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The sprint towards the end of the year gathers momentum with year-end functions and holiday planning and exams to be written. Only 3 months to go to 2014!
Home-owners who are considering to sell, will find our articles "Timing the sale of your property" and "Putting your best foot forward when marketing your house" valuable. We share some good news for consumers in the article "Consumers to be relieved of credit burden". Blinds can add value to your home - more about this in the article "Blinds as window covering."
Buyers and tenants who need to relocate for the new school year are anxious to find the right place. We do not have enough stock to help them all. Please remember that we love referrals! If you know of someone whom we can help in selling or renting a property, or in finding their dream home to buy or rent, please send us their contact details? We promise to take good care of them.
Kind regards
Daleen van der Linde
082 600 7894
Carina van der Linde
082 603 8694

Timing the sale of your property

Establish the urgency of the sale. If you have been transferred or have already bought elsewhere, you may not have a choice: now is the best time to sell. But if you have outgrown the property and want to buy a smaller or larger home, two months may not make a huge difference. Homes sell throughout the year, but statistics show that homes listed online receive most interest from the public in warmer months when gardens look more attractive and buyers are more likely to venture outside to visit show houses. The property market definitely slows down during the December school holidays and Easter weekend. If possible, avoid putting your property in the market then. October and November are far better months to sell than December.
Know when you will be able to move, and have a plan B. Transfer may happen between three and seven months after the listing date of the property. Whether you are relocating to another city or upsizing or downscaling in the same city, you are going to move somewhere else. The question is whether to sell first, and then buy elsewhere, or vice versa. Whichever way, you as seller need to be able to indicate a possible date of occupation to the buyer. If the property sells within the first week or two, will you be able to give occupation within two to three months? If you have not bought elsewhere as yet, do you have a plan B, such as renting for a while or moving in with family temporarily?
If you are letting the property which you plan to sell, you may want the possible occupation date to coincide with the end of the lease term, and then it will be wise to start the marketing process about 5 months prior to the date on which the lease expires.
Make sure that your council accounts are up to date and that any problems relating to it are sorted. This will ensure that the rates clearance figures can be released speedily, and that transfer will not be delayed by it.
Check if you are in a position to meet all legal requirements which may form part of the sale. Do you have copies of approved building plans available? Often banks ask for them before the buyer’s final bond is granted. If you have made alterations without having plans approved, set the ball rolling to have as-built plans approved. Obtain an electrical compliance certificate, certificate for the electrical fencing and gas compliance certificate – all of them are now legally required when a property is sold. The buyer may also ask for a pest control certificate. It is not so expensive to obtain these certificates as such, but it can be quite costly if work such as rewiring needs to be done before it can be issued.
Establish if there will be a penalty payable if the current bond is cancelled within a certain period of time. Contact the bank which holds the bond and ask them if they need notice of the possible cancellation. You may prefer not to give transfer while the penalty may still be payable.
Know the whereabouts of the title deed. The title deed will be with the bank with which you have a bond. If you do not have a bond registered on the property, make sure that you have the original title deed in your possession. A lost title deed may delay transfer.
Get your home sale ready. Spruce up the garden and driveway, and attend to those nagging little maintenance issues. The neater the property, the better impression it will make on potential buyers and the better price will be achieved.

Putting your best foot forward when marketing your house

Don’t leave as is
Everything in your home must be in good working order before you put it on the market. Take some time to look at the house from a buyer’s perspective and make a list of things you need to attend to before putting the house on the market. Attend to things such as:

  • Damp
  • Roof leaks and marks on ceilings which resulted from the leak
  • Peeling gutters and facia boards
  • Broken windows
  • Loose window putty
  • Wooden frames and doors in need of treatment
  • Broken fixtures, such as light fittings, sanitary ware and door handles
  • Dripping taps and leaking toilets
  • Loose cupboard hinges
  • Outdated or worn wallpaper

Boost curb appeal
Many people thinking of viewing your home will do a quick drive-by first, often deciding on the spot if it is even worth a look inside. Make sure your home is inviting to potential buyers with these tips: 

