Archive for the ‘Property News’ Category

How To RenewYour Fidelity Fund Certificate

Your Fidelity Fund Certificate (FFC) is valid from 1 January of a year until 31 December of the same year. You are required to renew your FFC by no later than 31 October every year for the following year. Also take note of the late renewal penalty that is applicable if your renewal application is received after this date.

According to the EAAB’s website, the steps to renew are as follows:

  1. In order to register online you will need your “My EAAB Account” logon details. If you have never been issued with a logon, please:
  • Click on “New Estate Agents” only if you are new to the industry and have therefore never been issued with a FFC.
  • Click on “Existing Estate Agents” only if you are currently registered with the EAAB and have been in possession of a valid FFC.
  1. In the “Registration” page, complete all fields accurately and in full for the information required and then click on the “Register” tab. For example:
  • First name & surname
  • Call number
  • ID number
  • Email address
  • Estate agent PIN (the unique seven-digit alphanumeric code available from your employer

You will then receive an email containing your logon and password details, which you will use to log on to the “My EAAB Account”. On this tab, use the email address that you registered with and the password received via email

  1. Once you have logged in, you need to:
  • Complete the rest of the application form for your FFC
  • Attach or fax only the correct supporting documents to the EAAB via the “Web Upload” page

Once the payment section has been completed, your information has been verified and your application submitted, you will receive a payment confirmation via SMS and email.

  1. Make the required payments using the banking details on the SMS or email.

Once the certificate has been issued, you will receive a notification with your new FFC number.

SELL FASTER: “stage” a home for your show day

First impressions are everything. The mere fact that a potential buyer is viewing a property indicates that a part of the decision has already been made. The question is, how do you maximise this window of opportunity – one that lapses in minutes?

Professional opinion is that the pre-sale preparation of a house, in the form of staging, pays dividends. International statistics show that staging results in quicker sales or better prices – or both.

For years, home staging was a well-kept secret of the most successful realtors. Today, staging remains the #1 marketing strategy in America. It can reduce a listing’s time on the market by one third to half, and could fetch as much as 10 to 15 percent more than a home not properly staged.

Traditionally, staging companies have focused on unfurnished homes, or rather, furnishing empty homes. There is however in SA, an even greater need for furnished homes to be properly and professionally staged. But, many lack the time, experience or expertise to properly “dress up” a property.

More emphasis given to the finer details of furniture lay-out, colours and appealing accessories can transform a property and effectively alter a buyer’s first impression of that property.

 

So start setting the stage …

  • Open the windows and curtains, and cheat a bit by turning the lights on.
  • Hide features that are gender specific in the master bedroom.
  • Dress beds up with the best linens and plump up the pillows and scatter cushions.
  • Put fresh towels, decorative baskets and candles in the bathrooms.
  • Add a vase of fresh flowers to the living room or entrance hall.
  • Set the dining room table as if friends are expected for an elegant dinner.
  • Old appliances will make a kitchen look dated.
  • Scent the kitchen with vanilla aromatherapy oil or freshly-brewed coffee.
  • If there is air-conditioning, set it to a comfortable level.
  • Tidy the cupboards and storage areas like the cellar, pantry and laundry room.
  • Play some soft background music.
  • Clean everything until it gleams, and be ruthless about clearing away clutter, heavy curtains and surplus furniture.
  • Spruce up the garden with some instant colour in pots.
  • Turn on water features and fountains.
  • Make sure the swimming pool is immaculate.
  • Set up a seating area on the patio and set the table.
  • Make sure the house number is easily visible.

And finally, the top tip is to also stage a home before it is photographed for your listing.

home stage

House price growth shows signs of slowing down

Year-on-year growth in the average value of homes in some categories of housing in the middle segment of the South African residential property market appears to have reached an upper turning point. As expected for some time, base effects and slowing monthly price growth since mid-2012 have caused year-on-year price growth to start moderating.

These price trends are according to the Absa house price indices, which are based on applications for mortgage finance received and approved by the bank in respect of middle-segment small, medium-sized and large homes.

The average nominal value of homes in each of the three middle-segment categories was as follows in March 2013:

  • Small homes (80m² to 140m²): R752 600
  • Medium-sized homes (141m² to 220m²): R1 079 500
  • Large homes (221m² to 400m²): R1 609 600

Headline consumer price inflation is driven by inflationary pressures coming from rising fuel prices and a weaker rand exchange rate since the beginning of the year, and is forecast by the South African Reserve Bank to average 6.3% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2013 before slowing down gradually to just more than 5% in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Privateproperty.co.za breaks all the records!

