I got a home loan, but it’s too expensive - can I cancel my OTP?

Apr 29, 2019 9:17:20 PM Share this:

In most cases when a person buys a property, he or she will have to apply for a home loan, and this would be written into the offer to purchase (OTP) as a suspensive condition, giving a certain timeframe for the bond to be obtained by the bank and accepted by the buyer.


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Topics: Agent Life, Home Loan Advice, Harcourts Real Estate

Enjoy the darker side of your rooms

Feb 26, 2018 8:00:00 AM Share this:

It's all too easy to associate dark colours with negative connotations and a general sense of doom, but don't be too hasty!

Shades like black, navy and deep grey are also reminiscient of night skies and crisp winter nights.

Bedrooms are an ideal space for dark walls. Most of the time spent in the bedroom is at night – making it the perfect place to go dark and dramatic. Dark greys and inky blues are especially popular at present.  Think colours like Resene Foundry, Resene Fuscous Grey and Resene Dark Side. To get a velvety rich effect, use Resene SpaceCote Flat instead of low sheen. It absorbs the light more, making the room look richer. 

Using darker shades brings texture and mood, especially to a featureless space. Dark walls with a different shade on the floor or trims, for example, will create lines of difference and interest in the room that wasn't there before. It can also help a cavernous room feel cosier.

Take a test
Before committing to an aesthetic overhaul, test the colours out on a large sheet of cardboard, leaving an unpainted border around the outside. You want to use a piece of card large enough to see how the colour will go with your existing furniture and home's design features.

Once you've compared shades, you'll be able to settle on the exact dark hue you're happy with. Remember, there are plenty of shades to play with - deep shades can have blue, green and brown tones, which can all affect how they look on your wall. Be sure to consider the placement of windows - the shade will look a lot different in a space that receives lots of sunlight, compared to one that doesn't.

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Mix it up
Don't be afraid to mix things up between rooms - just be sure that whatever colour you pick within a single room is consistent. If you want to use a dark hue in a shared space, but you've got an expansive open-plan kitchen, dining and living area, pick a single dark shade for a feature wall and paint the remaining walls in a complementary neutral with cool or warm tones depending on whether your feature colour has cool or warm tones.

Create drama
Dark colours are excellent because you can create contrast. Why not make a splash with Resene Tuna? This measured grey looks striking when paired with crisp, white accents and a touch of bright colour - think bright yellow or red cushions or artwork.

Focus closely on key features, such as the ceiling and flooring. Cool grey pairs well with off-white, while a dark yet warm brown looks stunning with thick-pile cream carpet.

You can create a dramatic living space or bedroom by ensuring you offset dark shades with light touches. Follow this tip and you're on the road home!

bathroom,grey white,Resene Half Fuscous Grey+Double Black White,photo Bryce Carleton.jpg

Focus on features
Be sure to play up your home’s best design features. Window frames, crown moulding, built-in storage and archways are examples of features that can be played up with the right paint selection.

You can make these features stand out with dark paint - just ensure that the surrounding area embraces a light shade in order to achieve a wonderful contrast.

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Remember the contrasts
Whether you go charcoal, dark green, or deep oxen red, having a contrast on the floors, trims and ceiling helps to delineate the area, preventing it from becoming claustrophobic – instead, it helps to enlarge the space visually. 

As a whole-room solution, team dark neutrals with cream or crisp white trims. This works especially well with older homes where the skirtings, architraves and cornices are likely to be more ornate and will be beautifully highlighted by the contrast with smoky dark walls.

Think beyond your walls, to floors, ceilings and furniture. These can easily be painted a dark colour too.  If you’re living in a villa with a high stud, a dark ceiling can help make the ceiling feel lower and the room feel cosier.

If you’re changing from a light colour scheme to a dark one, make sure you review your lighting at the same time.  You may find you need a little extra lighting or a stronger light bulb to balance the darker walls.

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Topics: Agent Life, Property Tips, DIY, Home Renovations, family home

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.

Statement by
Richard Gray 
Harcourts Africa Chief Executive Officer


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

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.

We've seen how the state of the economy has influenced consumer confidence and put many of us into price pinch between rising food costs, fuel costs and less disposable income.

The index states that there was a significant drop in rental growth and an increase in inflation in September, the last month of the quarter. As a result, a closing of the gap is evident as rental growth returns to levels closer to inflation growth (last seen in November 2016).

