Property 24/10 - 39

Building rip-offs!
There is little more rewarding than putting a business together from scratch and then making it work for you. The control, the decisions, the accountability and the pure fun of it can sustain most people beyond the pure thrill of having money streaming into your account.

South Africa has many examples of small and medium businesses that have developed from one person's vision, dedication and attention to detail. Major organisations such as Pick n Pay, Nandos or First Rand Bank.

Smaller firms such as MoneyWeb, ITWeb or The Daily Maverick. South Africa has inventive people with great ideas, the attention to detail that's required to make a business successful and the commitment to see it through to the end.

But South Africa also has its share shiesters, crooks and rip-off merchants and, often, these chaps emerge in the building and materials supply sectors of the property market.

Services suspended at Joburg buildings
Dozens of buildings in Johannesburg have had their lights and water disconnected because the council is pursuing an aggressive credit control policy. However, building owners say that billing errors from the council are complicating matters.

Residential property manager, Trafalgar, applied to the Johannesburg High Court for an order instructing the council to restore services to buildings in Parktown and Braamfontein after these were suspended allegedly for non-payment.

Jackie Matthew of Trafalgar says that it has been impossible to get accurate accounts from the council for the buildings. Apparently the council cut-offs had been implemented without any prior warning.

Westville property sold in seven days
While the property market's woes continue, occasionally there is a situation where a home comes onto the market, suits the prospective buyers like a glove and is sold immediately.

This Westville property in Beverley Drive was sold in less than seven days for close to its asking price.

That's what happened recently when a Westville property in Beverley Drive was on the market for less than seven days. In fact it took just 22 days from the date the offer-to-purchase was signed to the new owners moving in.
Seeff's Jeff van Baalen says this speedy sale came about because a couple was relocating from Secunda to Durban and needed somewhere to stay having sold their own house in Mpumalanga.

Building industry confidence up?
Confidence in South Africa's building industry remains depressed even though the index rose from 29 to 38 points in the third quarter of this year according to figures released by FNB.

Confidence levels among architects were slightly higher, rising from 34 to 48 points while among quantity surveyors it rose from 24 points to 47.

The FNB Building Confidence index can vary between zero (or no confidence) and 100 (extreme confidence) and is used to indicate how business conditions in the building industry are perceived.

In the planning and renovation sector of the property market, confidence levels were more positive than those in the building sector where contractors and sub-contractors expressed concerns over the lack of building work.

Thinking about renovating?
Estate agent fees, Capital Gains tax, transfer duties, moving expenses, and so on, make selling your home to buy a new one quite a pricey endeavour. As such, increasingly more homeowners are opting to renovate their homes, instead of selling them to buy another. The concept sounds simple enough, but homeowners should be aware of the many considerations that need to be taken into account before undertaking structural renovations.

Many people who choose to renovate their homes from a structural perspective, are often looking to increase the size of their living space. There are three basic options available to homeowners who wish to achieve this, namely to extend the home (on the same level), create more space within the internal structure or to build up with another storey.

For those who wish to build on another storey, be aware that it will be necessary to check with the local council and with the title deeds of the property to ascertain whether there are any building restrictions in place that might, for example, limit the height of the building, or perhaps there are aesthetic guidelines that need to be adhered to. In some instances the existing foundations will have to be checked by a structural engineer to see whether the house will be able to sustain the additional weight of the second floor storey. It may also be necessary to re-work some of the existing ground floor structure such as beams and support columns in order to support the second floor additions.

Building industry crisis in SA
Cancellations of building contracts, a dramatic decline in the number of non-residential building plans passed and the failure of some major residential developments have combined to place the building industry in a crisis that will lead to further job losses next year.

Contracts cancelled, a decline in non-residential building plans passed and the failure of major residential developments are some warning signals that the building industry is in crisis.
This is the view of Master Builders South Africa (MBSA) - an organisation that represents about 5000 building contractors in the country - who's president Jean-Marie Talbot claims that government must now step in to save the industry.

Conditions in the civil engineering sector are just as tough where, according to Henk Langenhoven of the South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors, about 27 000 people have already lost their jobs because large-scale projects have been completed and there is no replacement work to keep them busy.

R60m paid for Clifton property
A four-storey Clifton property has been sold for R60-million to Indian billionaire Dr Vijay Mallya. It is apparently the highest price paid for a property on the Atlantic Seaboard.

A Clifton property has been sold for R60m, apparently the highest price paid for a property on the Atlantic Seaboard.

The home, in Nettleton Road, has sweeping views of Clifton beach and had been on the market for R80-million. However, its owner, British screenwriter and film producer, Mike Jefferies accepted Mallya's offer for the property.

The mansion, designed by Stefan Antoni, provides exceptional levels of luxury and opulence with floor tiles that cost R2,5k per square metre and its own glass elevator to carry people up to the different levels.

Many rock stars and celebrities have apparently used the property.

Cocktail party essentials
Cocktail parties are fantastic for summer entertaining - there is nothing quite like a cocktail to get the party started in a glamorous and fun way. However, regardless of what kind of crowd you're entertaining, there are a few basic guidelines that need to be adhered to if you are going to throw a successful cocktail soiree.

The bar
Since the bar is the core of the party, go through the following bar checklist and make sure you have ample stock of everything you will need:
Ice: You cannot have too much ice - the more ice you have, the colder it will stay and the better it will taste. Keep two tubs by the bar: one to chill bottles, the other to scoop from when mixing drinks. With regards to ice, rather over cater, as you will be surprised how quickly you go through ice.

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