Change is often difficult to deal with, but change in our industry has become a daily challenge that we have all had to learn to cope with. Real estate in SA is not for sissies and we at Privateproperty.co.za applaud you all for hanging tough through these difficult times.

We too have had to change the way we do business, and it has at times been difficult to convince our industry that the changes we have made are for the better. I suppose, as the old saying goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

I can say with pride that the pudding tastes great! We can report that January activity on the site was the best ever in the history of our portal. We experienced new records with regards:

  • browsers
  • listings loaded
  • page views
  • user sessions
  • LEADS GENERATED

Ultimately our job is to make sure that we provide you with leads to help you sell property and secure mandates, and we have never done this better than in January 2013.

January sales

We are proud to report that our portal was responsible for generating an incredible 650 000 leads in January. This is a great indicator that the brave changes we made with our packages and prices have paid off for industry. It is clear that allowing you the opportunity to load more listings at a reduced package fee has been the defining factor in generating more leads.

But let’s not discount the importance of the GREAT marketing campaign that has been running consistently on national radio stations, as well as our portal, which is unique with regards QUALITY content for property shoppers to access.

March will see the release of the new-look privateproperty.co.za website. This will be a first for the SA online market and will again re-define property search. Look out for the beta launch that is happening as we speak!

The new site, along with some amazing new products like Featured Listings, Featured Agents, Virtual Tour packages and many more to come will further increase the number of leads you recieve and will grow your online presence.

We will continue to work hard to provide value to both our estate agent customers and the millions of loyal Privateproperty.co.za website users. We are determined to be your best opportunity to sell property and our doggedness is showing the results you deserve.

I wish you successful selling!

Mark

The SA real estate market in 2013

So the general predictions from the economists and analysts predict that 2013 will continue to be gloomy, with house prices not even growing as fast as inflation. But what you need to remember is that predictions are a generalisation. We can’t expect a property boom when the economy is only expected to grow by 3% with even more dangerous macro-economic threats from outside our borders. But, within the broad range of real estate available there will be certain suburbs and property types that will perform far better than the national average.

There are a few trends that are likely to influence property in 2013. From research that we conducted late last year, 73% of agents surveyed said that security is now a buyer’s highest priority, so we can expect that property in gated estates or complexes will perform better than freestanding homes near vacant land, for example.

World liquidity will also not improve and banks appetite to lend so we can expect that they will continue to keep a tight lid on mortgage lending which will continue to subdue first time home buyers and the lower end of the market or the price range up to R800 000.  The double whammy affecting this sector is not only the fact that banks will seldom take on a loan of more than 90% loan to value but that many buyers in this sector struggle with poor credit records. But I am going to go out on a limb here and predict that this sector will see some improvement in 2013.  The increasing shortages of affordable accommodation for the growing public sector and wage increases way in excess of inflation will keep demand for smaller houses strong.  I have noticed a growing number of buy-to-let investors moving back into the market encouraged by strong rental yields and also notice developers coming to life. If inflation stays in check, which it looks like it will, and affordability keeps improving we must assume that more buyers will soak up any available stock and start to push prices in this sector.

Privateproperty.co.za still sets the pace

It’s STILL all about the LEADS

The portal race in SA is getting really interesting with our “would be competitors” laying claim to the Number 1 spot, while increasing their prices by double digits! A sign of things to come, I suspect.

While the competition’s been making lots of noise, we at Privateproperty.co.za have quietly gone about our business of providing more VALUE. I thought it would be a good idea to highlight some of the VALUE wins we’ve made for you over the last few months:

  • We’ve launched a new pricing model that will allow you to list ALL your properties at a fairer price.
  • This month we released the “upgraded” version of Featured Listing. Please see the article from Simon explaining how it all works. Early signs have shown that using this feature will increase the views on the property by 50%!
  • We released a “Leads per office” report that will help you track the leads you receive from Privateproperty.co.za better.
  • We SMASHED ALL previous web performance records in October.
  • We Sponsored FREE training sessions in collaboration with IEASA with the aim of both supporting the institute and providing much-needed inspiration for our deserving customers.
  • We launched a national radio ad campaign, targeted at browsers, on the major radio stations in order to boost online activity. It has really made a BIG difference!

So as you can see we have been busy providing more value at a cheaper price, while the competition has been busy putting up prices and adding no extra value. Makes you think!