More data released by the index shows that if you compare the year-on-year (YoY) growth rates of Q3 and Q2, you observe that rents are currently growing at a lower pace, and if you consider growth across the provinces, you can see why. Five out of the nine provinces saw a reduction in the rental growth rate while the four provinces showing (modest) increases contribute less than a third to the total weighting of the overall growth. As a result, the weighted average YoY growth rate decreased from 6.9% to 5.9% between Q2 and Q3.

Our experiences are similar to what the index identifies and despite it being a tough year, rental incomes are starting to make the climb back to the top.  There are areas like the Western Cape and Gauteng, even certain markets in regions that appear to be on the decline have somewhat weathered this storm. Taking the Northern Cape for example, as the index shows, clocked YoY growth of 9.3% in Q3, up from a below-average 3.8% a mere six months before.

There are market factors that paint a bleak picture and affordability among consumers has become the result of macroeconomic instability, but the positive in the market, aspects like the rent-to-income ratio on an upward trend, property remains a solid long term investment.

Statement by
Richard Gray
Harcourts Africa Chief Executive Officer
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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.

 Built with Apple’s iOS (operating system), the store is an enterprise application through which Harcourt's team members can access, download, update and install its proprietary mobile applications eOne, eOpen and eCampaign. 

“We are one of the first real estate companies, globally, to take advantage of and build our own member-facing app store on Apple’s Developer Enterprise Program,” said Anton Jansen van Vuuren, Harcourts South Africa National Operations Manager.

“While most people are familiar with the Apple App Store, resident on all iPhones and iPads, the Harcourts App Store is a business to business solution to allow Harcourts team members to access our proprietary mobile applications eOne, eOpen and eCampaign, which were custom built and developed in-house.

They are the backbone of what makes Harcourts unique in the marketplace, and they’re utilised across Harcourts'  150-plus office network in South Africa,” explained Richard Gray, Harcourts South Africa CEO.

The company’s three mobile apps utilise Apple iOS built-in technologies, seamless security, and integration with Harcourts enterprise systems.

 This month the Harcourts apps will benefit from a new release that offers enhancements specific to management of client information, designing bespoke marketing campaigns, registering and communicating with both buyers and sellers.

“The Harcourts App Store is an important milestone for our business focus on innovation,” continued Jansen van Vuuren.

 “We believe designing and building tailored solutions that our members can utilise on their mobile devices is essential to boosting productivity and the quality of service to their clients. It’s what

sets us apart in the real estate industry.”

The vision for Harcourts is to deliver an unparalleled client experience. It is the mobile app development platform for providing an end-to-end mobile solution to empower team members to operate with equal efficiency and effectiveness whether in the field or in the office.

"Harcourts was the first international real estate company in the world to have its mobile business solutions featured on Apple’s website."

In recognition of Harcourts’ innovation and use of the iPad and iPhone to drive greater efficiency and productivity, Apple, produced a video and business case study about Harcourts’ mobile suite

of apps," concluded Gray.


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

Harcourts launch App store

Nov 2, 2017 8:47:53 PM Share this:

Harcourts International, recognised in the real estate industry for game-changing mobile technology, has launched the Harcourts App Store. Built with Apple’s iOS (operating system), the store is an enterprise application through which Harcourts team members can access, download, update and install its proprietary mobile applications eOne, eOpen and eCampaign.

“We are one of the first real estate companies, globally, to take advantage of and build our own member-facing app store on Apple’s Developer Enterprise Program,” said Anton Jansen van Vuuren, Harcourts South Africa National Operations Manager.

“While most people are familiar with the Apple App Store, resident on all iPhones and iPads, the Harcourts App Store is a business to business solution to allow Harcourts team members to access our proprietary mobile applications eOne, eOpen and eCampaign, which were custom built and developed in-house. They are the backbone of what makes Harcourts unique in the marketplace, and they’re utilised across Harcourts' 150-plus office network in South Africa,” explained Richard Gray, Harcourts South Africa CEO.

The company’s three mobile apps utilise Apple iOS built-in technologies, seamless security, and integration with Harcourts enterprise systems. This month the Harcourts apps will benefit from a new release that offers enhancements specific to management of client information, designing bespoke marketing campaigns, registering and communicating with both buyers and sellers.

