Click to help a family build a home
There is currently a shortage of nearly 2.4 million homes in South Africa, according to the Outcome 8 Delivery Agreements: Sustainable Human Settlements and Improved Quality of Household Life. To contribute towards solving the housing struggles facing the South African population, Property24.com has teamed up with Habitat for Humanity South Africa for the Clicks for Bricks Challenge. Clicks for Bricks aims to get the Property24.com Facebook community involved in building homes for families in need and raising awareness for the work that Habitat for Humanity does to combat the South African housing shortage.
“The stark reality is that for so many South Africans formal, sustainable housing seems like a pipe dream,” said JP Farinha, Property24.com General Manager. “The Clicks for Bricks Challenge is our way to give something back and support social change in the country.”
Through their work, Habitat for Humanity strives to provide simple yet decent and affordable housing for those in need, and thanks to these efforts, every 8 minutes somebody in the world receives the keys to a new home! Habitat for Humanity has been actively building in South Africa since 1996, and to date has assisted 3 600 families across 34 communities in the Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal regions.
Marriage and property ownership
The way a couple gets married or the type of marriage contract entered into will impact property ownership in the future.
This is according to Lanice Steward, managing director of Knight Frank Anne Porter, who says as this type of investment is often the biggest asset likely to be bought together, it is best to discuss these matters beforehand.
There are three types of marriage contracts, says Steward, and many couples enter into marriage unaware of how the regime chosen might affect their assets down the line.
Under normal circumstances, she says you either get married in community of property or out of community of property, and with or without the accrual system.
Out of community of property no consent of the spouse is required to acquire or dispense of an asset.
Habitual rule breakers in complexes
One of the biggest problems experienced in sectional title property schemes is how to enforce the conduct rules of the body corporate. One method that might work is fining those who break the rules but often people just ignore these as many ignore traffic fines, says Bauer.
This is according to said Michael Bauer, general manager of sectional title management company IHFM, who says trustees often find themselves in the difficult situation of dealing with owners and tenants who completely disregard the rules - but the Sectional Title Act does not give many options.
The Act provides for arbitration or High Court Action to deal with breaches in conduct rules and management rules but these are all costly and take a long time.
Rates payment solution for sellers
Are you currently in the process of selling your house? If so, you will soon be contacted by your attorney asking you for a payment enabling them to obtain a rates clearance certificate. This certificate is issued by the local municipality and confirms that your rates and taxes have been paid in advance.
Payment is required at least two months before the attorney can transfer the house to the buyer, as the certificate needs to be submitted, with other relevant documents, to the Deeds Office, which then authorises the transfer of the house.
Obtaining a rates clearance certificate can become costly in terms of both money and time. Taking a monthly rates and taxes bill of R2 500, the seller may be asked to pay R12 500 upfront as payment for five months in advance, which is a common requirement in order to obtain the necessary certification.
This is a large sum, particularly if unexpected and not budgeted for. As a result, the transfer process can be slowed down, proving frustrating for both the buyer and the seller, as well as resulting in further costs such as occupational rent.
How to improve your credit fitness
Financial institutions have relaxed their lending criteria to some degree and have shown a greater appetite for risk during this year, with the percentage of bond approvals growing monthly.
Buyers who want to improve their chances of bond approval will need to work on their credit fitness and improve their credit rating score.
However, homeowners will still face relatively strict lending standards compared to the boom period - both in the current market and foreseeable future, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
He says buyers who want to improve their chances of bond approval will need to work on their credit fitness and improve their credit rating score.
“Banks generally look at how a prospective home buyer has conducted their account over the last six months, so if an applicant wants to ensure their optimum chance of approval, they will need to have an excellent credit record for at least the six month period prior to their application.”
What it costs to market a home
There has been a stigma concerning the benefits of marketing property through an agency and what the actual costs are to the seller.
Open mandate properties are listed on different websites to the exclusive mandate properties. These individual websites charge a fee to the agency in order to list a property.
The real estate industry is so competitive that agencies battle it out on a day to day basis by offering more to their clients than competitor agencies, according to Engel & Völkers.
The agency says it is aware that competition is healthy as this increases client services and encourages new marketing strategies that will cost an agency a pretty penny.
Homeowners wanting to sell a property trust that marketing a property themselves will save on paying commission and that real estate agents make a great deal of money for a small amount of work. Nothing could be further from the truth, says Craig Hutchison chief executive officer of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.
Tenant's deposit and property repairs
A Property24 reader asks when the landlord can use the tenant's deposit for repairs or maintenance to the property.
Marlon Shevelew, a rental property attorney at Marlon Shevelew and Associates advises:
Tenants who pay their rent on time and leave the home clean and damage-free often believe they are going to get their full security deposit back when they move out of rented accommodation.
They then get a shock when the landlord gives them a laundry list of tiny charges for what the tenant believes constitute “fair wear and tear.
A landlord may not charge a tenant for “fair wear and tear”, which is defined as “deterioration or depreciation in the value of the subject matter by ordinary and reasonable use" and the Rental Housing Act specifically excludes the tenant’s liability for this.
Long-on-market homes - should you buy?
At the height of South Africa’s property boom, houses were selling within weeks, if not days, of being listed and it was only the most 'problematical' properties that remained unsold month after month.
That’s according to Richard Gray, CEO of Harcourts
Real Estate, who says the boom period of 2004 to 2008 embodied the rule of thumb that, in an ideal market, a property should take about eight weeks to sell.
“There were times during these years that buyers were literally queuing for properties, and many instances in which properties sold within hours of first being advertised."
However, he says on the back of the financial downturn, the current market is far from balanced, as evidenced by the findings of FNB’s Estate Agent Survey for the second quarter of 2012 which indicates houses are spending an average of almost 18 weeks on the market.
Further, he adds, there are properties that, despite repeat online and newspaper advertising, have been on the market for a year or more.
Tips for tenants looking for a home
Most people start looking for rental homes or flats by scanning the online property ads, b ut there are a few things to think about before leaping in.
Wayne Albutt, National Manager for the Rawson Property Group’s Rental Franchise Division, gives the following tips for tenants who looking to find accommodation.
The first fact that has to be accepted by any person planning to rent in South Africa, says Albutt, is that demand very definitely outstrips supply at the moment and this means that the tenant will struggle to find accommodation.
Nevertheless, he says, tenants should take to heart the fact that landlords are, by law, not allowed to discriminate against any person on any grounds other than a poor credit record or an inability to afford the rental property. This is commonly calculated on his rental being less than one-third of his total income or, more accurately, upon the tenant’s monthly net surplus after paying for necessities, explains Albutt.