Response to mid-term budget: "It is time for action"

Jan 14, 2019 8:00:00 AM Share this:

During yesterday's mid-term budget speech by newly appointed Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni, key factors putting a lot of strain on our economy were addressed in a more aggressive stance. However, the time for talk is over, and we need to see the results of policies and implementation plans otherwise economic stagnation will continue to remain a major concern. 

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Topics: Harcourts Real Estate, Richard Gray, Finance, Financial Advice

Colour Psychology: How to Make Your Home Feel Good

Jan 7, 2019 8:00:00 AM Share this:

Ready to paint? A little colour psychology may be just what you need to create soothing and productive moods. The colours of the rooms in your home are a direct reflection of your personality. While most of us may not spend a lot of time thinking about that, it affects us every day. Colour can influence our moods and our thoughts.

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Topics: DIY, Home Tips, Harcourts Real Estate, Advice

Settling into your new neighbourhood

Dec 31, 2018 8:00:00 AM Share this:

Buying a new home often means moving to a new suburb, city or even country. It may be a new location you chose simply because you loved it, or it maybe it’s where you need to be for work or family. Whatever the reason for your change in location, it can be a little daunting finding ways to get to know the neighbourhood and have it start feeling like home.

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Topics: Harcourts Real Estate, buying property, Tips for buying, Real Estate Agents

Bring your bathroom up to date

Dec 24, 2018 8:00:00 AM Share this:

Bathrooms are one of the rooms in your home that can add value for buyers. The team at Resene have some great ideas for bring out the best in your bathroom.

17 HB0317 bathroom ensuite White Pointer.jpg

While it’s often one of the smallest rooms in your home, that doesn’t mean bathrooms need to be bland and boring.  Use the right colours together, add the right materials and that poky little bathroom space can easily become an oasis of calm.

Look to nature
Nature has always had a strong influence on choices and never more so than now.  Natural, botanical schemes are trending throughout the home right now, including bathrooms.

“Think crisp whites, creams, forest greens and natural, organic materials,” says Resene colour consultant Rebecca Long. “Earthy greens such as Resene Paddock and Resene Rivergum would look very sophisticated in an earthy bathroom. For a daring look, try a navy such as Resene Coast.”

Open up the space with glass
Back-painted glass splashbacks have become an extremely popular kitchen feature in recent years, and now they’re starting to make an appearance in bathrooms as well, particularly in soft blues and greens.  Try restful pastels such as Resene Half Escape or Resene Breathless teamed with crisp white trims for an instantly soothing palette. This pairs well with the chalky pale mineral blue and green tiles that are a popular pick for their soothing properties.

Embrace technology
Traditionally technology isn’t something that has been associated with bathrooms, but built-in televisions and speakers are the perfect accompaniment for long luxurious soaks in the bath.  New, mirrored flat TV technology can be installed anywhere – on the wall, on the ceiling, behind artwork, or embedded in a bathroom mirror. You need a waterproof version, of course, where the electronic compartments are completely sealed off from any moisture.


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Keep it simple
The move towards minimalism and simplicity is becoming more popular and brings with it sophisticated concrete finishes. Walk-in showers are popular.

Banish the clutter by allowing for plenty of storage.  Clean vanity tops and surfaces will make your bathroom seem more spacious.

Add colour
“Paint is such an affordable way to update your space,” says Rebecca Lord, Resene Colour Expert.  You only need a few litres to completely transform the space.

Watery blues and greens are always popular choices for a bathroom as they feel clean and fresh and help to make a small space feel larger.  Recent trends have seen more soft greys and blue greys, such as Resene Silver Chalice and Resene Duck Egg Blue, coming into the bathroom space also teamed with off white.

If you’re stuck with existing tiles that limit your options for decorating but you can’t afford to replace them, consider painting over them.  Many tiles have a glossy surface so use Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer first to give the topcoats something to grip on to.

“While a well-ventilated bathroom has a lower risk of damage, it's still important to use the correct paint,” says Rebecca. “I recommend Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen Kitchen & Bathroom, which is a waterborne enamel for a hard wearing and washable finish. Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen Kitchen & Bathroom also has a mould inhibitor, which reduces the risk of mould growth.


