Organizing Your Garage Like a Pro

Nov 12, 2018 8:00:00 AM Share this:

A messy garage is overwhelming, to say the least. After years of accumulating “stuff” a good purge is necessary, especially if you plan to move.


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Topics: DIY, Advice, Home Ownership, Home Tips

The appeal of "Off-The-Grid" living

Nov 7, 2018 6:24:11 PM Share this:

There appears to be a renewed global interest in off-the-grid lifestyle living. And with electricity and water prices continuing to escalate one doesn't have to wonder why the appeal of this life-choice is increasing. 


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Topics: Going Green, Solar Power, Harcourts Real Estate, Richard Gray

How schools impact property

Nov 5, 2018 11:46:24 PM Share this:

“According to the London School of Economics (LSE), a 2006 UK study showed that people were prepared to pay substantially more for properties close to good state schools,” says Gareth Bailey, Pam Golding Properties area principal for Durban Coastal. “According to LSE’s Professor Steve Gibbons, “a primary school one standard deviation above the average in terms of pupil performance…attracts a house price premium of around 3%. This means that a school at the top of the league tables attracts a premium of around 12% relative to one at the bottom. At the time of this 2006 study, this was equivalent to £21 000.

“A similar picture emerges for Paris, where in 2004, the best schools attracted a premium of up to €17 500.” And the USA: “In 2010, the Wall Street Journal reported on the correlation between school performance and home values. When the state of Florida rolled out its new school grading system, home values were directly impacted. Home values in neighbourhoods with A-rated schools increased by as much as $10 000 over similar homes in neighbourhoods with B-rated schools. Over a few years, that gap has widened and home values could now vary by anywhere from $50 000 to $300 000 a home, based on the current rating of the school in that neighbourhood.

The South African scenario
It’s not just about fuel costs. As Harcourts South Africa CEO Richard Gray says, “It’s convenience. Travel time to and from work and schools can take up a significant amount of time. Families living in close proximity to a school, can drastically reduce that, while weekend sports events and other school functions which parents attend, are made simpler.”

He added, “We’ve noticed a definite increase in demand when nationally branded schools that have a good reputation for sport, arts or academics, open a new school in the area. However, more commonly, schools with a rich history and reputation of successful sporting teams, highly rated academics or prestigious arts programmes continue to attract families to those areas.”

Catchment areas
Just Property’s Pietermaritzburg principal, Shaun Du Bois, explained: “Parents look for affordable, quality schools – particularly former Model C – and try to move within their chosen school’s catchment area, often a few years before their children are due to start there, so they can ‘document’ their address. School selection policy starts with ‘learners whose parents live in the feeder zone, in their own domicile or their employer’s domicile.’ We have recently seen an increase in parents moving up the hill to Hilton from Pietermaritzburg to be closer to Laddsworth, an exceptional Primary School.”

Rentals
Just Property’s Graham Ross, General Manager and owner of 5 branches, Western Cape, says “A children’s school is one of a parent’s biggest decisions. As with property sales, the trend spills into the rental market, thereby creating a massive demand for rental property close to good schools and universities. Even though we’ve seen a down turn in rental values of late, these properties tend to retain their rental value due to the demand. Some tenants are also willing to sign longer term contracts and accept the escalation that comes with that year on year.”

Moving closer to schools
“Our experience is that parents are usually prepared to trade better and more modern homes in the Pretoria East estates for easy access to Lynnwood’s good schools,” says Retha Schutte, Pam Golding Properties regional executive in Pretoria. “They’re definitely one of the most influential factors of property prices there, which also reflects in the low supply and high demand of suitable properties.”

She adds, “The school activities in the area also impact indirectly on the community in general, for example, school sports days, with a high influx of visitors supporting local businesses.”
Kyle Ebben, Pam Golding Properties Fourways and Dainfern branch manager, says Lonehill is one area close to top class nursery and private schools, and as a result, there’s huge demand: “Its neighbouring suburbs, too, also benefit as the proximity to the schools means parents can walk instead of drive their children to school.”


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Topics: Harcourts Real Estate, Advice, PropertyFocus

What should you look for in a sales consultant?

