Property 24/10 - 9

Flexible loan: pros and cons
In offering their clients more control over their personal finances, about 10 years ago the banks introduced a "flexible home loan" product.

This is a far cry from the traditional home loan that merely needed to be repaid at a fixed instalment over a fixed period.

Even though the product has been on the market for some time, a lot of focus has been placed on its advantages, while its limitations have received very little attention.

DIY: Fix kitchen appliances
Many kitchens are equipped with a variety of small cooking appliances including grills, sandwich makers, waffle irons, frying pans, skillets, and electric woks that may need fixing.

Some have controls built into the appliance while others have them built into the detachable cord. Let's take a look at how to fix both types here because they all work similarly.

Cooking appliances are designed to cook food at changeable temperatures. In some units, the temperature control is permanently attached to the appliance; the unit cannot be immersed in water for cleaning. Those with removable controls often can be immersed with the controls detached. Some units with built-in controls have removable electric cords and some have built-in non-removable cords.

Utility metering: An overview
When you mention utility metering most people automatically think of a bill they receive each month.

A closer look at this will show that some of these people will think of the bill they receive from their municipality, whilst others will think of the bill they receive from their body corporate management company.

We start our explanation with the basics of town planning.

Historically, a new town or suburb grew in an organic, informal nature without much thought or planning. Gradually, people started organising development and the profession of town planning became the means to build better living spaces.

North and South, offices are struggling
North or south, office vacancies remain high, landlords are under pressure to adapt and survive and tenants are becoming pickier.

Office markets in both Cape Town and Johannesburg are taking strain despite good economic growth since 4th quarter (Q4) 2009.

David Reid of JHI's broking division in Gauteng, says top commercial Johannesburg nodes are feeling the pinch as evidenced by office vacancies which remain high.

"A contradicting trend is developing whereby further office development is underway while supply is already very high. This is mainly around infrastructural developments such as roads, the Gautrain, the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT) and other enormous capital upgrades to our otherwise ageing infrastructure. This is most evident in the north of Johannesburg and also in the Pretoria CBD."

Rebate for energy-saving developers
The Department of Energy plans to offer a rebate for property developers who fit energy-saving features in buildings.

Tabling the department's Budget Vote on Tuesday, Minister of Energy Dipuo Peters said there were still many hotels that didn't have energy efficient systems that for example turned off power automatically in a guest's room when they left to go out.

She said the offer presented an opportunity for businesses and homeowners to invest in metering systems which could automatically switch off electricity when it wasn't needed.

Ensure home loan application is safe
Aside from new criteria as determined by the National Credit Act (NCA), there have been numerous changes in the bank's weighting of credit risk since the recession, with the implementation of deposit requirements, the increase of declines and a more conservative approach to lending in general.

Rudi Botha, CEO of Betterbond, South Africa's largest mortgage originator, says aside from evaluating an individual's earnings and expenditure, there are other criteria that the banks assess before granting or declining a home loan application.

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