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Is WhatsApp changing real estate?

Jul 31, 2019 9:35:16 PM Share this:

As new technologies and improved systems are perpetually introduced into our modern business environments, innovations in client communication is undoubtedly at the forefront of this rapid evolution. The real estate industry has experienced a flurry of new concepts and advancements in the past year especially with regards to agents having to incorporate real time communication tools into their daily practices.


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Topics: Technology, Richard Gray, Harcourts South Africa, Real Estate

Interest rate cut: The break SA consumers need

Jul 22, 2019 5:37:54 PM Share this:

Harcourts South Africa welcomes the announcement by the South African Reserve Bank that interest rates will be cut by 25 basis points. This is the first easing in policy in over a year and in a time when many South Africans are feeling the pressure this comes as welcomed relief. Especially considering that many economists are predicting another cut later in the year.


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Topics: Richard Gray, Harcourts South Africa, Interest Rates, South African Markets

Rental market gains momentum as financial pressure property sales increase

Jul 19, 2019 7:02:10 PM Share this:

According to the latest FNB Property Barometer Survey data shows that “Downscaling because of life stage” dominates as the most prominent reason for selling a property in SA, with such sales accounting for 23% of all sales in 2Q19, the same as in 1Q19.  However, what is most concerning is that “Downscaling due to financial pressure” has become increasingly prominent in the past year; the estimated proportion of such sales jumped to 19% in 2Q19 from 16% in 1Q19.


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Topics: Richard Gray, buying and selling, Financial Advice, Harcourts Real Estate

Why people thrive in co-working spaces

Jul 15, 2019 8:00:00 AM Share this:

Studies show that people who work in co-working spaces are on balance more satisfied, better performers and find more meaning in their work than those working in traditional offices.

Unlike a traditional office, co-working spaces consist of members who work for a range of different companies, ventures, and projects.

So what’s so special about co-working?

“Co-working spaces attract diverse groups of people such as entrepreneurs, remote workers, independent professionals and people from large companies who work together in a communal setting,” says Linda Trim, Director at FutureSpace, a high-end workspace joint venture between Investec Property and workplace specialists Giant Leap with two offices in Sandton


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Topics: Harcourts South Africa, diversity, Co-Workers

President's SONA inspires but lacks detail

Jul 12, 2019 11:27:46 PM Share this:

President Ramaphosa delivered his State of the Nation address in Parliament yesterday and outlined seven priorities and five goals whilst acknowledging that due to financial constraints government would not be able to deliver “everything at one time”. In the real estate sector, the economy has played a major role in activity and commitment and we're excited that the President is prioritising economic growth and hope for strategic and continued implementation.

Overall there was a positive sentiment in the President's remarks and we applaud his vision of modern, high tech cities with world-leading public transport and believe we should all get behind the vision to make it happen. The President said that he wants to reduce data costs and that to be internationally competitive, the high cost of doing business and complicated and lengthy regulatory processes must be addressed in South Africa and that new companies should be able to be registered within a day.

It is crucial South Africa leads the way on the continent for innovation in business and technology in order for us to improve growth and long term sustainability. The President implored everyone to buy local products to boost local production. The President said that within the next year, the government hopes to conclude agreements with retailers to stock more South African goods on their shelves to actively promote South African products.

The attention the President paid to the economy and our crisis among youth unemployment, which is now at 50%, was a breath of fresh air as acknowledging our problems is imperative when trying to alleviate them.

There were certainly pertinent issues we wanted the President to detail but he failed to do so, especially on the land issue. It seemed that state-owned land would be targeted first.  Ramaphosa explained that the state will accelerate efforts to identify and release public land that is suitable for smart, urban settlements and farming. Explaining that the panel’s recommendations will inform the finalisation of a comprehensive, far-reaching and transformative land reform programme.

We expect more clarity on the recent report of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture, which will now be presented to Cabinet for consideration.

It is interesting that he was clear that it is not just farmland, but the need to ensure that land in urban areas is also made available. The President believes while the government have made great progress in providing housing, many South Africans still need land to build homes and earn livelihoods. In the next five years, he plans to accelerate the provision of well-located housing and land to poor South Africans. 

The President's plans cannot be faulted and his plans are inspiring, we just hope he is able to implement these strategies effectively and take our country forward. Statement by


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Topics: Richard Gray, Harcourts South Africa, Real Estate, SONA Speech

How to be a landlord tenants love with these 5 tips

Jul 8, 2019 8:00:00 AM Share this:

Renting is the smart financial choice for many consumers, but a ‘difficult’ landlord can easily make it feel like the wrong choice, and cause tenants to leave as soon as they possibly can.

