Renovating Wisely

Oct 30, 2017 8:00:00 AM Share this:

When it comes to renovating, the result can significantly increase the value of your property if done well, but bear in mind renovations can also cost the most if not planned and completed carefully. 

Disruption Any renovation is a disruption, so before your bathroom and kitchen are ‘out of order’ have a Plan B for alternate locations to cook and shower.

Timing Whether getting in a professional builder to run the whole project or managing it yourself, be very clear on the timeline between facilities being out of order and back in working condition. That’s when Plan B comes into place.

Coordinate Kitchens and bathrooms are the rooms that require the most specialist expertise. Coordinating everyone to do their job at the right time in the right sequence is crucial to ensuring a half-finished room doesn’t languish for days, and even weeks. You will need plumbers, electricians, builders, cabinetmakers, painter, floor layers, to name a few. With many tradespeople so busy these days, if one is unable to complete their job as per the schedule, be ready to suddenly reschedule the others in the sequence.

Contingency Before your kitchen is out of order, ensure you will have a supply of water, with a microwave and kettle as your mainstays. Consider preparing and freezing a selection of meals in advance to simply defrost and microwave. Bathrooms are a little harder to cope with if they’re not working, so really think that through before pulling the place apart.

3 Money Savers

  1. There is a huge cost difference between flooring types. Make sure you understand not just the per metre cost, but installation costs which vary depending on type. The beauty of bathrooms is that you may even be able to find an off-cut at a huge price reduction. But be careful not to cut any corners as flooring takes a lot of wear and you want it to last, particularly in wet areas where children can create tidal waves at bath time.
  2. If you still like your kitchen layout, consider just replacing the bench top, modernising the taps and changing the cupboard/drawer handles when painting or refinishing your doors, drawers and fronts.
  3. While planning your bathroom and kitchen changes, think carefully about implications for plumbing. Using the same plumbing layout for taps and wastes can save a lot of money as your plumber will only be installing new fittings into existing pipes, rather than pulling up walls, floors, ceilings, pathways and lawns to lay completely new plumbing systems.


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Topics: Selling, Property Tips, Home Buyers, property focus, Renovations, Home Maintenance

Why choose to hold open homes when selling?

Apr 24, 2017 8:00:00 AM Share this:

Open homes are one of the most effective ways of marketing a property and attracting interest from a wide variety of buyers. Some of the many advantages are:
• You have plenty of time to ensure your property is tidy and ready for inspections.

• You can control the viewing times.
• Open homes can create plenty of activity, even in a
slow market.
• Interest and activity can trigger urgency with buyers.
• The sales consultant's time is put to best and most
effective use. They will have the opportunity to talk
to numerous people about your property.
• Comments from open home visitors can provide
feedback on price, presentation, sales appeal, etc.

How can you prepare for an open home? Your sales consultant will do all them marketing necessary to attract the maximum number of visitors to your open home. However, when you have them there,you will want to ensure you present your home in the best possible light.

Here are ten quick tips on how to make your property “open home ready”:
1. Declutter – an overcrowded room looks unappealing and smaller than it actually is.

2. Clean. No one likes the idea of living with other people’s dirt. If your home smells and looks clean you are creating a great environment for viewers.
3. Keep decorations simple and don’t display family photographs. You want buyers to visualise their own things and family in your home, not yours.
4. Make each room count. Give each one a purpose so that your viewers can see how they could use it. Don’t leave any room as a storage place for your possessions
5. First impressions count and last. Think about the first aspects that potential buyers will see – like fencing, the letterbox and the driveway.
6. Remember the small things count too. Check light switches to make sure they work. Fix any doors or cupboards that don’t close. Fix leaky taps.
7. If you can, give your walls a fresh coat of paint. Choose neutral colours so as to not individualise your property too much.
8. Fresh flowers and soft music playing in the background give a good impression.
9. If cold outside, have a fire going or heaters on.
10. Fresh coffee on the stove, vanilla in a slightly warm oven or on a hot element, or aromatherapy oil burners give a very inviting smell and can sweeten stale and musty homes.

