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Linprop Newsletter



So another year draws to an end. Everybody seems to be gettting ready for the holidays, and soon Johannesburg traffic will reveal that most people have left to enjoy the sun and sea and a well deserved period of rest.

We had a good year, thanks to the loyal support of our clients. We thank everyone who contributed to our success by doing business with us, or referring business to us. We appreciate you all.

We would like to think that this newsletter adds benefit to your lives - that is our aim. This month's newsletter sheds some light on property trends in the areas we serve during the past year, shares information on power surges - unevitable and often causing damage, and summarises the meaning of the voetstoots clause in sales agreements. Last, but not the least - a reminder about those steps you should take to ensure that your home and belongings are safe while you are away.

Travel safely, and if you plan to stay at home - enjoy the peace and quiet!

Kind regards
Daleen van der Linde, Carina van der Linde, Pertunia Sithole and Adele Lesar
The Linprop team



Property trends 2012

A picture - or graph - can speak a thousand words.

The graphs below reflect sales in these areas since November 2011.  The graphs show the percentage of transfers  in each price bracket.

 

There are 688 sectional title units in Linden. 7.5% of sectional title units in the area were transferred during the past year.The majority of sectional title properties sold for between  R500 000 and R1 000 000. These were mostly flats. Townhouses sell for a million and more, depending on the size and the quality of the finishes.  

 

The picture of full title property sales in Linden is totally different. There is  a wide variety of properties available in the Linden area: one can find a stand for below the million mark, or an older home that needs some TLC in the lower million mark, just down the road from a luxurious 4 bedroom home in the R3 million mark.  There are 1477 full title properties in Linden, of which  6.8% were transferred during the past year.

There were a single sectional title transfer and 9 full title transfers in Darrenwood during this period. Considering that there are only 164 full title properties and 18 sectional title units in the area, the turnaround percentages are a bit lower than in Linden, but not much - 5.49% of full title properties in Darrenwood changed hands during the past year. The sectional title sale constitutes 5.55%.

 

Only 2 sectional title units were sold in Roosevelt Park.  There are, however, only 27 sectional title units in the area. The sale of 2 units  equals 7.4% sales in this category during the past year.

 

The turnaround in this area is the lowest of the three suburbs, equalling only 4.08% of the total number of full title properties in the area.

Although these graphs provide a broad picture of property prices in these areas, the best way to establish the probable market value of your property at any given time, is still to get a trustworthy estate agent to do a comparative market analysis for your specific property. Do contact us at any stage if you would like us to do this for you, free of charge.



Power spikes and surges

What causes power surges?

A power surge, or transient voltage, is an increase in voltage significantly above the designated level in a flow of electricity. When the increase lasts three nanoseconds (billionths of a second) or more, it is called a surge. When it only lasts for one or two nanoseconds, it is called a spike.

Power surges occur when something boosts the electrical charge at some point in the power lines. This causes an increase in the electrical potential energy, which can increase the current flowing to your wall outlet.

There are several sources of power surges, externally and internally. A common cause of external power surges – especially the most powerful surges – is lightning. Surges can also occur when the power comes back on after an outage, when a tree branch touches a power line, or a small animal gets into a transformer. Cable theft causes frustrating outages and consequent surges. Apparently there is at least one attempt at cable theft each day in Johannesburg. In all cases, thieves get access to a local neighbourhood sub-station kiosk, either by breaking in or just exploiting damaged locks and open doors.

Power surges can enter a home through several pathways. In the case of lightning, it can take the path of the TV or satellite dish cable, through the incoming telephone lines, or through the incoming electrical service line.

Internal power surges happen dozens of times a day, usually when devices with motors start up or shut off, diverting electricity to and from other appliances. Smaller devices like hair dryers and power tools can also cause problems. More than half of household power surges are internal.

Why do power surges cause damage?

Your home is filled with items susceptible to power surges. Anything containing a microprocessor is especially vulnerable - the tiny digital components are so sensitive that even a 10-volt fluctuation can disrupt proper functioning.

Microprocessors are found in hundreds of consumer items, including televisions, cordless phones, computers, microwaves, and even seemingly "low-tech" large appliances like dishwashers, washing machines and refrigerators.

An increase in voltage above an appliance's normal operating voltage can cause an arc of electrical current within the appliance. The heat generated in the arc causes damage to the electronic circuit boards and other electrical components.

