August News

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Enjoy the last few days of winter!

Property trends

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

The graphs below reflect sales in Linden since 2004. Blue reflects full title sales; green sectional title. Although fewer properties changed hands in the years after the recession, average prices initially showed a slight decline and are now higher that at the "peak" of the market.


That said, if one looks at asking prices in the area, it will be easy to believe that every house in Linden should sell for at least R2 000 000. Although it is quite possible that a large, fully renovated home in a good condition will achieve a selling price of  R2 000 000 or more, it is not the average price as yet.  The pie graph which analyses full title sales in Linden between April 2010 and April 2011  tells the story.

 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. Feel free to contact us at any stage if you would like us to do this for you!

Top ten property improvements

Which improvements are most likely to convince a buyer to buy your property in future? Here are my top ten:

  • At the top of my list is something which may not be an improvement as such, but it is one of the wisest ways to spend money on your property. Maintain it. Keep it in good condition. Paint dirty walls and paint peeling gutters and facia boards, oil or varnish wood at least once a year, treat damp when it appears and replace cracked or broken windows and tiles. A buyer will pay thousands more for a well-maintained property.
  • When doing alterations and additions, involve an architect. A room which has been added without keeping aesthetics  and sensible flow in mind,  may create extra space, but may put buyers off.
  • An outdoor entertainment area - preferably with a built-in braai - is a number one requirement for most South Africans. A  covered patio close to the kitchen and leading off the living area is a winner.
  • Good security is also something most South Africans are prepared to pay for (guess why?). A good alarm system and a electronic motor gate are essential, and security at opening windows and exterior doors, laser beams and/or electric fencing linked to the alarm system and security cameras are all popular.
  • A well-designed modern  kitchen with lots of storage space and  plenty of work space steals many hearts. Add granite tops and  a gas stove,  and make provision for all modern appliances - a microwave, dishwasher, washing machine and tumble dryer (that is if there is no separate laundry). Preferably the kitchen must be designed to accommodate fridges and freezers of different heights and sizes.
  • Attractive, fresh bathrooms sell houses. Bathroom trends change almost as often as the weather, so choose finishes to complement the style of the house rather than the lastest fashion.  In the main bathroom (which must preferably be en suite) a shower is essential. Built-in vanities are popular too.
  • A green home will become increasingly popular, as electricity prices soar. A solar geyser will not only save you a lot now, but it will make the property more appealing for a future buyer. Gas stoves are popular for the same reason - and apparently they are cooks' favourites too.
  • Create kerb appeal.  Let your house look as appealing as possible when visitors enter the gate. A special gate, beautiful garden,  neat driveway and interesting front door can all contribute to this. 
  • A proper lock-up garage - preferably at least double - is important to most buyers. Make sure it is big enough for a double cab. It is even better if it  is a bit bigger - boys need to safely store their toys. And it is a good idea to automate the door.
  • Lots of storage space is a seller too. We all have lots of stuff, and need place to store it. Plenty of wardrobe space in the main bedroom, built-in bookshelves and even shelving in the garage or store room, are all guaranteed to add value.



Procedure when there is a crime incident


Previously, if there was a crime incident happening, one had to call 10111 and hopefully your call would have been answered and reacted to promptly. That has changed. 

Let everyone in your family store the 24-hour Linden Police sector van number on their cell phones, and display it at every phone in your home. The number is 071 675 6047. In the event of an incident, follow the following procedure:

1. Press the panic button for your armed response service provider immediately.

2. Call the Linden Police sector van directly. Make sure you give the correct address, and full details of the crime happening, such as suspect's cars number plates and description and dress of suspects.

3. If there is a Block Watch patrolman in your street, call him on his cell phone.

4. Now call 10111 to log the police call for a reference number.

Remain calm and do not take the law into your own hands. The response people arriving will take on the criminals.

Please note that the sector van number is not to be used for routine matters.  


