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12 November 2015

SA's top green building achievers recognised
South Africa’s top rated Green Star SA buildings and leading green building professionals were announced in the Green Star SA Leadership Awards 2015 at the annual Green Building Convention in Cape Town.

The annual Green Star SA Leadership Awards, sponsored by Old Mutual Property, comprises four categories. For buildings, there are the Highest Rated Building and Best Quality Submission awards, while individual professionals are recognised as either a Rising Green Star or an Established Green Star.

Brian Wilkinson, CEO of the Green Building Council South Africa (GBCSA), says the convention this year aimed to “inspire better buildings”, and this is exactly what leading building professionals and projects are achieving. “Like us, they constantly work towards designing, building and operating better, greener buildings that tread lightly on our stressed planet.”
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Buying an international property that suits your needs
Buying a property is a massive financial commitment. In fact, for most it is one of the largest financial investments that they will ever make in their lifetime. When it comes to making such a large investment, particularly in a foreign country where the property purchasing rules and regulations are different, it is imperative that investors take their time and undertake the necessary research in order to make an informed decision according to James Bowling, CEO of Monarch&Co, who says often an international real estate investment is one of the requirements of a residency or citizenship programme.

While today’s savvy investors have access to great volumes of information via the internet, Bowling says it is still possible for investors to be taken advantage of or caught out by certain clauses or regulations they were unaware of.
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SA ranks as world-class property investment destination
“A world in one country” - an expression very aptly associated with South Africa and its diverse natural beauty. It enjoys one of the highest rates of sunshine per day, offering an enviable outdoor lifestyle and adventure activities which are rare to many other countries and continents.

This is according to Craig Hutchison, CEO of Engel & Völkers Southern Africa, who says this country is one of the most beautiful, hottest tourist destinations in the world. "When you consider its exquisite beaches, magnificent countryside and rugged mountain backdrops, you can understand why."

Hutchison says South Africa is renowned for its excellent medical facilities and well-trained medical specialists. There are many great public schools which have maintained particularly high education standards, with a host of top private schools in every city and town.
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What PQs mean for special levy allocation
Every section within a sectional title scheme has a participation quota (PQ) allocated to it, and this is not just an irrelevant number on the sectional title plan.

This is according to Andrew Schaefer, MD of Trafalgar, who says in a residential development, where PQs are usually calculated by expressing the size of each section as a percentage of the combined sizes of all the sections, they also indicate the undivided share of the common property that is allocated to each section.

Even more importantly, for most owners, PQs are the usual means of determining the monthly levy payable by each owner to cover the scheme’s common expenses, he says.
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The horrors of underinsuring your property
We all think having insurance is enough protection for us, but the reality is that your level of cover might be insufficient, and being underinsured can be a horrible experience according to Bertus Visser, Chief Executive of Distribution at PSG Insure, who says there are three types of short-term insurance that are essential to have.

He says these cover your actual property, all of your possessions inside your home and your vehicle, whether parked inside or outside.

1. Home insurance
“The structure of your property needs to be adequately insured, which should not be based on market value, but rather the cost of rebuilding, which will become important in the event of unforeseen structural damage as caused by a fire, storm, or flood,” says Visser.
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Foorproof your home buying checklist
Before beginning the house hunting process, buyers have usually established some sort of list of criteria that they are looking for in a property according to Debbie Justus-Ferns, divisional manager of Renprop Residential Resales, who says these criteria usually only cover the obvious basics required, and neglect or gloss over the details.

“When committing to a long-term investment, the details count,” she says.

Justus-Ferns says listing photographs don’t always showcase the property in a way that accurately reflects all of its features, or lack thereof, and the property descriptions can also sometimes be pretty vague.
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