“The Harcourts App Store is an important milestone for our business focus on innovation,” continued Jansen van Vuuren. “We believe designing and building tailored solutions that our members can utilise on their mobile devices is essential to boosting productivity and the quality of service to their clients. It’s what sets us apart in the real estate industry.”

The vision for Harcourts is to deliver an unparalleled client experience. It is through the mobile app development platform of providing an end-to-end mobile solution to empower team members to operate with equal efficiency and effectiveness whether in the field or in the office.

"Harcourts was the first international real estate company in the world to have its mobile business solutions featured on Apple’s website. In recognition of Harcourts’ innovation and use of the iPad and iPhone to drive greater efficiency and productivity, Apple, produced a video and business case study about Harcourts’ mobile suite of apps," concluded Gray.

Statement by
Richard Gray
Harcourts South Africa


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Topics: Agent Life, Harcourts South Africa, Real Estate Agents, Harcourts app store

Harcourts donates R1million in South Africa to charities

Oct 24, 2017 10:53:45 PM Share this:

Real estate company has donated $5 million to hundreds of charities in South Africa and the rest of the world.

The Harcourts Foundation, the charitable arm of Harcourts International, has reached the latest milestone of $5 million raised since its launch in 2008. South Africa's arm of the Harcourts foundation, launched in 2011, has already donated R1million to the foundation.

Internationally, this translates to 686 charities supported, 311 communities impacted and 851 grants made through Harcourts offices in New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa.

“The Harcourts Foundation in South Africa is making a significant difference helping communities across the country. 100% of Harcourts South Africa sales offices donate to the Foundation with the sale of each property, and through specially organized events,” said Harcourts South Africa CEO Richard Gray.

Of all the incredible efforts undertaken in the past six years to help disadvantaged families and children, one of the signature events is African Angels, Ride for Education.

The African Angels Independent School, established in 2012, provides a quality primary school education to some of the poorest children in the area. With 88 children attending in 2016, all are from local townships with both economically and socially challenged backgrounds, including orphans.

"Ride for Education is used as a Harcourts team-building exercise to give offices an opportunity to come together for Fun & Laughter, and raise important funds for the community. The 2016 event raised R60,000 and the 2017 event aims to surpass that number," explained Gray.

“The Foundation is funded through Harcourts employee salary sacrifice, ‘off the top’ contributions from sales commissions, and through organised fundraisers,” added Gray.

“The money raised is significant, but what truly is impressive is how Harcourts people are impacting our communities, from supporting programs to end violence against women, and aiding underprivileged families to create a network of financial support for hospice care,” said Jenny Swanson, The Harcourts Foundation Coordinator. “These grants support a wide range of local community organisations that are quietly going about their work, making a difference in the lives of those who need it.”

The Foundation operates as a 100%, charity with all funds raised going directly to grants due to the volunteer-run structure that sees Harcourts employees donate their time and expertise to oversee and administer the process. No management fees, salaries or running costs are taken from the donation account.

"We are incredibly proud of the work The Harcourts Foundation has done over the past nine years," said Harcourts International Managing Director Mike Green. "The Foundation is at the heart of our company's core values, and it is an important part of our success as an international network. Every location in which there is a Harcourts office, there are people in need. We are grateful to be able to give back and make a difference."


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Topics: Agent Life, Harcourts South Africa, Harcourts Foundation, Charity, Real Estate Agents

Make your Garden Good Enough to Eat

Oct 23, 2017 8:00:00 AM Share this:

These days few people have the time or space for a separate vegetable garden or orchard, yet there is no reason why you can’t incorporate food-bearing plants into your garden, creating an easy, edible landscape.

There are hundreds of different plants that can fulfil any landscape need, and at the same time add something that can be eaten. You can savour luscious berries and sun-ripened tomatoes as well as exotic vegetables with many species nowadays just as abundant in attractive pots as in the garden.

Some of the easiest and most valued home-grown edibles include flavoursome herbs. Start with one of two of your favourites, then build up your collection as they need very little space and most can be found in very hardy varieties. Fresh herbs add a fantastic zing to meals and are easy to grow year-round.

Most modern fruit and vegetable species offer ornamental value. Their stalks, leaves, blossoms and fruit can work well in many situations, either set apart or mixed amongst borders and beds, or on a deck if you live in a central city apartment with no garden. Some act dramatically alongside their neighbours; others as understudies to more flamboyant characters in the garden.

Edible planting is not only practical and functional but can add to the colour, texture and form to your landscape design. Besides supplying you with fresh produce at a reasonable cost, it makes your property more attractive and inviting.