It’s definitely worth having a meal or a gift delivered to your tenants on the day they move in and taking the time to provide them with some useful information about their new area.

On the other hand, landlords who are able to establish a good working relationship with their tenants will have much easier time when it comes to organising any repairs necessary and retaining those tenants or showing the property to prospective new tenants, says Gerhard Kotzé, MD of the RealNet estate agency group.

And this applies whether you manage your rental property yourself or through a managing agent, he says, so here are the five top tips for becoming the landlord that tenants love to rent from:

1. Be transparent and honest

Everyone expects honesty when it comes to dealing with tenants’ deposits and rental payments, but you and/or your agent should also be transparent when answering prospective tenants’ questions about things like noisy neighbours, traffic in the area, cell phone coverage and the availability of public transport.

2. Make your tenants feel welcome

It’s definitely worth having a meal or a gift delivered to your tenants on the day they move in and taking the time to provide them with some useful information about their new area.

“Once they know where the nearest shop, bank, gym, bus stop and school is, they will feel much more at home and be able to imagine themselves settling down in your property for a long time,” says Kotzé.

3. Provide clear lines of communication

You obviously don’t want your tenants calling you or your agent at all hours of the day or night for every little thing, but you don’t want them to feel cut off either.

“So when they move in, give them the right number to call during business hours, and better still, an email address where they can reach you or your agent. This will have the added advantage of helping to keep a written record of all communications with your tenant for future reference,” he says.

4. Be quick to respond

As a landlord you no doubt expect your tenant to be prompt when it comes to paying the rent, so you and/or your agent need to extend the same courtesy to your tenant when it comes to dealing with their concerns about urgent repair, noise or security issues.

“Of course, they should only call you or your agent during business hours unless it is a real emergency, but when they do, the matter should be dealt with as fast as possible. And if an outside contractor is required to fix any sort of damage, you need to monitor progress to see that the work is completed properly and on time,” says Kotzé.

5. Be a bit flexible

While it may be written into the lease that rent is due by no later than noon on the first of every month, your tenant should be able to approach you for a little leeway in the event of an emergency.

No one is suggesting that you tolerate repetitive late payment, but good tenants who usually pay on time and in full will appreciate some kindness when they have a genuine problem - and are most likely to return the favour when it comes to renewing their lease or accepting a rent increase.


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Topics: Renting, Landlords, Harcourts Real Estate, Advice for Landlords

Green your world: Grow veggies in recycled containers

Jul 1, 2019 8:00:00 AM Share this:

If you’re keen on being ‘green’ and healthy this year, now might be a great time to plant up a veggie garden and start growing your own salad, soup and stew ingredients.

You really don’t need a lot of space to plant and grow your vegetables.
 

And the good news is that you really don’t need a lot of space - especially if you use containers, says Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group.

“A courtyard outside your kitchen, a terrace or even a balcony will do, as long as it gets about five or six hours of sun a day (more is too much for leafy veggies like lettuce), and it is not too windy and not too far from a water source,” says Everitt.

You also don’t need to go out and buy special containers, he says.

1. Recycle old pots

“You can recycle old buckets, washtubs, tyres, coffee cans and even baskets (lined with a bin bag) as well as any old plant pots you have handy to hold your veggies, as long as they have adequate drainage. And if they don’t already, you can create it by drilling a few holes in the bottom and putting in a layer of gravel or small stones,” says Everitt.

2. Make use of big mesh plastic

“The big plastic mesh bags that dog food, cement and fertiliser are packed in can also be used if you wash them out and roll down the tops before filling with the gravel layer and your growing mixture. This should be a mixture of peat moss, potting soil with vermiculite and some good quality compost to boost growth.”

Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, Everitt says you should position your containers before you fill them and they become too heavy to move around - and leave some space between or around them so you can water and weed easily. Putting some gravel down on these ‘pathways’ will also help to repel snails.

“Almost any kind of veggies can be grown in containers although most will require a depth of at least 12cm to 20cm to allow proper rooting. Use your smaller containers for things like radishes, spring onions and herbs, medium-size ones for tomatoes, peppers, carrots, lettuce, spinach and egg plants, and the large ones for bush beans and ‘vine-growers’ like squash, cucumbers and courgettes. Potatoes will do very well in a stack of old tyres that you fill as they grow.”