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Topics: DIY, Home Decor & Furnishing

Positioning Your Property in the Market

Dec 17, 2018 8:00:00 AM Share this:

When your property first enters the market as a new listing, this is the time it will receive the most interest and enquiry. We call this your premium price opportunity. At Harcourts we believe it is all in the preparation. We can advise you on possible improvements that could increase the value of your property and will have completed through research to help you establish an expectation of price. We will make sure we have prepared every detail of our marketing strategy ready to launch your property to the market at its best during this critical time.

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Topics: Property Markets, Buyers and Sellers, Harcourts Real Estate, Real Estate Agents

Harcourts Foundation has donated half a million Rand to South African charities this year

Dec 13, 2018 7:25:35 PM Share this:

The Harcourts Foundation, Harcourts Real Estate's charitable arm, has donated half a million rand to South African charities this year. We're really humbled by the stories of those who benefited from our fundraising. And are so proud we were able to assist.  

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Topics: South African Charities, Harcourts South Africa, Harcourts Foundation, Love Story, Leva Foundation, Down Syndrome Association, Nga Tshilidzi Old age home, Jumping Kids Prosthetic, CANSA Fundraiser, Huis Immergroen, The Tygerberg Hospice Trust

Marketing Tips to Fast-track Your Sale

Dec 10, 2018 8:00:00 AM Share this:

When selling a property, one of the most important steps is generating interest, and the best way to do this is through a focused marketing campaign. A strong marketing campaign will help you sell your property in the shortest amount of time, for the best price, with the least amount of aggravation. Here are our tips to help get you started.

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Topics: Marketing Tips, selling property, Advice

Sellers, guard against the dreaded ‘double commission’

Dec 3, 2018 10:00:00 AM Share this:

Home sellers need to take special care now not to expose themselves to the possibility of having to pay a ‘double commission’ when their properties are sold.

If you choose an open mandate, you must insist upfront on a clause in the mandate that specifically provides for commission to be shared in any instance where more than one claim arises.

This warning comes from Gerhard Kotzé, MD of the RealNet estate agency group, who says double commission claims most usually arise when sellers award open mandates, or just allow multiple agents to market their property without a formal mandate, in a misguided effort to broaden its exposure to prospective buyers.

“In such cases, it is easy for a buyer to be introduced to the property by one agent, but to actually conclude a purchase through another - and for confusion and disagreements to arise about which agent was actually the ‘effective cause’ of the sale and entitled to claim the sales commission,” says Kotzé.

“Legal action may eventually be the only way to resolve these disputes, and a recent judgment by the Supreme Court (Wakefields Real Estate v Attree (666/10) [2011] ZASCA 160) underlines the fact that the decision will not automatically go in favour of the agent who finalises the sale. The agent who first showed the buyer a property has in many cases been held to be the effective cause of that sale and entitled to claim commission - even when the home seller had already paid commission to the second agent.”

Over the years, he says, the courts have made it clear that each case has to be considered on its own merits, but have also stuck to the principle that agents should not be able to “reap where they have not sown” - and this has in most instances resulted in the property sellers having to pay a second commission without much recourse except further legal action to try to reclaim the first commission.

“Consequently, it is important for sellers to know how to protect themselves from this possibility - especially in the current slow market, when they may be more desperate to get their property sold and more tempted to have several agents working on it at the same time.”

Kotzé says the most obvious - and safest - way to do this is simply to award a sole mandate to a reputable agency that has the backing of a large national group. “This step not only protects sellers against double commission claims, but also assures them of wide exposure through the group’s referral networks.

“It also stands to reason that agents will work harder to sell those properties on which they hold sole mandates than on those where it is quite possible that another agent could conclude a sale and reap all the reward.”

Kotzé says sellers can also try to obtain indemnity against a double commission claim when there is more than one agent involved in a sale, but that this will only be valid if the agent who was in fact the ‘effective cause’ of the sale grants it - before the sale agreement is signed by themselves and the buyer.

