Manage buildings to save money
Reliable, paying tenants, good maintenance and security and proper services are the key ingredients for managing a substantial and profitable property portfolio according to Christo van Wyk, head of facilities at JHI, one of South Africa's major property groups.
He says there must be a delicate balance between competing effectively in the market without compromising on quality and efficient procurement is fundamental to this process.
"While the topic might seem dull, procurement of a host of services and supplies impacts directly on the profitability of the venture," he says. "Effective procurement adds value and ensures that properties comply with statutory requirements such as the Occupation Health and Safety Act," he says.
He says effective procurement means working with contractors and suppliers that share a common goal of service, quality and life-cycle costing. "The savings achieved improve the profitability of the property and, ultimately, the competitiveness of those properties," Van Wyk claims.
Get smart with home automation
Home automation has done for the home what the remote control did for television - making it significantly more convenient and enjoyable to use. Having only been around for a couple of decades, home automation is a relatively new technology, especially in South Africa. However, in the fast developing age of technology that we live in, it is set to become the norm in residential homes around the world in the not too distant future.
So what is home automation?
Put simply, home automation is anything that gives you remote or automatic control of things around the home. Some of the systems that you can control include lighting, appliances, curtains and blinds, heating and cooling, security and monitoring, home entertainment (audio and video), home communication (telephone and intercoms), garden irrigation and pool pumps. All these individual systems become subsystems within the larger home automation system. A home automation system amalgamates two or more subsystems under the control of one central controller, so that at a press of a button, the homeowner can quickly and simply issue several commands to a variety of different electronic products.
Buy-to rent - is it a good idea?
While data from various different banking organisations suggest that the buy-to-rent market has dropped sharply over the past two years, some estate agents believe that this is not the case and that the market remains strong.
At least this is what Tony Clarke, managing director of Rawson Properties claims that buy-to-rent properties remain a good investment because many people do not qualify for bonds or cannot get bank approval for the loans.
Clarke concedes that many tenants are struggling to pay their rents and says, too, that landlords should try to reduce rentals or arrange other compromise deals to accommodate distressed tenants.
92 000 people might lose their homes
There are at least 92 000 people in South Africa who are likely to lose their homes in the next three months and almost half of the 18-million people who use credit facilities in this country are behind in their repayments or are finding it difficult to keep up with their instalments.
Perhaps the most worrying thing is that 24 000 cases are bogged down in the debt-counselling process and many of the banks are unilaterally terminating debt counselling and suing people because of the delays.
Debt counselling is a process that was set up as part of the National Credit Act and was aimed at preventing over-indebted people from losing everything. It was also aimed at stopping reckless lending where organisations extended more and more credit to people who were irresponsible.
Fire and brimstone at Bantry Bay
Cape Town city council may apply for an eviction order to force Fred Robertson, chief executive of Brimstone, to vacate his home in Bantry Bay which is being occupied without a certificate of occupancy.
The council has refused to issue the certificate because, it says, the property has been illegally built and does not comply with the city's bylaws. It will also not grant approval of the plans submitted to the council after the home had already been built.
Robertson's attorney, Anton Slabbert apparently sought to bring an urgent court application to force the council to issue the occupancy certificate, but Slabbert says that matter was withdrawn at the last moment saying that it was "not appropriate" to continue with the action.
The Bantry Bay Ratepayers' Association - along with some of Robertson's neighbours - have objected to the new property and allege that it is being used as four separate apartments rather than a single home.
Family feud over occupation rights
Any property transaction must be in writing in order for it to hold up in court according to Lanice Steward, managing director of Anne Porter Knight Frank who refers to several cases where the Alienation of Land Act (ALA) has been tested.
One such case (Van Rensburg and Another vs Koekemoer and Others) was heard in the Cape High Court after the Van Rensburgs sold their home to Koekemoer (who happened to be their son-in-law) on the verbal understanding that they could live in the house for the rest of their natural lives.
This condition was not written down or signed.
Because of this it was of no force or effect because Section Two of the ALA stipulates that no alienation of land clause or condition applies unless it is contained in the Deed of Sale and signed by both parties or their agents acting with their written authority.
Jozi beats CPT in suburb ranking
It may well have cost substantially more to buy a big-ticket property in one of Cape Town's posh suburbs than the equivalent in one of Johannesburg's swanky neighbourhoods a few years ago, but that's no longer the case.
In fact, Johannesburg now boasts the most expensive suburb in South Africa. The Sandton enclave of Chislehurston just off Rivonia Road, adjacent to the mink and manure belt of Inanda, has recently overtaken Clifton as South Africa's priciest suburb.
Latest data from property research group Lightstone places the current median value of full-title residential property in Chislehurston at a hefty R15 197 500. Clifton on the Atlantic Seaboard comes in at a close second with stand-alone homes valued at a median R15 060 114.
R600-million in outstanding rents
Gauteng's Department of Infrastructure and Development has blamed late payments and invoices carried over from its previous financial year for its irregular expenditure of R500-million.
The department claims that it does not have the financial systems to manage the revenue it collected through rentals of state-owned properties. Apparently friends and relatives of government officials occupy about 780 properties illegally and do not even pay market-related rentals.
The disclosures were made by former Infrastructure MEC Bheki Nkosi at a hearing of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts (Scopa). The Infrastructure and Development Department received a qualified audit for its 2009/2010 financial year.
Manage buildings to save money