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Selling or buying property in SA while living abroad
Whether you are selling or buying property in South Africa while living or working abroad, it is good to know that your property transactions can be concluded. Contracts of sale can be signed, scanned and sent back to the conveyancers or agents from anywhere in the world, however, from a conveyancing point of view, the signing of conveyancing documents when a party resides outside of South Africa is not so simple.

Conveyancing documents that are signed overseas can only be used at the Deeds Office if they are properly authenticated - Section 63 of the Uniform Rules of the High Court regulates these requirements. Authentication can be done at any foreign South African embassy or consulate service overseas,” advises Karien Hunter, Licence Partner Engel & Völkers KZN Dolphin Coast.

Cost vs value: Don't overspend on home renovations
First-time buyers used to move on to their second homes within five to six years, but now it is taking them up to 12 years to do so - and one reason is a millennial penchant for buying older properties in good locations and then slowly renovating or remodelling them as finances permit.

“At the same time, it must be said, many other owners are weighing current home prices plus the costs and inconvenience of moving against the cost of making some changes to their existing homes, and deciding to stay put,” says Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group.

“This trend is reflected in the latest building statistics from StatsSA, which show that plans for a total of 744 000sqm of alterations and additions to existing homes were passed in the second quarter of this year (compared to 650 000sqm in the first quarter), and that about R3.9 billion worth of previously planned additions and alterations were completed in the six months to end-June, compared to about R3.5 billion worth of work in the same period of 2017.”

Will estate agents survive the digital age?
During the past decade, fundamental shifts in the real estate industry have irrevocably changed the way business is conducted, and ongoing technological advances are on the brink of completely transforming the local industry, but there are conflicting schools of thought regarding its new direction.

This has been clearly evidenced by the reaction to several recent pronouncements that have caused waves in the industry and provoked strong sentiment, with the latest being the Pam Golding Property Group’s acquisition of, an online fixed-fee agency.

“Technology has undoubtedly revolutionised the industry by ushering in the era of time-saving convenience, enabling agents to reach a much broader market, but the digital era is also becoming a double-edged sword that threatens the very fabric of the industry,” says Yael Geffen, CEO of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty.

According to Geffen, a number of industry players see a future that is almost exclusively digital, with the role of estate agents eventually becoming obsolete, and they are adapting early on by dramatically altering existing business models.

Smart retirement property investments showing up to 20% returns
More and more South Africans are investing in retirement lifestyle developments and enjoying superior returns of up to 20% per annum.

With the benefits of excellent security, luxury lifestyle, close-knit community, full ownership and quality medical and nursing facilities on your doorstep, it’s not hard to see why demand for these properties far outstrips supply, says Charl van Niekerk, Central Developments’ Marketing Manager for Celebration Retirement Estate.

“There is incredible investment growth in retirement lifestyle developments, so many people take the opportunity to invest in properties well ahead of retirement age, renting out the units and paying off their bonds until they are ready to retire and use the properties themselves,” he says.

SA’s most popular suburbs for foreign property buyers
Foreign ownership in the local property market has experienced an encouraging upsurge over the last several years, with an increase of 42% in January 2018 compared to the same period last year.

So while many would have expected to see a decline in the number of foreign buyers of late, these findings by data and analytics property group, Lightstone, indicate increased appetite and confidence in the South African property market.

“Gauteng and Cape Town are evidently at the top of the purchasing pile,” says Hayley Ivins-Downes, head of property at Lightstone. “Cape Town, due to its cosmopolitan ambiance and multi-cultural inclusiveness, and Gauteng because of the thriving industrial and business hubs which offer many employment opportunities.”

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