks and public transport within comfortable walking distance of their homes.

“A recent study of almost 90 000 homes in the US, for example, showed that walkability could increase value by as much as US$3 000,” says Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group.

“And in South Africa, one only has to look at the effect that the Gautrain has had on property values in the areas closest to the stations - which have all also sprouted new shops, offices and recreational facilities in the past six years, and are in high demand because they now offer residents a significant degree of walkability.”

Estate agents must 'embrace technology' to stay ahead
Today’s consumer – and, not least, the home buyer – wants an easier, more streamlined, route to market, given that he or she now has instant online access to a wealth of information without the assistance of an intermediary, says higher-end homes marketer Ronald Ennik.

“There is no question that agents who embrace, and keep abreast of, digital technology will maintain a competitive edge – by way of instant access to powerful online marketing tools, such as social media, current market statistics, digital imaging, price trends and comparisons, home features, and suburb-specific profiles.

Which makes more money, furnished or unfurnished rentals?
If you've inherited a property, scaling down or investing in gated estates, deciding on whether you should rent out your property furnished or unfurnished can be difficult, and relies on a few important factors.

Grant Smee, Managing Director of Only Realty, says there are an array of trends that differ from market to market, and taking into consideration elements of geographic location, price, economic standing, demographic, and so forth, to definitively answer 'furnished' or 'unfurnished' is just not possible.

“If you're mulling over the idea and weighing up the options hoping to reduce no-tenant months, there are a few things to consider carefully,” says Smee.

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