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When to develop a property
RealEstateWeb - South Africa
Tshepo Makhudu looks at tools to use.

Real options are increasingly being promoted in the academic world for use by developers to make more informed decisions on the timing of property development and the valuation of development land. The proponents of the theory propose that property development investments provide developers with several options that can increase value through flexibility of decision-making.

Decision-making under conditions of uncertainty requires managers to make financial decisions that affect the future, whilst they are unable to predict future events with absolute certainty. Any decisions that are being made now assume a certain amount of inefficiencies arising from the risk of making a partially incorrect decision due to the inability of managers to predict the future with absolute certainty. The converse statement to this is that one can wait a bit longer for more information to make better decisions, which delay gives rise to an option. Real options theory claims to be able to value the option contained in this delay.

Various decision-making methods, like the discounted cash flows (DCF) are used extensively to forecast the future. One of the most common DCF techniques is the net present value (NPV) technique. This technique holds that an NPV calculation that returns only a positive result means that a development should go ahead. An NPV calculation only uses information that is known at the time of the calculation, whereas property development is an at-least 50-year decision. NPV evaluates a development project as if it will be completed, regardless of whether they it still makes sense mid way through the project or not. Cash flow and discount rate variables change over time and as a result the NPV should also change. A project that may look positive now may not be attractive a few months later and vice versa, thereby increasing the chance that the wrong decision can still be made.

Bank rejections of bond applications often illogical, says Rawson Properties MD
Rawson - South Africa
Ongoing protests from leading figures in property marketing throughout South Africa about the difficulties of obtaining bond finance from the financial institutions are still, it seems, falling on deaf ears.

"The problem," says Tony Clarke, MD of Rawson Properties, "is not that we object to the more stringent lending criteria - some of us were, in fact, lobbying for these even before the National Credit Act became law.

"The difficulty is that all too often wholly worthwhile applicants are rejected simply because their profile does not quite match the current arbitrary scorecard criteria - and in most cases there is no one to whom the applicant can appeal for a review of his situation."

Paperless offices - tearing up customs
Law Gazette- UK
The idea of a paperless office is not new - it has been around for decades. But it is not something that many lawyers have bought into. I am guessing that most people reading this article are already saying something along the lines of 'it can't work!' Well, it can, and the benefits might make even the harshest IT critics sit up and think.

The theoretical benefits are not difficult to fathom. In a paperless office one has access to every bit of data within the practice at the push of a button. There is efficient document and information management, and hence huge administrative cost savings. Remote working is unrestricted, and there is automatic time recording as lawyers go about their daily business. Diary integration is easier in a paperless office, and owners can find out what is going on in every corner of the business.

So, the theory seems good but what about the practical reality? And why have so few practices made the switch?
Law Gazette

New Magistrates' Court Procedures 2011
LSSA - South Africa
The Law Society of South Africa will be presenting two seminars on new Magistrates' court procedures. The first on New Procedures in Civil Regional and District Courts will provide an introduction to the New Regional Civil Magistrates' Courts, the New Magistrates' Court Rules, practice directives, new forms used in court and case law developments, general litigation checklist for drafting in the Magistrates' Courts and much more.

The Second, on Basic divorce procedures and applications in terms of child law in the Magistrates' Courts will provide the following:
Introduction to Divorce Procedures in the New Regional Court, Edictal Citation, Substituted Service, Pendente Lite Applications, Impact of Children's Act on Divorce Proceedings and selected applications in terms of the Childrens' Act in the Magistrates' Court.

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