Mobile revolution

We have always taken mobile development very seriously. But recent spikes in the use of our mobile platforms have really made us sit up and take notice. It seems as if South Africans have really started embracing mobile as a preferred platform to browse online. We can report a 500% growth of mobile app users during 2012 and iPad usage already constitutes more than 10% of our total browser base.

iPad Usage – Oct 2011 to Oct2012

 

iPad browsing stats for Privateproperty.co.za users

What is interesting is that usage on a tablet spikes at its highest between 8pm and 9pm. My assumption is that this is really a great time for couples to sit together and view good-quality images of prospective properties. These devices have really enhanced the browser experience and highlight further the need for you to get good quality pictures and, where possible, add virtual tours to your listings.

Our belief is that mobile will soon become the preferred platform for browsers, so we will be working extra hard to make sure that we again lead innovation on this platform. Look out for another upgraded release of our iPad application. Already we are the only portal to have features like augmented reality which allows a house hunter to point the device at a property and see the sales information. Amazing stuff!

Some interesting stats

I’ve spent some time analysing the areas in SA that are consistently receiving the highest activity on our portal. I thought it may be interesting to understand where people are shopping most and what price range people are most interested in. The results are interesting …

Area                                          Average listing price

JHB

1)    Sunninghill and Lonehill: R2.1-million

2)    Sandton and Bryanston: R3.1-million

3)    Roodepoort: R1.2-million

 Pretoria

1)    Centurion West: R1.4-million

2)    Pretoria East: R1.8-million

3)    Centurion East: R2.3-million

Western Cape

1)    City Bowl, Atlantic Seaboard: R4.6-million

2)    Durbanville: R2.4-million

3)    Bellville: R2.1-million

KwaZulu-Natal

1)    Durban Northern Suburbs: R2.5-million

2)    Durban Central: R1.3-million

I hope this will help you focus your attention toward the right price range when hunting for those mandates!

I wish you happy selling.

Regards, Mark

An agents’ guide to business blogging

I know any one of you can be an amazing blogger. You have all the tools you need, you just have to recognise that you have them – and I’m going to point them out to you. But I’ll warn you … once you’ve read this post you’re not going to have any more excuses. You’ll actually have to (gasp!) blog!

Are you ready?

You are a subject matter expert

You didn’t get where you are because of that pretty face of yours. You have your job because you know property. The world wants your expertise! Type it out so the rest of the world can benefit. You probably don’t think it’s that groundbreaking because the information is second nature to you, but there are hundreds if not thousands of people to whom your knowledge is groundbreaking. Do us a favour and blog it, won’t you?

You’re a good researcher

Sometimes when you sit down to write a blog post even if it’s about something you know a lot about a question might pop up in your mind. One that you don’t know the answer to. Some people see these questions as indicators they should stop blogging, because they must not be qualified enough to write on that topic. But really, this is why Google was invented!

Most business bloggers can very rarely sit down to write a blog post without conducting some research along the way. Just because you don’t know the answer to everything doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be blogging, it means you’re like every other person in the world, and certainly every blogger on the internet.

You don’t actually have to write that much

People can get extremely hung up on word count. Great blog content does not have to be long. In fact, it’s usually better that it’s brief. Now, this isn’t to say you can write 100-word blog posts. Your content still needs to be helpful, otherwise your readers will stop showing you any love. Aim to keep most of your blog content at around 600 words so you have enough space to develop some helpful advice.

You probably already have a lot of the content

Material is everywhere. It’s just up to you to either repurpose it or, if it’s already looking pretty fly, to excerpt and re-promote that content on your blog.

It doesn’t have to be Shakespeare

In fact, it’s better if it’s not. Many peoples get caught up in the idea of being a writer, but blogging doesn’t have to be a creative exercise; it can simply be a documentation of information. Instead of trying to flower up your language, just focus on writing like you’d speak. You’ll find that content is not only easier to write that way most people don’t have much trouble talking, after all but it sounds more natural, too. That means your readers will enjoy reading it, because it isn’t some high falutin’ content that tries to sound all smart and fancy.

There are proof readers and editors in the world

Remember, you’re a subject matter expert that’s the biggest value you bring to the role of business blogger. So if you’re worried that you can’t blog because you’re not good at figuring out where in the sentence a comma goes, don’t let that deter you; simply recruit a grammar-savvy friend or co-worker (or even a Privateproperty.co.za editor) to look over your content for you before it’s published.

So there it is – easy peasy. I’ll be expecting some great content from y’all …

(With thanks to hubspot)

Statistical assistance for agents – where people want to buy property

Research by Privateproperty.co.za finds that what the average South African looks for in a property is very different from their first-world counterparts. This finding gives estate agents clear insight as to what home buyers are going to be looking for in 2013.

It comes as little surprise that the most common concern for those buying property in South Africa is the crime level in the various suburbs. According to a survey conducted by Columinate on behalf of Privateproperty.co.za, 21 percent of the 400 individuals polled viewed the level of crime as the most important factor when determining where to buy. An additional 12 percent regarded the security presence in an area as important while only one percent regarded the fact that a property was close to a school as significant.

