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Property servitudes can have powerful effect
IolProperty - South Africa
In a well-publicised case the court recently upheld a servitude protecting a property's view in Hout Bay. Servitudes are often put in place to prevent the erection of buildings which might block views or access or to allow right to the land for things such as future access to properties or plumbing. However, it is not often that the servitude protecting the view of a property includes all plant life as well, says Lanice Steward of Knight Frank Residential SA.

A recent court case covered in a Smith Tabata Buchanan Boyes property law update, Baartman v Stubbs and Others, illustrates the importance of keeping in mind the conditions of the servitude in place as well as being clear on the interpretation of the wording used, said Steward. In this particular case, the claimant's property enjoyed the rights of a registered servitude which protected the sea view, which stated that:

"No structure whatsoever nor tree shall be erected or planted on the property which would obstruct or partially obstruct the sea views from the existing structure on Erf 985 Hout Bay."

Emerging middle class battle with extra upfront costs of property buying
Rawson - South Africa
It is frequently said by estate agents that the biggest shock that many home buyers receive when they come to considering home buying is the extra costs related to such purchases. This, says Lorenzo Jardine, the Rawson Property Group's franchisee for Grassy Park and Retreat, is particularly true of those people living and buying in the lower middle and lower price brackets.

"While it is true that these people are slowly regaining the saving habits that came naturally to previous generations, very often they do not understand the other costs involved in such purchases." On a recent R800,000 sale for a home in his area, says Jardine, the buyer was dismayed to find that his conveyancing and transfer fees amounted to R18,000 and his bond costs to R14,000. He had not even, in fact, realized that there would be an upfront cost in registering his bond.
Emerging middle class battle

Patience is the key to post-divorce home purchases
BetterLife - South Africa
Getting divorced is tough, and buying a new home afterwards may be just as hard, especially if you are still the co-owner of a property with your former spouse according to Shaun Rademeyer, CEO of BetterLife Home Loans, SA’s biggest mortgage originator, who notes: “If you were previously part of a two-income household, and qualified for your last bond on that basis, it may be very difficult to qualify now for a new home loan on your own, particularly if you are the one alsomaking child support payments.

“You will obviously not have the same discretionary income as before, so the banks will probably err of the side of caution when assessing whether you will also be able to manage a monthly bond repayment on your own place. As a result, you may need time to pay off some debt,raise your credit score and hopefully receive a salary increase.”
Patience is the key

Rode & Associates receives top honours in national survey
Rode - South Africa
Property valuation firm Rode & Associates, has been honoured with top awards from the authoritative publication Professional Management Review (PMR.africa) in this year’s 2015 PMR.Africa rankings. The company received the Diamond Arrow Award in the Retail Valuations, Residential Valuations and Municipal Valuations categories; the Golden Arrow Award in the Agricultural Valuations and Specialised Valuations categories; as well as the Silver Arrow Award in the Commercial and Industrial Valuations category.

With a strong focus on measuring client service and satisfaction, the annual awards acknowledge excellence in the industry, setting benchmarks for other companies in the same field. The respondents who took part in this year’s survey, and who ranked Rode & Associates top in its field, ranged from property developers and management companies, to financial institutions, government and state-owned enterprises and insurance companies.

Explains Johan Hattingh, CEO of PMR.africa: “The awards are always the end result of a research process whereby companies, institutions and individuals are nominated and then rated by the respondents across a range of 20 attributes. The Diamond Arrow recognises outstanding service, while excellence is recognised through the Gold Award.”

How to spot a worthwhile fixer-upper
Harcourts - South Africa
With homes prices on the rise again in most popular areas, more buyers are open to the idea of acquiring a “fixer-upper” property that will allow them to gain cheaper entry to their favourite area in return for some of their own labour or “sweat equity”.

“Indeed, buying a home that needs some work is a tried-and-tested formula for getting more house for your money — especially if you’re handy and enjoy DIY,” says Richard Gray, CEO of Harcourts Real Estate, “but you do need to be able to tell the difference between a property that is worth working on and one that would cost more to fix that it will ever be worth.

“Even if you plan to live in the home for several years, you need to evaluate it as if you were going to sell it immediately after fixing it up. In other words, you don’t want to have to spend any more on it than the amount that would bring it up to the current average market value for the area.”
How to spot a worthwhile fixer

Hot tips for home sellers
RealNet - South Africa
Much has been said about getting you finances in order before you set out to buy a new home – but it’s just as important to do some homework before you decide to sell your property.

“If you’re selling with a view to buying another home, for example, you need to make sure you will qualify for a new home loan,” says Jan Davel, MD of the RealNet estate agency group. “Just because you have a bond currently, it is not a foregone conclusion that you will be approved for a new one – or that you will not be asked to pay a higher interest rate.”

On the other hand, he says, if your financial position has improved since you bought your current home, you may well find that you qualify for a bigger loan now, or a lower interest rate, especially if you are able to use the proceeds of your sale as a deposit on your new home.
Hot tips for home sellers

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