There are attractive edibles to suit all landscape levels, starting with tall trees, then smaller trees, followed by a shrub layer, and finally the low shrubs and ground cover.

Some trees with edible fruits or nuts, such as walnut or mulberry, will provide welcome shade. Smaller trees and larger shrubs act well as single specimen or as focal points.

You could substitute roses with fruit bushes such as blueberry, raspberry, currants and gooseberries in attractive colour-coordinated pots. As an alternative to wisteria, jasmine or clematis, you can train grapes to clamber along walls or fences, or over a pergola. Strawberries can be planted at ground level or as a substitute for annuals producing fragrant delights year after year.

Edible planting should reflect the needs of the house and its residents. For example, a tree that drops fruit would be inappropriate planted near a parking space or front entrance. One of the great things about vegetables and herbs is that you can also experiment all year round with a range of varieties until you find your favourites. Exotic vegetables are great to have a go at growing, and it can become a well-enjoyed hobby for the whole family at very little cost.

For their immediate bounty as well as long term enjoyment of form and beauty, it’s well worth growing edibles in your garden or whatever corner of outdoors you can find.


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Topics: Agent Life, Gardening, Add Value To Your Property, Garden

Am I too young to buy my first house?

Oct 9, 2017 8:00:00 AM Share this:

The short answer is no. If you have the financial means and qualify then investing in property in your early 20's & 30's might be one of the best decisions of your young adult life.

Strangely enough, the majority of first-time home buyers are in their 40 & 50's, when they are already overloaded with a myriad of financial responsibilities, families, businesses, or other investments, which means they will either have to work longer to pay off their mortgages or enter retirement with a substantial amount of debt hanging over their heads.

Buying property in your 20's when you have very few to no financial commitments, means that you are ahead of the pack, and will have a solid investment by the time you are ready to start a family.

However buying property is not just about qualifying for the bond, but also ensuring you can actually afford everything it entails. Aside from your bond, there are monthly rates, taxes, levies, and of course the upkeep. If you are planning to have tenants towards, making use of a reliable real estate agent ensures that your property is well looked after, while you continue your studies, travel the world or climb the corporate ladder.

Property is not just an investment, it's a 20-30 year financial commitment and without the proper financial planning, your investment could very well provide you with more pain than joy.

That being said, by doing your research, educating yourself and enlisting the help of professionals, such as financial planners or mortgage brokers, you should be able to make an informed decision based on facts instead of making a spur of the moment emotional decision based on what's "trendy".

Statement by
Richard Gray
Harcourts Africa Chief Executive Officer


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Topics: Agent Life, Achievements, First Home

Agent empowerment to assist clients

Oct 2, 2017 8:00:00 AM Share this:

There are many great investment opportunities in the local real estate market currently. Often during a bout of economic uncertainty, us as consumers keep our cards close to our chest in an attempt to mitigate risk. Which is always the wise option, however as the dust starts to settle the investment sprouts start to emerge from the now fertile soil.

The tough credit market is still making it difficult for some to secure loans however, when partnering with an experienced agent you ensure greater success as professional agents understand the process far better and deal with it daily.

This is why we emphasize agent support as a key strategic focus. Real estate offices need to put a lot of time and effort into continuously ensuring their agents are trained and equipped with the necessary skills. The market continues to evolve, at times exponentially fast, and successful agents are able to adapt and understand these advancements far better than those left in the dark.

Systems need be put in place that prepare the entire team with the knowledge and skills to develop their client base, build relationships and are able to create an open line of communication between office and clients.

Another essential part of a real estate office’s agent relationship understanding is that clients are people, usually making the largest investment of their life. Alternatively selling a part of their family’s history that has been the source of dozens of treasured memories. A certain amount of understanding of what the clients fears and hesitance are is incredibly important. Partnering with your client and building a trusted relationship almost always leads to success and an improved customer relationship.

At Harcourts we identified the necessity for this a long time ago and that is why we have the Harcourts Academy. Our training academy facilitated by industry experts with a full annual programme of courses. Agents and offices are always kept up to date on the latest legislative changes, advancements in communications and marketing tools, relationship building, leadership skills and other important knowledge.

Statement by
Richard Gray
Harcourts Africa Chief Executive Officer


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Topics: Agent Life, Harcourts South Africa, Real Estate Agents