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Property 24/10 - 110

31 May 2012

Sellers must disclose property defects
The past few years have seen the property market being more and more heavily impacted by legislation.

“The National Credit Act has served us well, buffering our economy from the financial devastation experienced in global markets, and now that the Consumer Protection Act has been in force for almost a year, we are beginning to see its influence,” says Carol Reynolds, area principal for Pam Golding Properties in the Durban North and La Lucia areas.

She says the Consumer Protection Act applies mainly to new sales by developers, who sell properties in the ordinary course of their business directly to the public, and its impact on once-off private second-hand property sales is minimal.

There has been much confusion regarding the ambit of the Act, and furthermore, the public have been left questioning whether or not the voetstoots clause still applies, says Reynolds.

“It is now clear that the voetstoots clause does indeed remain in full force in property sales where the CPA is not applicable.
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Agents: Be an effective negotiator
Property expert, author and trainer, Ed Hatch, recently visited various locations across South Africa to address real estate professionals working for RE/MAX of Southern Africa to share some of his vast knowledge regarding effective negotiation.  

Since 1977, Ed Hatch has been a licenced real estate professional and has worked within the industry in various capacities.

He is the senior instructor for the Council of Residential Specialists and the president of Ed Hatch Seminars - haven spoken to over 100 audiences each year since 1990.

He has been a featured speaker at the last 17 consecutive National Association of Realtors (NAR) Conventions, ten Certified Residential Specialist CRS Sell-a-brations, and has spoken internationally throughout the US, Brazil, Canada, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. 
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SA tenants battle to pay home rentals
While many buy-to-let investors are cashing in big bucks from the rental market, landlords are warned to carefully assess tenant affordability.

The Tenant Profile Network (TPN) Rental Payment Monitor Q1 2012 reveals that the riskier rental brackets are at the higher and lower end of the market with tenants renting homes priced over R12 000 per month struggling to pay rent.

Of these tenants, only 77 percent are in good standing with 61 percent paying rent on time, 17 percent paid late, 11 percent made partial payments and 12 percent did not pay rent.

Writing in the report, Michelle Dickens, TPN managing director says estate agents and landlords should be carefully analysing tenant affordability in this category.

“Looming interest rates will most certainly affect these tenants’ ability to meet their rental and other credit obligations.”
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Levy defaulters cannot avoid the law
Throughout the South African sectional title sector, failure to pay levies is a growing problem.

This is according to Anelisa Keke of Gunston Attorneys, who says as attorneys they have to stick to the usual debt collection process.

“If it becomes clear to the body corporate that the levy arrears are getting out of hand we will send the owner a letter of demand, specifying the exact amount owing, the interest which has accrued and the time by when the debt must be settled – this is usually set at ten working days.”

At this point, says Keke, the owner should, if he is to avoid further action, either pay the debt immediately or contact the attorney representing the body corporate and make an arrangement to do so.

All too often, however, she says, the offender will simply choose to do nothing. In these cases the attorney, at the behest of the body corporate, is left with no option but to institute court proceedings. 
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Can I cancel my sole mandate?
I signed a sole and exclusive mandate with an agent to sell my house in early May. It’s almost a month and I haven’t heard anything from the agent and she hasn’t brought any people to see the house.

The mandate expires on 30 August 2012, but I need to cancel this mandate. How do I go about cancelling it? I did explain that this matter was urgent as we are buying another property.

Jaco Rademeyer, owner and principal of Jaco Rademeyer Estates in Port Elizabeth, advises:

An Estate Agency contract comes into being when an Estate Agent accepts a mandate given to him by a principle (Seller) to render services for him as an Estate Agent. Generally, a mandate need not be in writing, it can be given verbally. However, a sole mandate must be in writing. A Sole Mandate or Sole Agency is a contract between an Estate Agent and a principal whereby the principle agrees to appoint that specific Estate Agent to sell his property and not to appoint another Estate Agent to sell the property until the period for which the sole mandate has been given has expired.
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Ways to win when you buy off-plan
With the number of existing homes for sale in the affordable price range diminishing, new developments are now popular with many first-time buyers.

Aida National Franchises operations manager Ester Odendaal, says there are several factors in favour of buying a home off-plan.

They include the following:

1. You can peg the cost of your home at today’s price, which is important because building costs are still rising faster than inflation.

2. You will usually need only a small deposit to secure your home, which means you can save your cash to cover transfer costs, or to reduce the capital portion of your home loan when you move in and immediately lower your minimum monthly instalment.

3. You may find it easier to obtain a home loan if the development has been approved by one or more banks – and some developers will even offer to pay your bond registration and transfer costs.
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Tips for investing in student flats
Buying a student property as an investment can be a wise move, but would-be investors should do their homework carefully before diving in.

As long as there are universities, there will be a need for student accommodation, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa. He says that privately owned off-campus student housing is always in demand, so investors looking for a rental property with a constant influx of tenants will find them near institutions for higher learning.

Sectional-title units that are located in secure complexes within close proximity to a university campus as well as other amenities are particularly sought-after among students across the country, Goslett says.

“For many South African students and their parents, the idea of living within walking distance of their university and having the safety aspect of staying in a secure complex is appealing.”
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To obtain a home loan, buy jointly!
Even with very low interest rates and low house prices as well as property bargains, many would-be buyers are still battling to get home loans.

Estate agents point to affordability as the main constraint for many consumers wishing to buy property.

Click here to read the article.

However, there is another way in which buyers can obtain home loans, says John Weston, Rawson Properties franchisee for Bergvliet and surrounding districts.

Weston says would-be buyers should look at buying jointly as opposed to the all or nothing scenario. 

If family members such as parents or siblings are willing to come in as joint buyers – everyone involved stands to gain as a result of the equity growth of the property.  

“The big advantage is that when the bank sees that two or three income earners are participating, they may well find that they can increase the size of the loan and award a more competitive interest rate.”
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