You can be assured your Harcourts sales consultant will ensure all open home visitors sign a register with their contact details. This is for security reasons as well as to follow up later for feedback on your property.

If you have chosen to market your home without disclosing a price, under no circumstances will your sales consultant talk to a potential buyer around your price expectations. A sales consultant’s first duty is always to the seller and you deserve to have the best opportunity at achieving the highest amount of money that a buyer is willing to pay.

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Topics: Selling, Open Homes, tips

Need to know: selling your rental property

Apr 7, 2017 8:00:00 AM Share this:

When you decide the time is right to sell your rental property, there are certain rules you need to be aware of.

If an owner puts the property on the market, they must tell the tenant in writing. As a courtesy, and to promote good relations between the sales team and the tenant, they would be advised to let the tenant know beforehand through their property manager.

Your property manager must seek permission before you organise for a photographer to enter the property to take marketing photographs.

Be aware your tenant can refuse to allow their personal possessions to be in any photograph. Even if permission is granted, at any stage, if the tenant feels their privacy has been violated they can cause problems, so you would be best to advise the sales team not to photograph tenants’ possessions.

Access to the property
Owners, and their real estate sales consultants, have the right to show possible buyers through the house. They can also show through a registered valuer or a building expert they’ve employed to prepare a report. But the tenant must give permission first.

A tenant can’t unreasonably refuse access, but they can set reasonable conditions. For example, they can: Limit access to certain times of the day and days of the week; refuse open homes and auctions on site; ask to be present during open homes.

Tenants can insist that the property be shown by appointment only.

Before including open homes or an on-site auction in the sales plan, the owner should discuss all this information with the tenant. Consent needs to be given for specific dates and times, and should be put in writing.

It is a good idea to offer the tenant an incentive to stay in the property and to work with the sales team. An idea would be to offer the tenant a week’s free rent once there is an unconditional sale on the property. If you are wanting more cooperation from the tenant than the usual viewings, say to hold open homes or have an auction on site, then you may wish to consider offering two weeks rent.

It is important to note that should you wish to keep any part of the bond that the tenant has lodged against their name, then these arrangements must be made prior to a sales agreement being reached. Once you have put on the agreement a bond amount then that is the figure that MUST be transferred to the new owner.

Once sold
When sold, if the new owner intends to keep on the same tenants, the tenants should be told who the new owner is and when they’ll take over. Ask your property manager to provide the new owner with a copy of the tenancy documents and arrange for the bond to be transferred. If you have received good service from your property manager, it may be an ideal time to recommend that the property be kept under the same management structure to minimise any disruption to the tenant.

When the property is sold, the original landlord’s interest in the bond will pass to the new landlord
If the property is sold to someone who doesn’t want to keep on the tenants, one of the conditions of sale will be “vacant possession”. The owner must give the tenant at least 42 days’ written notice to end the tenancy, so the house will be empty for the buyer. Please remember to add on the appropriate ‘service days’ to any notice to vacate. If the notice is posted to the property, then four working days must be added. This can be reduced to two days if the notice is hand delivered to the property and can be immediate if the notice is emailed, faxed or handed in person to the tenant – always remembering that the actual notice period starts the following day from the end of any notice period.

Fixed term tenancy
A landlord or tenant cannot give notice to end a fix-term tenancy early. So, if the property being sold is rented for a fixed-term, the property must be sold with the tenancy and tenants in place. The buyer will become the new landlord for the rest of the fixed term.

The landlord may be able to sell the property empty if the tenant agrees, in writing, to end the fixed-term early. This will usually involve some sort of compensation for the tenant.

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Topics: Selling, Rental Property

9 Ways To Make Your Home Much More Attractive To Buyers

Mar 6, 2017 11:01:07 PM Share this:

Purchasing a home is both a financial and emotional decision so the look and feel of your home will be an important factor in attracting interested buyers. Here are our top tips for helping you make your home more attractive to buyers

1. First impressions count
What will people see the first time they walk up to your house? Make sure your property has ‘curbside appeal’ with a well-maintained fence, driveway, letterbox, front door, lawns, hedging, and exterior. Outdoor living is a big selling point so make your outdoor space inviting.