3. If you have a small space, plant different crops in close proximity

If you only have a small space, companion planting is a very good idea not only so that you can get a good mix of edibles from your containers, but also so that your plants can help each other fight off pests and put nutrients back in the soil, says Everitt.

“Lettuce and peppers do well when planted together with onions or garlic, for example, while basil and celery are good companions for tomatoes, and mielies (corn) are good with any kind of squash or pumpkin. Marigolds scattered in between your veggies are also good pest repellents, while peas and beans put nutrients back into the soil where you are growing carrots and other root veggies.”

4. Water your vegetables correctly

Watering correctly is also very important when growing veggies and you need to be careful not to let your containers dry out when it is very hot or windy, he says.

“It is really easy to set up a simple drip-irrigation system for your container garden, but otherwise you should apply water with a watering-can or a fine spray attachment on a garden hose, preferably in the early morning or evening when it is cooler,” says Everitt.

“And lastly, you need to remember to feed the garden that feeds you, by mixing in some more compost or liquid organic fertiliser every time you replant one of your containers.”


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Topics: DIY, Gardening, Recycling

How to design a lawn-free landscape

Jun 24, 2019 8:00:00 AM Share this:

With climate change affecting weather around the world, many homeowners are replacing turf with low-maintenance landscape ideas.


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Topics: Harcourts South Africa, DIY, Landscaping

Get your garden ready for winter and spring

Jun 17, 2019 8:00:00 AM Share this:

Around the country the cooler mornings and evenings herald the beginning of autumn, and an indication that it's time for some maintenance in the garden to prepare for winter.


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Topics: Harcourts South Africa, Gardening, Winter, Spring

Estate agents must embrace ongoing training and development

Jun 10, 2019 8:00:00 AM Share this:

With the EAAB (Estate Agency Affairs Board) clamping down on agents trading in the real estate industry who have not renewed or ever applied for their Fidelity Fund Certificates (FFC), as well as disqualifying agents for noncompliance with their Continuing Professional Development, it is now more important than ever to insist on continuous training as an essential part of operating within this industry.

With the Estate Agency Affairs Board clamping down on rogue agents, it is now more important than ever to insist on continuous training as an essential part of operating in the real estate industry.

This is the word from Cornel Haskins, sales manager at property company SAProperty.com, who notes that the new Property Practitioners Bill was passed by the National Assembly on 4 December 2018 and has now been sent to the National Council of Provinces for concurrence, and this will change a) the governing body for the real estate industry and b) the way this industry is run - what is important is continued work at upskilling all agents.

There is too high a rate of interns dropping out of the sector because of the lack of training and mentoring, as they often find it daunting to complete either the NQF4 requirements or the log book that the EAAB requires, she says. “Having a good training provider and a company that mentors and supports as well as assists agents with their log books and NQF4, in order to complete and write the PDE exam, is vital.”

Haskins says many do not realise that agencies can partner up with attorneys, who could assist with some of the contractual training or guidance on completing the log book. “In this way, agents get the chance to ask all of their relevant questions, learn of current and changing issues, and can also become re-inspired to be a specialist in their field.”

To become an estate agent there are three major steps: 

- Completing a log book;

- Completing the NQF4 training; and

- Writing the Professional Designation Exam.

Keeping agents’ skills up to date and increasing interns’ knowledge of the industry is a necessity as the real estate sector is forever changing,” says Haskins. “Continuous training helps agents stay motivated and it provides better understanding of the happenings in the sector, as well creating an urge to provide a better service to the clients.”

Rogue agents have given the industry a bad reputation and it is up to the EAAB and estate agencies to employ and empower their agents to be better equipped in order to give the best service possible, she says.

How buyers and sellers can protect themselves

The public can, however, protect themselves and only use registered, qualified agents when buying or selling property, and the first thing to check is whether the agent they intend dealing with has a valid FFC.  All agents should have a Privyseal signature on their emails, websites or social media, which shows a real time validation of their FFC and status (whether principal, full agent, or intern) with the EAAB.

In addition, professional and qualified agents will be able provide references from previous clients if asked as well as a sales track record, to ascertain whether they have been successfully dealing in property and for how long. It is also advisable to check whether the agent specialises in a specific type of property and how long he or she has worked in this industry.

“Buying or selling a home demands a lot of trust in the person dealing with the transaction, as it is possibly the largest asset anyone will ever own,” says Haskins. “Ensure that you vet the agent you deal with properly and not just go to someone you know or a friend of a friend.”


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Topics: Harcourts South Africa, Real Estate Agents, Estate Agent, Estate agent training