Smaller, repeated power surges may slowly damage your electronic equipment, which may continue to function after small surges occur until the integrity of the electronic components finally erode and your television, cordless phone, or answering machine mysteriously stops working. Repeated, small power surges shorten the life of appliances and electronics. Small surges won't leave any outward evidence, so you may not even be aware they're happening - even though they may occur dozens or even hundreds of times each day.

Large power surges, as with a lightning strike, can cause instantaneous damage, "frying" circuits and melting plastic and metal parts.

What can be done to prevent damage and loss?

• Direct lightning strikes are powerful enough to overwhelm even the best surge protection; therefore the ultimate surge protection is to unplug equipment from the wall if you suspect a surge might be coming.
• Get surge arrestors for the plug points in a home or use a UPS system which ensures the power quality to sensitive devices such as computers and TV's. The UPS option is the most effective, but is also the most expensive. A surge arrestor is cheaper and can be very effective, but also have a limited life which is determined by the number of surges it can prevent before it fuses and becomes useless. You can also install a "whole-house" surge arrestor. You generally install these units near your electric meter, where the power lines run to your building. This protects all the circuits in your house or office from a certain range of voltage surges. Units designed for whole-house protection are generally built for outdoor installation. Better surge arrestors can handle surges up to 20,000 volts while standard outlet surge protectors can't handle more than 6,000 volts. Contact your electrician and discuss a plan to combat power surges.
• Adopt a substation. The key to stop cable theft and to protect your electrical equipment is to identify your nearest electricity kiosk, keep an eye on it and report anything suspicious. Walk or drive past regularly. If you note broken locks, open doors, evidence of habitation by vagrants, overgrown foliage, damaged boundary fences and gates, structural cracks or damage to the walls/roof, rotten woodwork or beehives, report it to City’s Power’s risk management control centre on 011 490 7553 or Primedia’s Crime Line on 32211.
• Make sure that your household and homeowner's insurance cover damage caused by power surges. You cannot claim damages from Eskom, the council or your landlord.



The Voetstoots clause and its implications

The term voetstoots is a Dutch term which describes buying something “as is”. The inclusion of a “voetstoots” clause in a Deed of Sale for immovable property means that the property is purchased as it stands, together with all defects that it may have.
It is important to note that a voetstoots clause exempts a seller from liability for patent defects only, not for latent defects.

What is the difference between patent and latent defects?

Patent defects are flaws that are visible on a normal inspection of a property, such as wall cracks, sagging gutters, broken windows, missing tiles and visible damp. It is a buyer’s duty to thoroughly inspect a property before purchasing it - he cannot later claim he did not see such defects. The test is an objective one, namely what could be seen on the inspection of the property.

Latent defects are faults that are not obvious and are hidden from view. These include faulty pool pumps and geysers, rusted internal pipes, leaking roofs (except where stain marks make the leak obvious) and defects that have been concealed, such as dampness behind a cabinet. The test is what could not normally be seen on inspection.

If a seller is aware of defects which cannot be seen at inspection of the property, he has to disclose these to a potential buyer. Examples are a geyser which delivers only lukewarm water, defective electrical points, a leaking pool, a sliding door that cannot open anymore or a faulty oven. The seller, who lives in the property, would be aware of these faults.

If a purchaser can prove that the seller had actual knowledge of a latent defect but failed to disclose it, then the purchaser can hold the seller liable for this defect regardless of the “voetstoots” clause. In terms of numerous South African court cases a seller is only excused from liability for latent defects where he was not aware of the problem at the time of the sale. If a seller knowingly conceals a latent defect, he will be liable to the buyer for the cost of its repair.

While buyers may be able to sort such disputes out through the courts, litigation can be a costly and stressful exercise, as the buyer will have to prove that the defect existed at the time of the sale; that the seller knew of the defect; that the seller did not disclose the defect and that the seller deliberately concealed the defect as he knew that if it was not concealed and the purchaser saw it, the purchaser would either not have bought the property, or he would have negotiated a more favourable purchase price.

There is still much uncertainty in the practical application of the Consumer Protection Act 68, 2008 (the “CPA”), particularly how it affects the sale of immovable property. Many buyers assume that the voetstoots clause has lost its validity and that they are fully protected when things go wrong. However, this relatively new legislation remains largely untested in South African courts of law.

The CPA contains various limitations and not all sales of immovable property are covered by this legislation. One of the central exclusions is to be found in the definition of a “transaction”. A transaction only falls within the CPA if that transaction is within the “ordinary course of business” of the supplier of the goods sold. Therefore it would apply to property sold by developers, speculators, and institutional investors with large property portfolios who sell property in their ordinary course of business, but not to once-off property sales between a seller and a buyer.