2. Declutter
Remove clutter from your home and put it in storage. This includes oversized or too much furniture, large bench top appliances, and personal items like photographs, CDs, books and magazines. This will make your home appear bigger and allow buyers to picture themselves in the space.

3. The personal touch
Your house should feel like a home. Once you’ve decluttered, a few personal touches such as flowers, a bowl of fruit on your kitchen counter, and a pot plant here and there will do wonders to help buyers feel like your property could be their dream home.

4. Freshen up your walls with a coat of paint
Use a neutral, light shade to make your home appear more spacious. This also gives prospective buyers a blank canvas to visualise what they would do with a room. Don’t forget to paint or varnish the doors too.

5. Make your home sparkle
Clean every room in your home, including the windows inside and out. In particular, ensure your bathroom sparkles, remove any mould and replace your shower curtain. While you’re cleaning, you should eliminate the source of any unpleasant odours inside and outside your home. A bad smell will quickly turn off prospective buyers.

6. Do necessary repairs
Buyers don’t want to spend their time or money doing repairs to a home they’ve just bought. You can remove that barrier by fixing anything off its hinges, replacing broken tiles, repairing holes in walls etc. Replace threadbare carpet and ensure wooden floors are well maintained. Give your home some TLC so that buyers know that it’s been well looked after.

7. Kitchens sell houses
If you can afford to invest a bit of capital before you sell, spend it in the kitchen. Reface or replace your cabinetry and upgrade counter tops. If you’re whiteware is old, consider renting modern appliances.

8. Brighten your home
Aim for soft lighting throughout the home and bright light in the kitchen and bathroom. Use lamps to brighten dark corners. If you have old curtains or blinds, take them down and replace them with basic cotton or linen ones and make sure they are tied back to make the most of any natural light. Make sure you replace burnt out light bulbs.

9. Pets
We love our pets but not everybody else does. Be aware that many people have allergies to, or are simply not used to animals. Keep them out of the way when prospective buyers are visiting your home.

It may sound like a lot of work, but doing these simple things, can really pay dividends by helping you to attract interested buyers. Remember, you’re not just selling a property but a potential new lifestyle for the homeowner so put yourself in their shoes when preparing your home for sale.

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Topics: Selling, Buying, home improvements

Six tips to sell your home fast.

Feb 10, 2017 5:24:54 PM Share this:

You’re desperate to sell your house. In fact, you need to sell yesterday.

Whether it’s financial stress, or your new job is in another part of the country or overseas, the most welcome sight in the world right now would be the words “SOLD” emblazed in your front yard.

Hence, you are preparing for the real estate equivalent of speed dating.

Just as in speed dating, you know roughly what you want, you need to meet someone who likes what you have to offer, but the last thing you want is to give any hint of desperation.

You are not desperate, but keen.

Don’t panic. Whether speed dating or preparing to sell your house quickly, the key is to remain calm by clearly understanding which factors are in your control, and which are not.

The strength of the economy, employment and income growth in the area are out of your control. Obviously if the housing market is booming, and demand is outstripping supply, your house may sell on the same day it’s listed. But that’s out of your control.

Partitioning these uncontrollable factors in your mind, but being an active participant in the factors within your control, will increase your chance of selling quickly.

So, what are the factors in your control?

Price your property competitively from the start

Pricing your property correctly, right from the start, is without doubt your top priority.

Well-priced does not mean “cheap”, but a price that meets the market. Suitable pricing for selling a property quickly, is what wearing a pleasant smile is to a speed dating night – nothing gets started without one.

A new property listing will attract the most views in the first two-three weeks, and then interest levels plunge. So to sell quickly, you need to take full advantage of this window of opportunity with a price that will attract the most interest. This cannot be overstated. Smile at your market with an attractive price.

