Property 24/10 - 475

This is how long property takes to sell in Gauteng and Cape Town
Selling real estate is not as instantly gratifying as selling shares or cashing in on other investments. Those hoping to sell in the current market are likely to wait for roughly 14 weeks - the national average - before closing the deal.

However, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett, warns sellers that the national average might not be an entirely accurate representation of the market conditions within a specific suburb.

Each suburb has its own turnover time, he explains. “Demand might be high in certain areas, meaning that it will take less time to sell within these areas. Similarly, certain suburbs might be experiencing a lack of interest from buyers, which will increase the time on market for properties within these suburbs.”

Goslett recommends having an open and honest conversation with a real estate advisor to set realistic expectations around the average time on market within your suburb.

Building or renovating? Insurance must-knows
The informal nature of many building contracts also means that the builder could be without insurance themselves, and any attempt to sue would not lead to an adequate recovery of damages.

Angela Hughes, Commercial Underwriting Manager at Standard Insurance Limited, says homeowners doing even simple additions generally only have a standard homeowner’s insurance policy in place, which excludes building or construction work.

“This means that in the event of a serious claim arising from the construction work or alterations, ordinary South Africans could lose their homes as they would not have adequate insurance protection in place,” says Hughes.

“Homeowners can protect themselves against such risk in two ways. Firstly, ensure that the builder you have engaged has adequate cover in place before commencing work. This cover must include a contractors all risk policy to cover the work being done, as well as liability cover. Secondly, the homeowner themselves can buy a contractors all risks policy covering the construction or alterations taking place.”

Property market ending 2019 on ‘stable footing’
The South African economy has experienced “promising, positive movement” in the second half of 2019 following a slowdown in markets over the past year. The encouraging market sentiment also bodes well for the country to avoid a possible debt rating downgrade when Moody’s reviews the economy in November.

So says Mike Greeff, CEO of Greeff Christie’s International Real Estate, who shares his views on South Africa’s economic outlook: “I am very encouraged by the tenacity of the South African economy, the Cape property market and the citizens of our country. We have all felt the significant pressures of the past year and I feel that we have weathered the worst of the storm. Markets have slowed their decline and for the moment are relatively stable, the country has safely come through a technical recession, the political landscape is stable, and economists are feeling cautiously optimistic about the year ahead.”

The property market is one of the mainstays of the economy and is an effective indicator of market sentiments, says Greeff. “I would encourage potential buyers and investors to act now as we are in a buyer’s market.”

Could your homeowners’ association stop your home sale?
If you’re buying a property in an estate or cluster complex run by a homeowners’ association (HOA), you need to know that you might not be able to resell that property without the approval of the HOA.

That’s the word from Gerhard Kotzé, MD of the RealNet estate agency group, who says this is the effect of a condition to be found in the title deeds of many stands or homes within community housing schemes, even though these are usually “freehold” properties.

“What is more, such a condition is binding in law whether the buyer is really aware of it at the time of purchase or not.”

In practical terms, he says, a clause in the title deed which states that an owner may not sell or transfer his property in an estate or cluster development without the consent of the HOA means that he has to inform the association of his plans to sell, and obtain the required consent, before he can put his home on the market or accept any offer to purchase.

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