Rental property tax reductions

Ralf Metz's book, Paying less Tax Made Simple 2011, advises that SARS only allows you to claim the following deductions against your rental income:

  • The interest on your mortgage bond or loan raised against the property
  • Rates and taxes
  • Insurance
  • Repairs and maintenance costs - provided that the property is in a lettable condition to start with and you entered into a lease agreement which requires you to make the repairs
  • Expenses incurred on the treatment of any timber against attack by beetles
  • Advertising
  • The cost of commission and rent collections
  • Electricity and water
  • Depreciation of furniture if the property is let fully furnished

The cost of improvements, reconstructions or additions to the property cannot be deducted as these expenses are of a capital nature, says Metz. Neither will a deduction be allowed for repairs if you repair a property which was previously let and which you now want to occupy or sell. To get a deduction you will need to make repairs while your property is being occupied for trade, adds Metz.

Also worth nothing is that there is a very fine line of distinction between repairs and maintenance on the one hand and improvement and reconstruction on the other. Each case will be assessed on its own merits.

From: Moneyweb Tax - 6 May 2011


Your bond can be good debt!

When the bank advances one money to buy a property, one would consider the debt to be good debt. The property is after all an asset escalating in value, and one has to pay for a roof over your head  - so much better if the monthly cost help build your wealth.

How one manages this debt determines what it ultimaltey costs.

To reduce the cost of the debt and save money, consider this:

  • Every month, pay more than required. Consider eating out less and pay an additional R100 or R200 into the bond. Or stop smoking and put the money your save in this way into the bond every month. Resist buying that new car and pay the amount you would have paid on the car into your bond. Doing this will reduce the repayment period with months, if not years, and will save your thousands of rands on interest. Have a look at your budget and play around with the caculator on our webpage. It is amazing to see how far a little extra can go!
  • Make your first payment early, and make payment a day or two earlier than required every month. This will also reduce the  payment period and will save you a lot on interest. 
  • When you have some extra money, like a bonus, resist splashing all and put some into your bond.
  • Use your bond account as a savings account when you save for a special holiday or new car. If you were to put R10 000 in a typical savings account at the bank, the most interest you can expect to get is 5% at a push. A capital payment of this amount into the bond will save you effective interest equal to the interest rate on you bond - around 9% at the moment. Most banks will allow you to withdraw extra funds you have deposited into your account at any stage.

A small adjustment to your lifestyle, together with a bit of discipline, can save you thousands of rands in the long run!



Healthy trees

Prune trees in winter. Most of our landscape trees should be pruned to have only one central leader. This adds strength and stability to the tree structure, and creates a straight appearance. If there is more than one leader, it may eventually cause the tree to split. Of course there are exceptions, like fruit trees such as peach, necatarine, cherry and plum, trees with several trunks, where each trunk should have one main leader, and some topiary and bonsai forms.

Mulch trees in winter to protect the roots, and to prevent evaporation of water and over-drying of the soil.

Keep an eye on the tree for warning signs that expert help must be sought.

Telltales of poor tree health include:

  • loose or peeling bark. With the exception of certain trees, such as some birches, eucalyptus and maples, bark should not be loose or peeling.
  • fungi growing on the trunk
  • bare patches, such as sections without leaves year-round on evergreen trees. Commons causes are  nutrients and water not reaching those branches, animals eating the leaves, improper pruning practices, pesticide damage and insectides and diseases.
  • wilting. Drooping leaves and stems may be caused by lack of water, over-watering, too much or too little sun, over-fertilizing and diseases.
  • leaves which turn yellow, unless the tree has yellow or variegated leaves, or stunted or irregularly-shaped leaves. Distortions in leaf size, colour or shape can all be signs of nutrient deficiencies, insect damage, watering problems, pesticide damage  or disease.
  • signs of insects  or diseases, such as insects visible on the tree, lack of fruit or flowers, leaf irregularities. holes in bark, brances or leaves, growths on branches, oozing sap, wilting and a slow growth rate.

 Take good care of your trees, and you are guaranteed to enjoy them as long as you are around. They will probably outlive you!

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