If after a few weeks your property isn’t attracting the type of enquiry needed to sell, talk to your Harcourts Sales Consultant about a price drop. Smile wider. The best option is to reduce your price significantly once, rather than incrementally several times, which can quickly build cynicism in the minds of potential buyers.

More information about pricing your property is available here.

Marketing strategically

There is no doubt that the systems, expertise and connections available to you through engaging a professional real estate agent will increase your chance of a quick sale.

Don’t forget your real estate agent not only has a vested interest in selling your property, but doing so quickly. They are on your side.

Talk to your agent about using all the marketing tools available to gain maximum exposure for your property, and make sure these tactics are connecting with the type of buyer more likely to buy.

Open houses are important, but be ready at all times for a showing and second inspections. Follow up your Sales Consultant continually for feedback from potential buyers.

To avoid losing time and effort on contracts that “fall over”, be prepared to discuss the pros and cons of your home openly with potential buyers.

Prepare your house for sale

There are bare minimums that need to be done to ensure a fast sale. At the very least, you’ll have a shower before speed dating. Read more here.

Staging and professional photography

OK … here comes another speed dating analogy. Who goes to speed dating nights in their gardening clothes? Presentation is king or queen. Dress your house in metaphoric fine jewellery, beautiful clothes and spray on Chanel No. 5.

Property staging or styling is the process of using a property stylist to “stage” your property with furniture when preparing for sale. Generally, items are hired for a term of approximately six weeks.

Staging is about building emotional bridges with potential buyers, and through the work of professionals, presenting your property in the best possible way.

By going the next step, and engaging a professional photographer to capture images of your house once it’s been styled, you can multiply the styling effect in the market place.

There’s an old saying about a picture painting and word numbers, and it applies here when great photos of your house are featured across multiple marketing channels. Dress for success! Read more here.

Method of sale

An auction is the go-to sale method for those with a tight time frame, as it gives the vendor a potential predetermined sale date. In a seller’s market, auctioning for a quick sale is a no-brainer.

In tougher markets, there is always a risk that the house will not sell, or you may not meet your reserve, but auctions still increase the visibility of a property in the market place over a short time frame. Talk to your Harcourts Sales Consultant about whether an auction is right for your property.

In searching for solutions for a quick sale, you may come across investment companies that offer to “sell” your house quickly, by buying your house themselves. Often, however, this will be well below the true market value, so beware.

Prepare for after the sale

Do you know anyone who has gone to a speed dating event with a marriage contract prepared, ready to go? Probably not.

It’s an audacious step to say the least, but if your objective is to sell your house quickly and move on, and you are committed to the sale, fast-tracking the conveyancing process makes good sense.

Conveyancing is the legal transfer of property from one person to another. So why not instruct a solicitor or conveyancing firm like Strand to start tackling the administration of the sale by drafting up a contract and applying for title deeds?

Preparing the paperwork that will be needed after the sale of your house beforehand is also a great way to get you in a positive frame of mind.

Like speed dating, selling your property quickly is daunting, and potentially an emotionally draining task. Take the time to plan and prepare with the help of a real estate professional, and understand the factors you can and cannot influence, and who knows – you may quickly find your perfect match in the market.

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Topics: Selling, Property Tips

Get more than a first impression from open houses

Jan 13, 2017 5:54:00 PM Share this:

Open houses give you a great first impression of a property and you’ll know almost immediately if it’s one you want to pursue.

But that first visit can be much more than a “once over lightly” impression. How do you make sure you’re getting as much information from it as possible? Use the time to perform a thorough first property inspection. Later on, you’ll want to engage professionals to inspect the building’s structure and health, but it’s a good idea to use your initial tour of the home to see some things for yourself.