“So in cases where the sellers do decide on an open mandate, they really must insist upfront on a clause in the mandate that specifically provides for commission to be shared in any instance where more than one claim arises. And if they aren’t sure whether they are properly covered, they should ask their own attorney to look the mandate agreement over before they sign it.”

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Topics: Harcourts Real Estate, estate agent commission, Harcourts South Africa, Real Estate Agents, Buyers and Sellers

Advice for Young Property Investors

Dec 3, 2018 8:00:00 AM Share this:

Getting a foot onto the property ladder is certainly no easy feat, and it’s easy to see why many young people simply give up their dreams of home ownership. But the fact is, the rewards of property investment ultimately outweigh the effort. To help you get started in your property investment journey, here is our advice for young property investors.

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Topics: Financial Advice, Investing in Property, Property Markets, Advice

Buying a home? Home loan interest rates 101

Nov 26, 2018 10:00:00 AM Share this:

Buying a house is one of the biggest decisions in life and, albeit an exciting one, it is not to be taken lightly, especially when it concerns home loans, lending rates and repayments.

Buying a house is one of the biggest decisions in life and, albeit an exciting one, it is not to be taken lightly, especially when it concerns home loans, lending rates and repayments.

Gerrit Disbergen, Director of Engel & Völkers Financial Services, gives the lowdown of everything you need to know about interest rates:

Personal interest rate
A personal interest rate is as unique as a home and the individual who buys it. It is determined using a number of criteria and is based on the client’s risk profile. Interest rate is one of the key costs to consider when comparing home loans.

Prime lending rate, prime minus and prime plus
The prime lending rate is currently 10%, and is effectively the starting point that banks use to calculate interest rates for clients. It covers the bank’s basic profit margin, which is then set higher or lower based on the applicant’s risk profile. A riskier individual would get an above-prime loan, which would be at prime plus, for example, prime plus 1% making it a lending rate of 11%. A low-risk client could get prime or lower, for example prime minus 1%, which means a lending rate of 9%.

What determines interest rates?
The prime lending rate is a marked-up version of the repo rate. The repo rate is the interest rate commercial banks pay to borrow money from the Reserve Bank. At the moment it is sitting at 6.5%. By raising or lowering the repo rate, the Reserve Bank makes it more or less expensive for commercial banks to borrow money. This in turn affects how affordably they can lend money to consumers and this determines the prime lending rate.

The repo rate changes according to economic climate. Higher interest rates make borrowing money more expensive, thus deterring people from making big investments, so there is less money circulating in the economy, which slows down inflation. To kick-start a sluggish economy, interest rates are lowered to encourage investment.

'Interest rate is one of the key costs to consider when comparing home loans'

If the repo rate goes up, prime goes up, and the amount you pay on your bond increases. If the repo rate goes down, prime goes down, and those savings are passed on to you. For example, if your bond is prime plus 1% and the lending rate climbs from 10% to 10.65% then your monthly instalments on your bond increase, and vice versa if prime decreases.

A lower interest rate means more affordable monthly repayments as well as substantial savings on the total cost of your home over the lifetime of the bond. If there is a hike in interest rate, however, it could significantly affect your cash flow as your bond repayments would increase.

Calculate what you'll pay depending on the
interest rate you get

Fixed interest rates
Banks also provide the option of a fixed interest rate home loan structure, usually for a specific length of time of up to five years. This means that the interest rate doesn’t fluctuate during the fixed-rate period, allowing you to accurately predict and plan for future payments as you will know exactly what your repayments are.

Disbergen says that usually, consumers fix their interest rate if they believe that the interest rate cycle is on an upward trajectory. This said, the decision to fix a home loan interest rate depends on individual circumstances and should be a carefully considered option. It is ideal for consumers who own multiple properties as the stable rates would buttress against future rate hikes. The disadvantage of this option is that it could result in the homeowner missing out on savings should the Reserve Bank decide to switch to an interest rate reduction cycle.

“At the end of the day, the interest rate must work in your favour and fit in with your financial profile. Do your research and speak to a financial consultant and bond originator before deciding on a home loan option,” says Disbergen.

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Topics: Harcourts Real Estate, Harcourts South Africa, Interest Rates, Home Loan Advice, First time homeowner