The question is whether the voetstoots clause may still be inserted in of a Deed of Sale.

The CPA contains a series of fundamental consumer rights. One of those rights is the consumer's right to safe and quality goods. This right includes the right to receive goods which are suitable for the purpose generally intended, of good quality, in good working order and free of any defects.

These provisions do not apply where the consumer has been expressly informed that the particular goods were offered in a specific condition; and has expressly agreed to accept the goods in that condition, or knowingly acted in a manner consistent with accepting the goods in that condition.

In other words, if the consumer is aware that the property is sold in the condition in which it stands at the date of sale and where the consumer has an opportunity to inspect the property, the voetstoots clause will still form part of the agreement.

The relationship between purchaser and the estate agent also falls within the ambit of the Act in that the agent markets to the public and his marketing practices will have to comply with the provisions of the CPA. This will require compliance with the various chapters in the Act in which the fundamental consumer rights are embodied, such including the right to disclosure of information, the right to fair and responsible marketing and the right to honest dealings.

An agent, who is aware of a latent defect, should therefore bring it to the attention of the buyer.

Buyers may have a claim against the agent under the CPA if they can prove that the agent was aware of a latent defect and intentionally withheld the information. Trying to prove that a third party (an agent) was aware of any problems could be difficult.

A buyer who wants to ensure that he is fully aware of the condition of the property, may insert a conditional clause in the Offer to Purchase in terms of which the offer is subject to the buyer obtaining a favourable home inspection report. This will allow the buyer to withdraw from the agreement, should the report uncover any unpleasant surprises.

In the end, upfront disclosure ensures peace of mind for all parties – home buyers, home sellers and agents.



Safety first

"Statistics clearly show that criminal activity increases during the holiday season and it is therefore imperative for homeowners to take the right precautions and not let their guard down," says Richard McGhee, Sales and Marketing Director of ADT Security, one of South Africa's leading security companies.

The following tips should help you take the necessary preventive measures to make sure you do not fall victim to crime during the holiday season:

•Driveway gates are often the weak link to the security of a property. Even if your gate is motorised, and you have electric fencing installed, it has no value if the driveway gate can be lifted off its rail or swing gates can be forced open. Anti-theft brackets on a sliding gate, and a padlock on a swing gate will make it more difficult for criminals to get access.

•Have your alarm system serviced and tested by your security company before you leave for the holiday. It will give you peace of mind, knowing that the system is fully functional and perfectly linked. Advise your security company that you are going away, and provide them with your house sitter's number.

•If you have a smoke alarm, have this tested too, and if it is linked to your security company, make sure the link is also working.

•Unplug all your electrical appliances that can be unplugged, and make sure that you have no overloaded power points that can cause an electrical fire. Also, have your trip switch checked, to ensure that the electricity trips if there is an electrical fault.

•Inform your neighbours that you are going away so that they can keep an eye if they are not going away.

•Stop all newspaper deliveries, and ask your house sitter to remove the mail to prevent the mail from piling up - a full mailbox is a tell-tale of your absence! Also, have your house sitter open curtains in the mornings, draw them at night and switch on certain lights. Better still: put a few lights on timer switches. This will create the illusion that there are people in and out of the property all the time.

•Don't leave any keys in exterior doors, especially those with glass window panes.

•Do not leave any tools outside, as this can be used to break into your house.

•Do not leave any keys inside a vehicle at home, even if it is parked inside a locked garage.

•Make sure that all valuables are insured and the expensive things you are leaving at home are carefully locked in your safe. Lock away car keys of vehicles you leave at home in the safe too.

•Check that any flammable liquids and gasses in your storage shed or garage is properly sealed and stored away.

•If you don't have signage of your security company on the wall, have one put up. Clear signage warning criminals that the you are linked to a security company discourages criminals.

 

 

 




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Linprop specializes in the sale, rental and management of properties in Linden
and the following surrounding areas:
Auckland Park . Blackheath . Blairgowrie . Berario . Cresta . Darrenwood . Emmarentia . Fairlands . Ferndale
Greenside . Jacanlee . Linden . Linden Ext. . Melville . Malanshof . Montgomery Park . Montroux . Northcliff
Pierneef Park . Pine Park . Risidale . Robindale . Robin Hills . Roosevelt Park . Westdene

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