  1. The Structure
    At any given open house, chances are the current owners will have presented the property in the best possible light. They will have cleaned, perhaps added a new coat of paint, or had the home staged. Whilst these things will help you to appreciate what the home could look like for you, at this stage, it’s more important to focus on the dwelling’s structure. Look for:
  • Damage from pests. Recent termite damage in wooden structures is a huge red flag. Have a look for bores through wooden frames, or dirt tubes in the foundation or exterior walls that hint to borer infestation.
  • Poor construction. Windows and doors that jar, or cracks in the walls around them are both signs of poor construction.
  • Wet spots on walls or ceilings. Condensation within the home can lead to mould build-up, timber decay, leaks, corrosion, or even loss of structural integrity.
  • Cracks in the foundation. Some small cracks in a home’s foundation can be harmless, but large cracks either running down the foundation or across could mean a home is shifting, which can cause significant structural damage over time. If you see anything, mention it to your professional building inspector.
  1. The Location

You may be attracted to the area, but take a look at the property’s exact location for things that may bother you over the long-term, hurt re-sale value, or cause issues. Things to consider are:

  • Is it on a busy main road? Houses on main roads can attract lower prices than those on quieter, private and less congested roads. You’ll also have to get used to the noise of heavy traffic.
  • Is it next to a retail or commercial space. This can create high levels of traffic and additional noise, depending on the type of business and its operating hours. Also be mindful of properties next to land that may be zoned as retail or commercial. Talk to your Realtor® about what zoning around the property means for potential development.
  • Is the property near railway lines? A home close to public transport is always convenient, but a home that shares a
    border with a train line, for example can cause a lot of excess noise, potentially hurt re-sale value.
  • Are there power lines over the land/property? Sometimes found on larger parcels of land, power lines have been known to drop property prices.
  1. The Surroundings

Take note of the neighbouring properties on each adjoining border for any clues you might not be comfortable long term.

  • Are the neighbours’ yards neat and tidy? It might not directly impact on the property, but what about when it comes time to sell the property? Would untidy yards next to yours reflect poorly on the area?
  • Do they have pets? It might not be an issue, particularly if you have pets of your own. Is a neighbour’s dog barking non-stop during the inspection? Is there evidence of pet damage to shared fences or common areas?
  • Do you have a comfortable level of privacy? Take a look at different angles around the home, particularly on smaller blocks or apartments. Are you too close to neighbours? Can you hear them through the walls? Are certain windows placed directly opposite a neighbour’s window? Is the property fenced off from neighbours?
  • Is the property on a flood plain? Depending on the city and climate, the potential of flooding on the property will vary. Houses within the same street can be impacted differently by flood waters. If you have concerns talk to your Realtor, property inspector or local expert.

It’s important to remember that none of these things always have to be immediate deal breakers on a property. It’s about arming yourself with as much information as possible so you can make an informed decision and end up with a property you are happy with. Once you have made your first visit and if you decide you wish to proceed in making an offer, seek good legal, building and financial advice from the experts.


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Topics: Selling, Open Homes, Buying

Fewer foreigners buying in South Africa

Aug 15, 2016 6:23:58 PM Share this:

Fewer foreign buyers are investing in homes in South Africa. While this has little noticeable impact domestically, it underlines the tough conditions confronting the property market.

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Topics: Selling, Foreign Investment

Stilbaai market sizzles into summer

Nov 30, 2015 9:43:17 PM Share this:

Stilbaai_Nov_2015.jpgThe property market in Stilbaai on the Cape South Coast is booming as the town continues to attract the attention of real estate investors.

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Topics: Renting, Selling

Sky-high prices prompt ‘feeding frenzy’ on Atlantic Seaboard

Nov 23, 2015 9:46:33 PM Share this:

This magnificent modern home in Nettleton Road in Clifton on the Atlantic Seaboard is being marketed by Harcourts for the “bargain” price of R39m. The area is known for having some of the highest priced real estate in SA, and homes in Nettleton Road inevitably offer spectacular ocean views. A home in this road recently made headlines when it sold for R110m.

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Topics: Selling, Buying

Community projects protect West Rand home values

Sep 22, 2015 9:04:06 AM Share this:

It’s hard to beat the West Rand for value-for-money when it comes to real estate, and a strong sense of community makes areas like Roodepoort and Krugersdorp even more appealing.

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Topics: Selling