Zuma resignation will have a definite positive effect on the property market

Feb 16, 2018 5:50:22 PM Share this:

Former President Jacob Zuma's resignation yesterday evening propelled investor confidence back into positive territory. The Rand has already gained a lot of ground in the past few weeks and as it continues to strengthen it might relieve some of the price pressure the South African consumer has been experiencing.

There is no doubt that the political climate in South Africa and Government related activities have influenced our economy. Local investors as well as foreign investors, both buyers and sellers, have been gun shy in certain markets and at times apprehensive to invest, especially in the residential rental market.

Traditionally property defies a lot of the immediate reactions due to its long term nature, however the commercial and rental markets might react more sharply to these changes. There is also a good chance we'll see increased activity in flat markets and a renewed interest from buyers and sellers alike. When a stable and growing economy has the ability to set a tone that puts the activity in the market at ease opportunities are created from areas of the economy previously dampened by rhetoric and legislation amendments that threatened property ownership .

These shifts in Government have been received positively to a large extent by international markets, as we saw Emerging Market experts from Wall Street in the U.S. predict positive changes for South Africa. This will do wonders for our foreign investment market as perceptions and media opinions certainly influence the external view of local trading.

It is important to note though that there are still many political and fiscal challenges and by no means are we immediately saved by the former President's resignation. However, it is the optimism of a renewed commitment to growth and stability that South Africans so desperately need.

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Topics: Richard Gray, Harcourts South Africa, Property Markets, Jacob Zuma, Zuma Resignation

Economic stability facilitates growth

Feb 12, 2018 9:10:03 PM Share this:

The political climate in South Africa has been under the microscope in recent times as Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa took over the reigns as leader of the ruling party. The Rand immediately gained traction in the days following his appointment and has remained positive since.

There appears to be a shift in political messaging with the intention hopefully being to restore confidence in our markets for foreign and local investors.

It is essential that Government avoid volatile political decisions that affect our economy and influence public economic perception. Despite Harcourts recording an incredibly successful 2017, many sectors of the property  market experienced stagnation and a decline in activity

There are many factors that influence buyers and sellers willingness to engage in real estate transactions, however, to a large extent buyers and sellers gauge potential success on general reports and opinions of the market, especially in an emerging market.

Real estate is an investment, and for most it will be the single largest investment of our lives, so it is understandable that we consider all the external elements before committing. This ideology spills over into other forms of investment too, especially commercial real estate, which assists greatly in business growth and entrepreneurship. When the private sector remains a little apprehensive to invest in real estate - business growth and employment are directly affected.

It is with this in mind that Government needs to aim for stability over the short term. Ensuring our markets remain steady enough to avoid fluctuations that either put our consumers under pressure with rising costs or deter extensive capital investment.

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Topics: Harcourts South Africa, Economy

Insurance Worth the Cost with the right Company

Jan 1, 2018 8:00:00 AM Share this:

A home represents year of work to build up precious possessions and investment in the future. It makes sense to take some precautions in the event of losing such valuable assets. Home and contents insurance can buy peace of mind. Fire, earthquake and flood are the big events which can take everything from us, but there are smaller events which insurance can also cover – burglary, broken windows, accidental kitchen, bathroom and laundry overflows. Some insurance policies also cover your outdoor furniture, the loss of valuable jewellery while out, or golf clubs taken from a car. There is plenty of choice amongst insurance companies and affordable insurance options to suit any requirement.

When deciding what insurance company to buy from, it pays to first look at its credit rating. Ask the representative what their company’s rating is and compare it with other companies. This is an important factor to consider because the rating will tell you whether the company is likely to be able to pay out readily if you have a claim.

The second step is to look at the representation the company has. Does the company have representatives in your residential area, or close to it, so that you can have easy access if you want to make a claim? Is it possible to make a claim with the company over the phone or internet?

Price is a major factor when buying any product and insurance is no different. The saying ‘you get what you pay for’ applies. Check the policies you are offered given the coverage you require. Sometimes, a cheap product offers less coverage, or the price could reflect a lack of access to representation or the company’s credit rating. When selecting cover, ensure you fully understand all the policy’s exclusions.

