Property 24/10 - 80 acquires SAHometraders recently announced its successful acquisition of the online property portal business, SAHometraders, extending the offerings of both companies for consumers and real estate agents. 

The result of this partnership is the country’s biggest property search listing network, which looks set to provide South Africa’s most compelling value proposition as a result of the combined audiences, property listings and pricing. 

The SAHometraders audience of over 180 000 visitors per month combines with’s 517 000 visitors per month (as measured by the DMMA) to provide the largest online audience of property buyers, sellers and renters to the estate agent industry. 

FirstRand, Old Mutual’s R1.6b offices
A planned R1.6 billion Cape Town CBD office development is set to encourage more property developments to make use of the UDZ Tax Incentives.

The 60 000 square metres iconic tower is a co-development office project planned by FirstRand and Old Mutual for the Portside site in Cape Town’s central business district to be completed in March 2014.

It will be the provincial headquarters for the three divisions of FirstRand – First National Bank (FNB), Rand Merchant Bank and Wesbank.

Co-owners Old Mutual will offer an additional 25 000 square metres in the lower portion of the tower for leasing to corporate office tenants. 

Can my landlord add this clause?
A Property24 reader asks

My landlord added a clause to my rental lease: “The lessee has five days to report any defects and damages caused by normal wear and tear during the cause of this lease agreement.

Failure to report on such incidents will result in the liability to be incurred by the lessee. Defects and damages caused through negligence of the lessee will result in the liability incurred by the lessee.”

In an email, the landlord state that the clause has been included because the previous tenant only reported the shower broken upon leaving three months late. It further said as a result, the shower are had significant damage costing R5 000 to repair.

I moved into the property on the first of the month and reported the snag list on the 20th of that month. The landlord refuses to accept it despite the fact that I had advised her of my work schedule hence the delay in sending through the snag list.  

Sellers, do not ignore ‘road appeal’
Estate agents often talk about ‘road appeal’ or ‘curb appeal’ of a home to sellers. 

“This is because a home that doesn’t look like it has been looked after from the outside, doesn’t give the buyer much confidence in its internal appearance and condition,” says Grant Gavin of RE/MAX Panache which operates in the Durban North and La Lucia areas on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast. 

He says curb appeal starts with the garden and driveway - it’s the first impression a buyer will get and these impressions last.  

“Simple maintenance like ensuring the driveway is free from weeds and overgrown/un-kept bushes and plants are important. Garages are often used for the storage of clutter, and therefore it’s a good idea to clean out the garage or for garage doors to be closed to hide this space from the road,” he says. 

Rental market – what you should know?
The lack of new housing stock coming into the market is reportedly driving growth of and pushing rentals up in the residential market. 

Tony Clarke, managing director of Rawson Properties says rental income at his agency increased by 700 percent in the last ten years and in the last financial year the increase was just over 30 percent.

Clarke says there are reasons behind the significant rent rises being experienced in the South African residential property market.

These include the fact that in the post-National Credit Act and recession era, mortgage bond finance has been cut by over 45 percent making the purchase of a new home difficult for many people.

More blacks buying property in SA
The number of black people entering the South African residential property market is said to have increased as the socio-economic tables turn.

According to bond originator ooba, the number of home loan applications by black people already exceeds that of their white counterparts.

Black home buyers currently represent 45 percent of total home loan applications while applications submitted by white home buyers represents only 41 percent of the total number of home loan applications, says Saul Geffen, chief executive officer of ooba.

“Black buyers only represent 39 percent of the number of the total approved home loans, while whites represent 47 percent of the total number of approved home loans.”

He says this ratio has changed considerably since last year, where blacks only represented 30 percent and whites 56 percent of approved home loans.

Keep your eye on the property ball
News of the proposed amendments to the Municipal Property Rates Bill came as a shock to the real estate industry and multiple property investors.

Adrian Goslett, chief executive officer of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that although government has since gone on to say that the amendment was not directly aimed at those who owned more than one property and that second homes would not be affected, the statement rectified the belief that second homes would be regarded as commercial property and not residential homes and would be rated as such.

Goslett notes that despite the reassurances by government that the amendments to the Bill would not impact on ordinary South African homeowners, the fact that the wording of the Bill was vague highlighted the need for property owners to keep their eyes and ears firmly fixed on changes in legislation that will directly affect their investments.

He says it would be unfair to assume that government had intentionally tried to get the amendments passed with little or no comment. The fact that officially very little time was allowed for homeowners to object is of concern.

Estate agents commission, the low down
Property sellers are warned to be wary of estate agents who promise a higher price based on hot air and a lower commission once the home is sold.

Estate agents who spoke to Property24 say there is always a lot of focus on estate agents' commissions when the focus really should be on the professionalism that the property seller gets from the estate agent they employ to sell their home.

They say sellers should make use of estate agents who are registered with the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) and they believe no commission should be paid out by a conveyancer unless a proper registration certificate is produced.

According to Grant Gavin, broker and owner of RE/MAX Panache in Durban, commission will hardly be questioned if the seller believes they received a fantastic service from a professional agent as these agents are worth their weight in gold in this current market.

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