WESTERN CAPE: BUY HERE: Our insider’s guide to Brackenfell

Feb 20, 2019 7:49:39 PM Share this:

Offering many property options, this large suburb close to the Winelands has a nature reserve on its doorstep

If you’re looking for value, consider the northern suburbs. Brackenfell is a short drive to the city on the N1, offers a range of property types, has good schools
close by and a number of attractions on its doorstep.

“We’ve seen steady growth in the sale price of properties in the area,” says Denis Dunn, principal at Harcourts Dunn.

“The advantage of Brackenfell is that it is a very large region with an array of property options. The average price for an apartment starts at R900000, and a townhouse ranges from R1.1 million to R1.8m. Full-title homes are priced on average from R1.7m to R2.8m, and a larger home can cost anywhere from R4.5m and higher. The rental market is booming. For any investor who wants a high-demand property, Brackenfell is a great place to start.

“The other obvious allure of the ever-growing Brackenfell region is the developments. At Harcourts Dunn we have a specialist developments team that assists clients with all their requirements. “Brackenfell has a selection of nice developments, catering for professionals, young families and investors.


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Topics: Harcourts South Africa, Harcourts Dunn, buying and selling, Tips for buying

Price your property to sell in the current market

Jan 23, 2019 7:19:21 PM Share this:

Whether it is a buyers or seller's market accurate valuation and pricing of your home is imperative if you aim to have a successful transaction. Realistic pricing is relevant to accurate market value and often buyers will compare your home to the properties in the area so they can gauge an insight into the true market value.

Market fluctuations and economic pressures undoubtedly influence the price of property and we've seen some homeowners having to drop expected prices due to the external economic factors affecting the market from a holistic perspective.

Therefore, If your property is over-valuated it not only wastes valuable marketing time but it can very often gain a stigma that negatively affects the perception of the home going forward. In the end, you may end up getting far less for your property than could have been initially obtained. No matter how well your property is marketed, if the price isn't right, it won't sell.

When a property is accurately valuated and the agent commences marketing of the listing this creates immediate demand. The first 6 to 12 weeks are the most important when marketing a property.

The first step is to contact an agent with an extensive target market presence. Browse digital property platforms, forums, portals as well as published newspapers and magazines to best see which agents have a true understanding and footprint in the region you wish to sell. Then, similarly, use that research time to assess where your property's value is located in the market and try and scale it correctly. Not just comparing the size and location but added features also.

Agents use many accurate tools that take an array of factors into account when valuating your home. Pair this data with expert insights into the current climate of the market and trends of buyers and sellers and an agent is able to present your property to a diverse network exposing it to the right buyers.


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Topics: buying and selling, Property Valuation, Harcourts Real Estate, Harcourts South Africa, Richard Gray

Expect more property developments in 2019

Jan 23, 2019 6:52:46 PM Share this:

During 2018 the South African property market was under immense pressure. We saw many agents having to reinvent their strategies in an attempt to to grow their businesses. Some were also forced to evolve as the man on the street consumes information differently. However, there were certain areas that performed well, developments being one. Across the major metros developments took center stage as a lot of investment and high demand seemed to defy the downward trend of the property landscape. And without a doubt, this will continue throughout 2019.

The large scale investment injections into city living is certainly very exciting and much needed. We've seen how incredible the major commercial and residential property developments in places like the inner city of Cape Town and Johannesburg are transforming the CBDs. There is a real effort to make properties available and a effort to revitalize certain areas as well as boost already booming regions.

On the other side of the spectrum we are seeing well sought-after communities growing even more. According to reports property developers' goals are to meet the demand for housing in  areas like Sandton and surrounds. Many of these properties appeal to first-time buyers,  business executives working in the greater Sandton area as well as investors seeking an asset that will show positive appreciation and rental returns.

We expect the push to develop certain areas to continue. Especially due to the appeal of these properties. Many people view them as safer because of stringent security strategies. Also, there is often a community aspect to lifestyle estates and developments - children playing in the park and getting to know your neighbours. We've seen how the inclusion of a management body and property guidelines assist properties to have a long-term investment life.

