Property 24/10 - 95

How to become an estate agent
For many people, a career in real estate is not about making a quick buck and getting out, but a lifelong commitment and passion for the sector.

In 2008 there were around 90 000 estate agents registered with the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB), according to Kevin Mullins, chief executive officer of SA Real Estate Academy.

Mullins says up to this time there were few barriers to entry in the industry and it was a popular choice for those wishing to cash in on the property boom of the years 2004 to 2007.

He says in the middle of 2008 the EAAB introduced more stringent requirements for entry and the real estate economy started to wobble following the implosion in the US mortgage market.

In South Africa, by 2011 more than two thirds of the estate agents registered in 2008 had left the industry due to the economic recession and legislative requirements to re-qualify on a professional level.

Simple tricks to selling home fast
If you’re selling your home it is important to create a competitive advantage over other homes for sale by ensuring your house is well turned out and appealing to prospective buyers. 

All too often, says Tony Clarke, MD of Rawson Properties, the person trying to sell a home fails to appreciate that his chances of success will be greatly increased if he “teams up” with the agent – and plays his part in the whole process.  

Clarke says the most significant thing that the seller can do, says, is to prepare the home thoroughly, trying, wherever possible, to recall what he found appealing when he first saw the home and then doing all he can to enhance that feature. 

“Agents have for decades said that the home which has been loved and cared for will sell far quicker than the neglected or untidy home.” 

Dream home or house of horrors?
Are you about to buy a house? Be sure it’s a dream home rather than a house of horrors. Before you sign a purchase agreement or any disclosure documents, ask yourself: 

Do I have to sign?
Many new property owners are told that they must sign disclosure documents stating that the property is in good working order before a sale can be completed. 

While some estate agents might insist that disclosure documents are compulsory, this is simply not the case. By law, you are not required to sign these documents. 

If you do, and you end up with a house which needs unexpected repair work, you will have no recourse with the estate agent.

10 steps to finding the ideal property
Due to the fact that the current property market offers buyers a wide selection of homes to choose from, the selection process can sometimes be tough. 

Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that while most buyers probably have a good idea of what they are looking for in a home, there are a few steps they should follow to help with their final selection: 

1. Make a wish list
Goslett advises buyers to write down everything they need and want in a property. The first aspect buyers should consider when making their list includes the type of property they prefer. 

Buyers need to decide if they are looking for a freestanding home, a cluster or a unit in a sectional-title complex or secure estate, he says. 

Then they need to decide if they would like a home they can renovate or one they could just move right into without changing a thing, Goslett advises. “A property in need of attention should have a lower asking price than one that's fully renovated and a place that's two or three years old will be cheaper than one that's brand new.” 

He says that buyers should also determine the details in terms of the number of bedrooms they require, the entertainment and garden space they would need, etc. 

Do’s and don’ts of rental property
Property investors with access to finance will find many good opportunities to build their rental property portfolio in the current market. 

However, while there are value-for-money properties to be bought, there are still a few guidelines investors will need to follow to ensure that they get the most out of their investment, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.  

Don’t be too hasty or forget the research
According to Goslett, regardless of whether buying a property as a primary residence or as a rental investment, buyers need to do the necessary homework and start the exercise with the goal of gaining as much information as they can get their hands on.  

With a vast mass of information at their fingertips, buyers can complete a large majority of their groundwork while sitting behind their computer. Internet property search portals are a great way to compare pricing and what different areas offer. 

Dodgy estate agent to face the music
Jawitz Properties is taking urgent legal action against its Jeffreys Bay franchise owner, Renette Block amid serious allegation of theft.

It is also alleged that there have been misappropriations of funds held in trust and funds paid to the franchise on behalf of their clients.

Herschel Jawitz, chief executive officer of Jawitz Properties says they were alerted to possible problems when their head office started receiving complaints at the end of 2011 from property owners who were not being paid their rent, which was paid to the Jeffreys Bay franchise office by tenants.

Tenants vs landlords over rental hike
In a case brought to the Constitutional Court, a group of ousted tenants claim that their right to adequate housing was violated by owners Aengus Lifestyle Properties, who made the decision to cancel their leases and raise the rent by up to 150% at the ‘Lowliebenhof’ building in Smit Street, Johannesburg.

The tenants argued that the cancellation was not compliant with the clause in their lease agreement because it was terminated unfairly and was in defiance of the Rental Housing Act stipulations.

They claim that the impact on the tenants would decrease their quality of life and leave seven of the group homeless.

The Inner City Resource centre submitted the landlord’s right to increase their profit is not a plausible reason to deprive their tenants of their rights. The lease cancellation and increased rent would have a disproportional impact on the tenants and is tantamount to unfair practice.

Aengus, a company that focuses on inner city revitalisation and developing upmarket living spaces in Johannesburg, argues that their action was compliant with their contractual obligations under the cancellation clause in the lease agreement.

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