Nov 5, 2018 8:00:00 AM Share this:

Selling a property is one of the most significant financial moves you will ever make, and it is vital you get the best possible price, whether it’s your home, a rental property or even a business or commercial property.


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Topics: Real Estate Agents, Buyers and Sellers, Choose Harcourts

Tips on how to Design a Clean Easy Home

Oct 25, 2018 5:59:39 PM Share this:

In my never-ending quest to find more time to relax, put my feet up and enjoy a glass of wine and a good book, I’m writing today about designing your home in a way that helps to minimize your cleaning time.


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Topics: Home Tips, DIY, Advice, Home Decor & Furnishing

Why should I appoint a Property Manager?

Oct 22, 2018 8:00:00 AM Share this:

It’s important to ask yourself “Do I have a thorough understanding of the Residential Tenancies Act and other associated statutes?” This is a highly specialized aspect of Real Estate and it is fraught with the danger of litigation in almost every task you undertake.

Industry understanding

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A competent Property Manager not only possesses a strong understanding of their role, they continually increase their knowledge of insurance requirements, changes to legislation and industry and market trends to ensure all clients achieve the highest level of service at all times.  Agents are often engaged to pick up the pieces of poorly self managed properties after it has cost the owner countless hours in trying to resolve conflicts with their tenant, not to mention the monetary cost. It’s important to ask yourself “Do I have a thorough understanding of the Residential Tenancies Act and other associated statutes?” This is a highly specialised aspect of real estate and it is fraught with the danger of litigation in almost every task you undertake.  A competent property manager not only possesses a strong understanding of their role, they continually increase their knowledge of insurance requirements, changes to legislation and industry and market trends to ensure all clients achieve the highest level of service at all times.  Agents are often engaged to pick up the pieces of poorly self-managed properties after it has cost the owner countless hours in trying to resolve conflicts with their tenant, not to mention the monetary cost.

Considering managing yourself?

If you are at all considering managing your own investment property then it’s wise to consider the following points:

Do you possess a thorough understanding and knowledge of the Residential Tenancies Act in order to maintain a fair and professional relationship with your tenant? The tenant may be entitled to compensation if you inadvertently breach their rights.

Do you understand a Landlords' obligation under other acts affecting a tenancy? Discrimination, consumer protection, building and other statutes all impact a tenancy.

Are you confident that you know enough about the tenant selection process to ensure that you ask the right questions and receive the right answers before you place a tenant in your valuable asset – this can save untold heartache and frustration for you.

As a private landlord, you may not have the appropriate access to credit control databases and run the risk of putting a tenant into a property without knowing their full credit history.  Often we find that tenants without a good credit history apply for properties that are privately managed as they know they can hide their past problems.

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Topics: Harcourts South Africa, Real Estate Agents, Property Manager

Affordable property markets remain stable

Oct 16, 2018 11:18:56 PM Share this:

South Africans are certainly facing tough economic times and with petrol set to skyrocket by R1.01 a litre and diesel by R1.24 in October, no relief for the short term seems to be on the horizon. Real estate has felt the knock-on effects of many of these economic cycles and certain markets have been adversely affected, however one part of the sector seems to have shown far more stability, and that is affordable property.


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Topics: Harcourts Real Estate, Richard Gray, South African Markets, Property Markets

The five essential marketing tools for your property

Oct 15, 2018 8:00:00 AM Share this:

The decision to sell is made, but how do you ensure potential buyers know your house could be their dream home? Here are five top marketing tools to help you get the best possible result for your sale.

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Topics: Digital Marketing Campaign, Marketing, selling property

Agency commission debate a product of the economy

Oct 12, 2018 10:24:16 PM Share this:

In recent years the commission of estate agents has been a point of contention, especially within industry circles. In the past few months it has certainly risen to the fore again as a product of economic circumstances which has influenced the demand and value of property in certain key markets, like the major metros and surrounding areas. 


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Topics: Buyers market, Real Estate Agents, estate agent comission, Harcourts South Africa, Harcourts Academy

5 common mistakes made by first time property investors

Oct 8, 2018 8:00:00 AM Share this:

Buying your first investment property requires research and planning. Too often the choice is made for the wrong reasons, which can be difficult to reverse, if at all.


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Topics: Property Management Focus, Property Investment, first home buyer