The often overlooked aspect that certain developments bring to a community is the increased economic activity. In areas like Somerset West in Cape Town, there are developments almost the size of suburbs. This attracts commercial interest to the region, increasing employment and business growth opportunities and ensuring the local economy has a chance to grow.


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Topics: Property Development, buying and selling, Harcourts Real Estate, Harcourts South Africa, Richard Gray

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

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

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.

Finally
“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

Housing challenges and solutions for Africa's fast-growing cities

Nov 20, 2018 8:43:13 PM Share this:

Africa will have some of the fastest-growing cities in the world over the next 50 years. With this rapid expansion comes many challenges, including urban planning that encompasses affordable housing solutions for the growing number of urban dwellers, as well as provisions for sufficient clean water, electricity and sanitation.

Africa also needs a variety of affordable housing solutions for the growing number of urban dwellers, from housing microfinance to public schemes, and alternative construction methods and materials.

Recently, Habitat for Humanity hosted a leadership conference in South Africa, focused on discussing housing challenges on the continent and how to overcome them. Respected speakers from around the world took to the podium to discuss issues affecting Sub-Saharan Africa, and exchanged ideas on how housing solutions can be funded.

1. Addressing Africa’s unique challenges

Land tenure, access to affordable housing finance, and cost-effective construction methods and materials are some of the unique African issues that need solutions, according to Kevin Chetty, Habitat for Humanity International, Regional Director at Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter.

“Once we understand what we need to overcome, then we can work towards sustainable solutions that stay true to Habitat’s principles of self-reliance and improving systems that enable families to achieve safe and affordable shelter without needing ongoing support,” says Chetty.

Urban planning is another extremely important factor, with investment needed to fund urban infrastructure such as reliable power, clean water, sanitation and transportation, which in turn will boost economic development.

“Many African countries can’t keep up with the huge influx of people into urban areas, making it near-impossible to provide people with adequate housing, let alone an infrastructure that can handle the momentous task of providing electricity, running water and sanitation, which should be available to all,” he says.

Africa also needs a variety of affordable housing solutions for the growing number of urban dwellers, from housing microfinance to public schemes, and alternative construction methods and materials. “This conference brings together people from across the continent, as well as Europe, to share their successes and challenges and helping us all to achieve Habitats global vision.”

2. Housing is a process, not a product

Housing is complex, and can’t be seen in a linear way.

“A linear approach that looks for a simple cause and effect will most likely lead to a simple solution, and won’t address the totality of challenges that make up this dynamic system that is ever-changing and not static,” explains Chetty.

Understanding and recognising the complexity of housing, and moving beyond the traditional approaches to housing as a product is an essential step. With this new understanding, a successful people-centred integration of knowledge, financing, stakeholder mobilisation, and programme and policy interventions can be made.

A house is an asset, not just for the family living there, but also for the community as whole. Empowering the community and building them up to be sustainable will create positive systemic change.

3. Housing microfinance

In the developed world, housing finance is synonymous with mortgage lending, and represents one of the key building blocks of the banking sector. In less developed countries, mortgages are accessed by as little as one percent of the population.

In Africa, the poor have invested the most in their housing, and nearly 80% of housing is self-financed. Housing microfinance is particularly suited to the building and financing needs of the majority of Africa’s population, as homes are built informally with local materials and unskilled labour.

Chetty points out that financial service providers are discovering that vast business opportunities exist within the lower-income housing markets of the developing world.

“The Terwilliger Centre for Innovation in Shelter has had a successful project running in Kenya, and we will be replicating this in South Africa in order to give the majority of the population access to microfinance and see the dream of having a home come to fruition.”


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Topics: Harcourts Real Estate, Housing Market, Harcourts South Africa

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

Off Plans.jpg

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

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

Harcourts South Africa Partners with The Global Challenge

Sep 20, 2018 10:34:54 PM Share this:

Harcourts South Africa has partnered with The Global Challenge, an international professional women’s golf team event – where nine players selected to represent the Northern Hemisphere will be teeing up against their counterparts from the Southern Hemisphere. The event is set to be hosted for the second time from 9-11 November in Hermanus, South Africa. 


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Topics: Harcourts South Africa, Harcourts International, Charity, Press relese, Community, Richard Gray