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Redbrick Solutions advises conveyancers to ‘find a reason for estate agents to recommend you’
Legal futures - UK
The results of a recent survey demonstrate just how important it is for conveyancers to market themselves to estate agents. The survey, carried out by the Property Academy in association with TM Group, found that 46 percent of homebuyers would choose their conveyancer based on a recommendation from their estate agent. This is up 5% compared to last year.

In light of this, legal technology supplier Redbrick Solutions are reminding conveyancers how important it is to build and maintain strong working relationships with their local estate agents. Jo Hodges, Head of Sales and Marketing at Redbrick Solutions comments ‘The conveyancing market is hugely competitive, ensuring you appear on an estate agents list of preferred conveyancers will help to maximise new business and we are experienced in helping clients achieve and maintain this.’

But what can firms do to ensure their position on a list of preferred suppliers? Interestingly, the Property Academy survey also revealed that only 18% of home-movers made their final choice of conveyancer based on low fees. Many home-movers consider regular communication with their conveyancer to be more important than price. In fact, 38% of home-movers wanted a conveyancer who would communicate with them at least once week.
Legal Futures

A few pockets of decent growth
Rode Report - South Africa
A few premier office nodes in some of the country’s major cities are showing decent growth – this according to the latest Rode’s Report on the SA Property Market.

In the fourth quarter of 2013, Menlyn (+12%) in Pretoria, Century City (+10%) in Cape Town and the Sandton CBD (+8%) in Johannesburg were examples of nodes where nominal rentals were able to beat building-cost inflation (+6%). CEO of Rode & Associates, Erwin Rode, says that the rental growth in Sandton might, however, not be sustained in light of the node’s high vacancy rate — 14% for grade-A+, A and B combined — and the huge amount of additional office space that is in the pipeline. “Besides being the country’s financial hub, another explanation for Sandton’s popularity among developers is its Gautrain station,” notes Rode.

Zooming out to the regional level, shows that rentals in Durban decentralized were during the fourth quarter of 2013 able to show the strongest growth of 5%. Cape Town and Pretoria decentralized recorded growth of 4% while in Johannesburg de-centralized, rentals were up by about 3%.
Rode Report Press Release

Credit and mortgage advances
Absa - South Africa
Slowdown in growth in household credit and mortgage balances
Inflationary pressures have mounted since late last year, with headline consumer price inflation reaching a level of 6% y/y in March. Some of the main risks to the inflation outlook are food prices, transport costs and exchange rate movements. Inflation is forecast to average above 6% this year, while economic growth is forecast at just more than 2%. Interest rates are forecast to rise further during the course of the year in an attempt to contain inflation. The household sector will continue to experience financial strain on the back of expected relatively low economic and employment growth. Rising inflation will drive interest rates and debt servicing costs higher, impacting the accessibility and affordability of credit. As a result, the demand for credit, including mortgage finance, is projected to remain relatively subdued in the rest of the year.
Credit and mortgage advances

Dominant Agent Syndrome
Ennik Estates - South Africa
No business sector dominated by a single manufacturer or supplier can possibly serve the best interests of the consumer – and real estate is no different, says Gauteng luxury homes marketer Ronald Ennik. “When a single agent becomes the overwhelmingly dominant sales force in a suburb, homeowners should sit up and take notice – because it poses a threat to sales values in the area,” adds the CEO of Ennik Estates.

“I call it ‘dominant agent syndrome’– and this is how it happens: “An estate agent works a particular residential suburb so successfully and single-mindedly that he or she becomes the dominant (or only) marketer of homes in the area. “The agent begins to perceive that dominance to be both justifiable and invincible – and therefore becomes inclined, probably unwittingly, to suggest and set sub-par selling prices based on his or her own sub-par statistical records for the neighbourhood,” says Ennik.
Ennik Estates

Non-compliant sellers (or buyers) can wreck property deals
IolProperty - South Africa
A recent case handled by Denver Vraagom, a conveyancer with Gunston Attorneys in Cape Town, has shown how difficult and wearying the negotiations can be in a property transaction, if one party refuses to acknowledge his contractual obligations.

Sometimes this can be rooted in pure obstinacy, for example where a seller changes his mind about his earlier decision to sell.

Consider the following scenario: Once an offer to purchase has been signed, the transferring conveyancer sends a request to the conveyancer handling the buyer's mortgage bond. This request needs to specify how the bond proceeds should be paid, usually in the form of a guarantee payable into a specific account. By not furnishing the required specifics, the seller can frustrate the purchaser's ability to comply.

We have seen it happen, says Vraagom, that a seller then tries to use this non-compliance as a basis for cancellation, despite the buyer's best efforts to do so.

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