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Property 24/10 - 115

5 July 2012

HOA vs. gated community - difference?
What  is the difference between a Home Owners' Association and a gated community? 

Johan le Roux, Executive Director of Propell advises:
Home Owners' Associations (HOA) and Gated Communities have become common place in South Africa, yet many people are unaware that Gated Communities are NOT in-fact HOAs and are not governed by the rules and regulations facing HOAs. 

HOAs are governed by a constitution that places legal restrictions upon your title deeds, therefore if you choose to buy a property within an HOA you are subject to their rules and regulations. Whereas Gated Communities are simply members of a local community who have come together, predominantly for security reasons, and simply agree to work together but are not legally bound to one another in terms of a constitution, with no legal restrictions on their title deed. 
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Tips on paying off home loan fast
A small increase on a homeowner’s monthly bond repayment can make a big difference in the amount of time it takes to pay off the bond.

Adrian Goslett, chief executive officer of RE/MAX of Southern Africa explains that on a 20 year bond of R500 000 at an interest of 11 percent, the monthly bond repayment will be in the region of R5 160.

If the homeowner pays just R300 extra into their bond every month, they will save over R144 000 and cut the term of their bond by almost four years.

“This may just be a small step, but it can fast-track a homeowners path to financial freedom.”

Goslett says that if a homeowner is financially stretched to the limit and is not in a position to pay additional money into their bond, they could rather focus on finding ways to reduce the interest payable over the term of the bond.

In some cases switching from one financial institution to another can result in a reduction in interest rate.
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Property seekers turning to technology
A new age has dawned for the South African real estate industry on the back of massive technological advancement, to the point that 80 percent of sellers now start their property searches on the Internet.  

That’s according to Richard Gray, CEO of Harcourts Real Estate (SA), who says today’s cutting-edge technology in the hands of NQF-qualified agents is sounding the death knell for recalcitrant operators.  

“There’s no doubt that technology, along with the new compulsory NQF training, is changing the industry,” he says. “A few years ago, an agent could get by with a car. Nowadays, the basic industry requirements are an NQF qualification, a laptop or iPad, and a smart phone.” 

Commenting on Harcourts’ latest page viewing statistics from Google Analytics, Gray says today’s buyers invariably start their searches, not by visiting show houses but by typing in key search words such as “real estate” and “property” as well as their preferred suburbs.  Only once they find a property that suits their requirements do they contact the listing agent to set up an appointment to view. 
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Renting out property - helpful tips
The renting out of one’s property could be a nightmare or a worthwhile and pleasant experience, according to an estate agent.

Marie Bradfield from Engel & Volkers Waterkloof recommends that a lessor should consider using the services of a reputable and trustworthy agency to procure a suitable tenant and, in some instances, manage the property on behalf of the lessor.

It is critical that the tenant qualifies to rent the property, says Bradfield.

The following procedure should be followed in order to qualify the tenant:

The lessee should:

  1. Complete an application form
  2. Provide you with 3 months’ salary slips/3 months bank statements
  3. Copy of ID
  4. Proof of residence or copy of current lease agreement

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Check the neighbour's home when buying
Many South African homebuyers go to great lengths to inspect the property before buying, but they fail to check on the neighbour’s property.

According to Tony Clarke, managing director of Rawson Properties time-and-again it is unruly, noisy or in other ways insensitive neighbours who have turned a great new home purchase into a disaster and a cause for regret by the new owners.

On checking the neighbour’s property, Clarke says there are a number of pointers, which could indicate that they are undesirable and the family next door may, in fact, not be the type you would like to have there. 

Some of the bad indicators are that the garden will be untidy, the pool (if there is one) will be dirty and, worst of all, old cars and motorbikes awaiting repair will clutter the driveway. 

If the neighbours are heard shouting at their servants, pets or children that too is a bad sign.
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Interest cut would help home market
With the cost price index (and inflation in general) likely to continue to stay below the 6% upper limit (it is already at 5.7%) and with South Africa’s economy now feeling the effects of significant reductions in exports to Europe, the South African Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee will ‘almost inevitably’ find itself able to reduce its interest rates so as to stimulate economic growth, says Bill Rawson, Chairman of the Rawson Property Group. 

“A cautious move by the MPC would be to cut the rate by 0.25% in the very near future but as I read the signs now Gill Marcus is likely to be a lot bolder," says Rawson.  

"Certainly in the housing development and marketing sectors we are hoping for an initial 0.5% cut followed by a further 0.5% cut before the end of year." 

In residential property such a move is now sorely needed, says Rawson, especially as one now sometimes gets the impression that the government is not aware of how severely the National Credit Act has hit homebuyers, particularly those at the lower end of the scale struggling to get bonds.  
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12 trends in home features
While it is true that South Africans have a wide variety of tastes in residential architectural styles, it does pay for home buyers and sellers to be aware of the current trends, and the factors which make homes particularly acceptable. This is according to Sean McCauley, Executive Director of the Rawson Property Group, who says these tend to change from one decade to another. 

Discussing the features that most potential buyers should be aware of, McCauley says: 

1. Although white or neutral tone plastered walls are still the number one choice for most South African home buyers, in certain areas, face brick is coming back into fashion, not only because today’s face bricks can be so attractive but also because there is an increasing emphasis, in these tough economic times, on maintenance-free buildings.

Face-brick, he says, is especially favoured by elderly people who are scaling down and have to limit their spending.
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