The results also indicate that South Africans are far more concerned as to what is happening crime-wise in a particular suburb than they are about the overall condition of a property. In other words there is a higher demand for homes in what is regarded as a safer area, as opposed to the appearance of a property.

Crime is an international problem and although South Africa historically has high levels of criminality, choosing to live in an area that has recorded lower crime levels does not guarantee that the home owner will avoid becoming a statistic in the future. What often happens is that criminal gangs target a certain area – not necessarily one in which they live. Once the police or security presence makes the pickings too slim, the gangs move on.

There are of course some areas that are traditionally more prone to criminal activity and these include suburbs that are situated close to informal settlements, areas where new construction is taking place and homes situated along busy public thoroughfares.

Choosing to live in a suburb that has a high security presence is perhaps more important than relying on a lack of recent criminal activity, given that the South Africa Police Service only releases crime stats on an annual basis. An awful lot can change in a year and basing a buying decision on issues that were recorded the year before can be deceptive.

The fact that 11 percent of those polled also deemed the overall condition and cleanliness of an area to be an important issue is also telling considering the service delivery issues currently plaguing various towns and cities across the country. Well-maintained roads and cut verges may not seem like one of life’s great choices, but in the current situation these minor issues seemingly offer a clear indication of just how well the local municipality is coping with their obligation to provide services in return for the rates that it receives.

It appears that South Africans are far more concerned about the above issues than they are about the current price and a property’s future value. Only seven percent of those who responded to the survey indicated that these were a priority.

Very few of the respondents regarded the proximity to schools, entertainment or a police station as an important reason to buy a property, although quite a few respondents said that the property should be situated close to public transport.

Agent news: What does CPD mean?

(Part 3 of 4)

1; 2; 4

Submitted by Jill Corfield: corfield@mweb.co.za

By actively committing yourself to participating in the mandatory Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme estate you demonstrate:

  • a commitment to achieving and maintaining the highest levels of performance excellence;
  • passion and dedication to advancing yourself in your career of choice;
  • a culture of learning and improvement as a professional  and a law-abiding citizen;
  • an enduring interest in the estate agency and general property sectors;
  • awareness of relevant trends and developments within sector in respect of products, services, statutory legislative compliance and the building and retention of efficient and effective strategies and business management systems; and
  • skills and competence in the establishment, management, control and expansion of successful estate agency enterprises.

The issue of fidelity fund certificates to estate agents will henceforth evidence a positive commitment by the holders of such certificates to the estate agency profession, the relevant estate agency enterprise and the personal development of that estate agent. CPD compliance is a valid indicator that estate agency professionals are aware, informed, passionate and committed to the advancement of their profession. The new CPD requirement is likely to increase public pressure on non-registered estate agents to regularise their status. Non- or under-qualified persons practicing illegally as estate agents will not easily be tolerated by either prospective clients or stakeholders.

Extent: the required level of CPD for practicing estate agents

The Education Regulations require that the CPD programme must be reasonable and be completed over a rolling three year cycle. The EAAB has, therefore, determined that estate agents will initially be required to complete 60 CPD points over the rolling three year cycle with one point equating to one hour of CPD. It may, of course, prove necessary for the EAAB to adjust the envisaged CPD allocation in due course depending on such factors as complexity, availability and duration of any particular CPD activity.

Mix: the compulsory CPD activities for practicing estate agents

While estate agents will generally be granted a significant degree of freedom in selecting appropriate CPD activities, the education and training component of the CPD will be made mandatory for all estate agents. A CPD calendar will be complied by the EAAB, in liaison with sector specific professional bodies, at the commencement of each calendar year. Estate agents will be required to diarise their chosen CPD activities and also ensure that they duly attend the various CPD activities that they have selected.

Compulsory CPD activities will comprise the specified education established by the EAAB and delivered by EAAB approved and accredited continuing education providers.

 

Transfer of property from trusts remains free – for now

Agents should be aware that the opportunity for companies, close corporations and trusts to transfer property free of transfer duty to a natural person, under certain circumstances, has been extended to 31 December, 2012.

In terms of this extension, a property must be “disposed of” before this date. Disposal is deemed to have occurred when a contract has been concluded and all the conditions therein have been met. It is, however, not a requirement that the property is registered in the Deeds Office before this date.

This is good news for buyers who have their eye on a property that is held by a company, close corporation or trust. “Moreover, knowledge of this window of opportunity puts agents in a good position from which to close sales quickly in a period that is traditionally slow.”