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Online buying boom extends to SA property
Moneyweb - South Africa
In the wake of a global record holiday season online buying spree, South African property is the latest beneficiary of the rush towards cyber shopping.

Saul Geffen, managing director of MortgageSA, the country's leading home loan facilitator says, "We have seen a marked increase in South Africans living abroad applying for home financing through the MortgageSA website and through our call centres.

"Internationally, people have become very comfortable with buying things online through greater website security and the greater convenience of keystrokes over traffic jams and crowded shops. And with the many excellent property websites showcasing SA property, increasing numbers of expats are comfortable buying property this way - then come to us for financing."

Widespread Mortgage Fraud Threatens America's Homeowners, New Report Finds
Yahoo finance - USA
Many First Time Mortgages and Refinancing Deals Could Have Falsified Property Values; Appraisers Tell of Widespread Pressure From Lending Industry Homeowners Cashing Out More Equity Than the True Value of Their Homes; Threat of Housing Bubble Looms Large

A new report released today, Home Insecurity: How Widespread Appraisal Fraud Puts Homeowners At Risk, reveals troubling evidence that many American homeowners and buyers are at financial risk from mortgage appraisal fraud. As a consequence, countless homeowners have borrowed more money than their homes are really worth. The report was conducted by Demos, a leading non-partisan, public policy group headquartered in New York City.
Yahoo Finance

Property and construction - skills shortage
Business Day - South Africa
Booming markets create their own problems - such as a skills shortage. The biggest problem facing the South African property and construction industry is a massive shortage of labour skills - according to Stuart Chait, chief executive of Property Partners in Cape Town.
Business Day

Unlucky 118
NetAssets - South Africa
The number 118 is fast becoming unlucky for sellers of property in SA cities. First, the section 118 ruling by the constitutional court last year made landlords responsible for their tenants' municipal accounts. And section 118 (1a) of the Municipal Systems Act (MSA) stipulates that clearance certificates must be valid for 120 days, instead of the previous six to eight weeks.

Clearance certificates are issued to confirm that the seller is up to date with rates and other municipal charges. A property cannot be transferred without a clearance certificate.

As a result of the MSA clause, the city of Johannesburg has recently introduced a policy requiring sellers to provide a deposit equal to six months' worth of municipal charges. This seems to have been put in place to compensate for inefficient billing systems.

Getting the offer to purchase right
Property Signpost - South Africa
Making the offer to purchase on your first home is undoubtedly an important milestone, but it is just the first step in the whole process you need to go through to become a homeowner, and it must allow enough time for you to complete all the steps.

You will hopefully not have offered more for the property than you can afford, and the estate agent will usually allow a reasonable time in your offer document for you to secure a home loan. In this time the bank or independent lender should be able to run the necessary checks to ensure that you are a good credit risk, and evaluate the property to ensure that it will provide sufficient security for the loan you have requested.
Property SignPost

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