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Property 24/10 - 81

13 October 2011

CT - CBD fringe’s most wanted homes
Western Cape property buyers and tenants continue to be attracted by CBD fringe properties to avoid traffic commuting problems, say estate agents.

Rawson Properties predicts that traffic congestion problems will make CBD fringe properties popular with home buyers and tenants as well as boost home prices.

According to Craig Gilfillan, Rawson Properties franchise for Observatory and Woodstock in Cape Town, residents in the areas spend a maximum of 15 minutes in peak traffic and about five minutes in less traffic to drive to town.

He says the City Improvement District initiatives which through its many activities provides services such as increased security within the community, street patrols, street sweeping and graffiti removal have had a big impact on the area making it more in demand from buyers and tenants.

Since the beginning on 2011, Gilfillan explains that they have sold four houses per month and in July the number went up to seven.
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Why a sole mandate can help you sell
Readers frequently write in to Property24 with queries about what exactly a sole or open mandate means, which is better and what happens after it has expired and their property is still not sold.

The idea of signing a sole mandate seems to fill many a property seller with a sense of dread but according Ronald Ennik, executive director of the Leapfrog Property Group, properties sold on sole mandates achieve the best prices.

“Sellers who put their homes on the market on a sole mandate basis will almost always achieve better prices than those who go the open mandate route of using multiple agents - particularly in the generally languid market conditions we have now,” says Ennik.

The reason for this, he adds, is that under a sole mandate, the agent is able to create a forum of competition among buyers and, therefore, ensure the client a sale at the best possible price.

Ennik points out that agents tend to operate from the same pool of buyers - therefore it follows that several agents working on the same sale does not mean that there are several more buyers in the loop.
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R1bn invested in affordable housing
A global private equity investor has notched up a landmark R1 billion committed in the South African affordable housing market. 

International Housing Solutions (IHS), which recorded its first investment on behalf of the R1.9 billion South African Workforce Housing Fund in 2008, has so far provided funding to 25 projects and about 25 000 units across all the major urban centres in South Africa. 

Soula Proxenos, Managing Partner at International Housing Solutions (IHS), says the company has commissioned a study into the social impact of the affordable housing sector, as it believes the sector is punching above its weight in terms of financial as well as social return on investment.    

“I believe that there is no industry that creates as many job opportunities as construction, and so there is a double impact with our investment - job creation as well as the creation of homes for families,” she says. 
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New property owners beware rates debts
It is important that new owners of property check the rates account is properly registered in their name to avoid billing problems at a later stage. 

Billing of new property owners for services supplied by the municipality will only take place once the Deeds Office has notified the municipality that the transfer of ownership has taken place, says Lanice Steward, MD of the Cape Town estate agency, Anne Porter Knight Frank. 

She says buyers and sellers are quite often are not aware of this and she has seen cases where the buyer had been in occupation for several months without asking why he was not receiving any rates bills.  

“In the meantime these bills were going to the seller, who now lived elsewhere and who either did not receive them or who thought that somehow the new owner would be paying anyway.” 

Sometimes, says Steward, neither party was aware of the non-payment until the services were finally cut off. 
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Careful how you treat erring tenants
The days of using any ways or means to remove erring tenants are over. Tenants have rights and, if landlords abuse them, they shouldn’t expect any sympathy from the courts. 

“The days of forcing tenants to move out using illegal tactics are over and anyone who is either renting out property or is considering renting out residential property needs to familiarise themselves with the Prevention of Illegal Evictions Act (PIE) Act”, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa

“Although the Act has been in place for a number of years, generally speaking the effects are being felt far more by landlords as more and more tenants become aware of their rights.” 

Although there are systems in place to protect the landlord, the tenant certainly has more rights than before and landlords cannot resort to changing the locks, cutting off water and electricity or forcibly removing a tenant that hasn’t paid rent without receiving authority from the courts to do so. 
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Checklist for homeowners insurance
When signing for a new bond on a property purchase buyers should take the trouble to ‘shop around’ for their homeowners’ insurance.  

This is the advice from Lanice Steward, MD of Anne Porter Knight Frank who adds that negligence or carelessness in these matters has cost certain homeowners dearly. 

She says that often the new homeowner is so delighted to have a bond that he or she simply accepts the insurer suggested by the bank (which, of course, then gets commission payments).  However, she says the good news is that this choice of insurer will usually be a highly reputable company – “as banks do not associate with dicey operations”.  

“The bad news is that in APKF’s experience these can be anything from 10% to 35% above the more competitive rates available if one really goes out and looks for them,” says Steward. 
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Census 2011 - Stand up and be counted
South Africa’s Census 2011 aimed at among other things ensuring equity in distribution of government services begins today and ends on 31 October.

A population census as defined by the United Nations is the total process of collecting, compiling, evaluating, analysing and publishing demographic, economic and social data pertaining at a specified time, to all persons in a country.

Census 2011 is South Africa’s third post-apartheid population and housing census and about 156 000 enumerators will go into field for 21 days collecting this information.

The last census was conducted in 2001 and the results revealed that there were 45 million people in the country. Results for Census 2011 will be available in March 2013.

Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) says census plays an essential role in public administration.

The results ensure equity in distribution of government services, distributing and allocating government funds among various regions and districts for education and health services, delineating electoral districts and national and local levels and measuring the impact of industrial development.
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