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29 January 2015

What it takes to be a home inspector
Becoming a home inspector will soon become the career of choice for many South Africans according to Bryan Chaplog, CEO of the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB), who says a new law, the Property Practitioner’s Bill (PPB), is going to regulate home inspectors and define acceptable training standards for home inspectors.

Both HouseCheck and the South African Home Inspection Training Academy (SAHITA) have supported the introduction of the PPB, says Chaplog.

John Graham, Principal of SAHITA, says government recognition of the home inspection industry is long overdue. Up until now, South African home buyers have not been protected when buying homes voetstoots. He says they have not been made aware that it would be prudent to get a home inspection report as part of the deal.
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5 key retail property trends for 2015
Retail property has made a strong positive contribution to South Africa’s growth in recent years, with numerous new shopping malls coming to market; each ploughing investment into the economy, creating jobs and crafting retail assets and social hubs for their communities.

This is according to Gavin Tagg from Retail Network Services, who believes, despite weaker economic fundamentals, there are still exciting new opportunities for shopping centres in 2015.

Tagg highlights five dominant trends for retail property in 2015:

1. Caution
A cautious approach is needed by retailers and retail developers in the year ahead, says Tagg. It’s essential to have sound retail development basics in place to ensure the success of a new shopping centre in this flat-growth, rising-interest economy, he says.
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Transport impacts affordable housing
The establishment of transport nodes across South Africa has resulted in a wave of new affordable housing developments being built in close proximity according to Manie Annandale, Head of Nedbank Corporate Property Finance’s Affordable Housing Development Unit, who says developers have recognised the growing demand for affordable housing developments that are located close to newly developed roads or transport systems, such as the Gautrain and the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit system in Gauteng and the MyCiti bus service in the Western Cape.

Annandale says the provision of transport is crucial in shaping buying and renting decisions. Affordable housing is driven by the availability of suitable land and as this cost increases, so too does the building of higher density developments that can best optimise these transport nodes.
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What are your rights if landlord sells?
With the market currently favouring sellers, it may be tempting for those who own a rental property to put the property up for sale. But what happens if the property is occupied by a tenant? Does the tenant have any rights, and are they within their rights to breach the lease agreement in this instance?

According to Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, the law states that a landlord is within their rights to sell their property to a third party, even if the property is being let out to a tenant and a lease agreement is in place.

However, in terms of the legal principle ‘huur gaat voor koop’, the lease precedes the sale, and therefore the tenant is entitled to retain occupation of the property for the remainder of the lease period.

Goslett says although a tenant has the right to stay in the property for the remainder of the lease period, there could be some anxiety around the situation, especially if it means dealing with another landlord or the renewal of terms with the new owner of the property.
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Revamp your life! Buy a house in 2015
Will you buy property in 2015? Property24 ran a home buyer survey in the first few weeks of January to get a gauge of how optimistic people are really feeling when it comes to buying property this year. And the response tells us that at least a good portion of readers have their sights well set on owning their own home.

Of those who responded to the survey, 79% said they were optimistic and planning to buy a home in 2015. 10% said they were having difficulty qualifying for a home loan while 8% responded that they can't quite afford it now and would rather rent. Only 3% noted other factors as obstacles.

Despite sluggish economic growth, there is still positive news for would-be home buyers. For starters, petrol is cheaper and the best place to put that spare cash is in your 'house fund'.

The prime interest rate is still low at 9.25% and is not expected to change when the SA Reserve Bank holds its Monetary Policy Committee meeting on Thursday, so you can still get onto the property ladder in a favourable interest rate cycle.
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Should you do repairs before selling?
Your home is in need of repairs, but you have decided to place it on the market. Is it worth taking the time to fix it up or should you rather just take a knock on the asking price?

RE/MAX of Southern Africa CEO, Adrian Goslett, says often homeowners find themselves in a situation just like this and have to make a tough decision.

Goslett says there is a good chance that the seller will find a buyer who has been looking for a property with potential and is slightly more affordable because it is in need of some attention. However, for the most part, it is always easier to find a buyer for a home that is in its best condition.

He says a visually pleasing home will attract far more attention from potential buyers than one that is not well kept. Generally, he says most sellers will spend some time and money preparing their home for sale by applying a fresh coat of paint and spring cleaning.
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