Affordability is also important. Often, insurance companies will offer flexible payment options such as monthly or quarterly payments. Another way to reduce premiums is to ask if the company gives a ‘multiple’ discount if you put all your insurance, including motor vehicle and/or business insurance, with the one company.

At this time of the year, it is likely that you have acquired new possessions, such as jewellery and other Christmas presents. Make sure you have updated your existing policy to include these new items. Often these items will only be covered up to a certain amount unless they are individually recorded. Make it a habit to get regular valuations with a photo attached to file away with your policy.

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Topics: Harcourts South Africa, Add Value To Your Property, Insurance

Finding that country getaway home

Dec 25, 2017 8:00:00 AM Share this:

The hustle and bustle of the city and the energy of life a stone's throw from corporate magma is a drawing factor for many South Africans. We're aware of the urbanisation into major metros and the desire to achieve professional success as well the effects thereof on the micro economy of smaller towns.

However, for some, escaping that gripping hold of the city is essential and people who regularly trek to the country often explain how returning to simplicity a few times a year can be the recharge they were yearning for.

The primary option is usually to rent a home in the area for the holiday period or check into your guesthouse of choice, but calculating the benefit of owning property in these regions you'll discover can often be of greater value to the regular traveler.

Many estate agents have an extensive national footprint, Harcourts has over 150 offices nationwide with some being in smaller towns across all provinces, which will greatly assist in locating a property of your choice. Agents have databases and software that can match exactly what you're looking for against their stock.

When purchasing a second home or investment property, it is crucial to familiarise yourself with the local property landscape. Spend some time researching the value of homes in the area so you have a good idea what you can afford before starting the process. You don't want to overextend your budget on a home that is designed to relieve stress not create it. However, in many cases in the smaller towns you are able to get a lot more bang for your back.

Also, take into consideration what your usual holiday activities consist of and select a property that fits that schedule. If you're only looking for a place to rest your heads at night and typically explore the region during the day a home with all the extra bells and whistles that are aimed at extreme comfort might be a waste of money.

Buying a holiday home can be a very exciting process that yields incredible memories for your family. If you select a professional estate agent with a highly recommended local network then this investment could be a wonderful addition to the family.

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Topics: Harcourts South Africa, dream home, country getaway, Finding your dream home

Holiday rentals scams beware

Dec 18, 2017 8:00:00 AM Share this:

Now is the time when holidaymakers start scouring the internet for properties to rent during the festive season. Last minute planning often fueled by desperation and online scammers exploit this need.

As the internet is usually the go-to platform for holiday rentals, anonymous communication is often a prerequisite, which can make any of us feel uneasy. It is important to understand that you need to be alert and rely on your instincts when parting with personal information and money. Some horror stories have emerged in recent times - most often related to people paying deposits blindly.

Here are a few tips:

Logic goes a long way. When something is too good to be true, it usually is. Be skeptical of advertisements where the rental quoted is a lot lower than the average for the area in which you are interested. Do a quick market analysis of similar homes to gauge the regional standard.

When communication is vague and your direct responses are going unanswered and are being replied with rhetoric, be weary. An extension of this scam is the "homeowner" that has a million excuses why they can't have someone meet them face to face, especially because they know you're usually still out of town. Their excuses range from always running late, or on business trips or in meetings. The next step is often a request to pay a deposit, albeit at times a smaller one, in good faith to "secure" the property. Do not pay until you're absolutely sure.

A picture speaks a thousand words. If the photos you're being sent vary dramatically in size and quality warning bells should go off. Many potential scammers download stock photos off the internet and use these as bait to attract potential holidaymakers. Request images from different angles and request new photos, with modern technology this is usually rather easy to achieve.

Digital history. Do a quick search online on the rental property's previous adverts. You can either search the contact numbers or address of the property to find out if this home is rented out on an annual basis. Obviously not a sole reflection on the validity of the home but just another factor to consider.

The majority of holiday rentals advertised contain accurate information from a trustworthy source and there is a good chance you'll have a very pleasant experience. This article is in no way aimed at dissuading you from contacting homeowners direct but for both the homeowner and the holidaymaker it is always the best option to make use of a highly reputable estate agency. This way both parties are secure and the transaction is managed professionally.

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Topics: Harcourts South Africa, Rental Property, holiday rentals

Harcourts celebrates best month ever in midst of economic and political uncertainty

Dec 13, 2017 8:27:54 PM Share this:

The year 2017 is going to be remembered for many years to come, not only from a political perspective, like the fall of Robert Mugabe, but a year of economic turmoil in South Africa that undoubtedly affected an array of different markets. We saw some areas of the property market skyrocket and increase in unprecedented ways and other areas that completely stagnated causing much concern.

South Africans have a desire for information and generally speaking are informed consumers. With the ANC National Conference happening in a few days many of us are keeping a close eye on the outcome, predicting the existential effects of the conclusion - hoping there might be some relief for cash strapped consumers.

However, despite all the uncertainties and pundits preaching doom over the market, Harcourts South Africa celebrated its best month ever in November 2017. This success seems to defy the general trend and we're very proud that more and more both local and international buyers and sellers are gravitating toward the Harcourts brand.

We've always believed that building relationships both internally and externally will solidify our market presence and prioritise incredible service.

This success goes to show that there is still a lot of activity in the property market but that people have chosen to use respected brands with high referral rates that invest in technology and training that assist the client.

The property market is in a continuous cycle of development and evolution, Harcourts has invested  lot of resources and time understanding these changes and developing strategies to ensure growth. Our products and services are aimed at assisting clients in achieving the best results possible.

I have always maintained that property is a long term investment and that the buyer and seller should look at the short term fluctuations with a critical eye. Property defies common economic trends and is able to stand strong against even the most turbulent winds.

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Richard Gray
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Topics: Agent Life, Harcourts South Africa, Achievements, Real Estate Agents

Festive season holiday rentals

Dec 11, 2017 8:00:00 AM Share this:

The festive season is fast approaching and economic activity and consumer spending typically spikes during this time. Many take leave during December, especially due to the relative warm holiday weather across the country.

Besides local travelers flocking to their favourite destinations, South Africa is a premier holiday spot for international holidaymakers too. Due to the high demand popular lodges, hotels, guesthouses etc. are usually fully booked months in advance. This is where renting out your property over this period to tourists can be a great source of secondary investment income as well as a way to ensure your home does not stand empty while you're away.

If you're thinking of letting out your home during this season here are few things to consider:

Firstly, it is imperative you get in touch with a rental specialist agent in your area that understands the market well. Not only will this agent be able to provide you with an accurate valuation of potential rental income but also be able to manage your tenant requirements. This process can often be a dissuading factor for home owners not wanting to deal with the hassle of vetting potential tenants as well as getting all the legalities in order. A rental agent will have all the necessary experience and training to assist greatly when exploring this option.

Secondly, the sooner the better. People tend to make holiday arrangements long in advance, and it is always better to step into the market whilst your potential tenants are deciding on accommodation. You don't want to go through all the processes of letting out your home only to find it was too late and with your potential target market being dramatically reduced.

Lastly, letting strangers into your house remains a risk. Take all the necessary safety precautions to ensure your investment is protected. If you have a safe on the property make sure accessibility is strictly reduced, also if you have any items of a high value rather lock them away in the safe or acquire a safety box off site for the duration of the tenancy.

There are a lot more aspects to consider, that is why step one is so important. Partner with professionals and you'll be surprised at the ROI potential.

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Topics: Harcourts South Africa, Holiday Home, holiday rentals

Tips for renting out your home this festive season

Nov 23, 2017 6:20:56 PM Share this:

The festive season is fast approaching and economic activity and consumer spending typically spikes during this time. Many take leave during December, especially due to the relative warm holiday weather across the country.

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Topics: Renting, Property Tips, Harcourts South Africa, Festive Season Tips, Real Estate Agents, holiday rentals

Where have local rental prices increased most?

Nov 13, 2017 8:00:00 AM Share this:

The latest PayProp rental index for the third quarter of 2017 released recently indicates where rental prices have increased and decreased across the South African property landscape.

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Topics: Renting, Agent Life, Harcourts South Africa, Rental Price, Rental Market, Real Estate Agents

Real-estate agency Harcourts launched its own App store

Nov 6, 2017 10:14:55 PM Share this:

CAPE TOWN - Harcourts International, recognised in the real estate industry for game-changing mobile technology, has launched the Harcourts App Store.

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Topics: Agent Life, Harcourts South Africa, Achievements, Harcourts app store