  • The boundary wall or fence, gate and pavement must look neat, and the house number must be clearly visible. Give the wall or fence a coat of paint if necessary.
  • Power wash the driveway and remove any oil stains with a chemical solvent.
  • Tidy up the yard and put away stuff that is lying around.
  • Mow the lawn, trim trees, shrubs and creepers, and weed beds.
  • Clean gutters.
  • Throw out unsightly pots with dead plants.
  • Put out a few attractive containers with flowering plants to create a splash of colour in focal points.
  • Make sure walls and windows are clean. If you are not repainting the house, power wash the walls.
  • Outdoor lights must be working!
  • Even if you have only a tiny porch, make it say "welcome home" with a clean doormat and potted plants.

Get the house sparkling clean and tidy
From shining floors and gleaming windows to clean counters, every surface should sparkle. Even a modest home will look good when it is clean and tidy.

  • Spring clean. Wash walls and windows, remove finger marks from doors and polish door handles.
  • Have carpets washed.
  • Let fresh air and light in. Open windows and remove or open net curtains where possible.
  • Pay special attention to bathrooms – scrub grout and clean shower doors. Put out fresh towels, soap and toilet paper. Put away toiletries which may look untidy.
  • In the kitchen, clear working surfaces as far as possible, make sure the stove top and oven are both clean, and do the dishes and put them away.
  • Make beds and put clothes away.
  • Clear away clutter. You want prospective buyers to look at the space, not get distracted by your personal belongings. Store piles of paper and stacks of magazines in boxes out of sight, put away stray children’s toys, and if you have a lot of ornaments and family photographs, put away some. Store your collections in a safe place for the duration of the selling process. Make your house a place that anyone could imagine living in.
  • Get rid of everything you wouldn’t want your mother to see. Prospective buyers will open the oven, investigate drawers for function and capacity, and study your closets and medicine cabinet. Part of preparing your house to sell is a ruthless purging of all these places and a thoughtful review of potentially embarrassing items.
  • Plump out cushions and check paintings – don’t let them hang skew!
  • Create a sense of homeliness and evoke a feeling of contentment with a bowl of fresh flowers or a bowl of fresh fruit. Place this for example on the dining room table or coffee tables, instead of magazines or books.
  • Clear up and clean the garage – let buyers see there is space to park the car!

Pleasant scents
It is important to keep your home smelling nice. You can do this in various ways, from using scented candles to having a fresh pot of coffee brewing in the kitchen or rusks drying in the oven.

  • Empty the garbage bin.
  • Load dirty clothes into the washing machine.
  • Run a lemon rind through the disposal unit.
  • Give wood furniture a quick polish.
  • Clean the litter box.
  • Refrain from smoking inside the house.

Keep your home at a moderate temperature
This will encourage potential buyers to stay longer in the comfortable surroundings.
In winter:

  • Light a fire in the fireplace or use a heater to heat up a cold room.
  • Close curtains at sunset to keep the heat inside.

In summer:

  • Open windows and doors to create a draught.
  • Use a ceiling or standing fan.

Staging the interior
This American and European concept has not quite established itself here as yet, but sometimes a few small changes may make your home look more appealing.

  • Let the light stream in. A bright home appeals to buyers. Trim plants which darken a room. A room which is painted in a dark colour will seem dark. Neutral walls, pale furniture and soft lighting go a long way toward creating a crowd-pleasing interior.
  • Remove extra furniture that clutters the space - side tables, footstools and magazine racks.
  • Create simple arrangements with maximum impact. Often people arrange their living room as if they’re hosting the neighbourhood meeting, with all the furniture lined up along the walls. Instead, place a sofa facing the fireplace, and flank it with two chairs and coffee table in between. This will create visual depth and an inviting picture.
  • Borrow pieces which could make a difference – a painting to fill an obvious gap, a carpet to warm up an uninviting room, even furniture for an empty room.

Stage the outdoors too                                                                                                                                                 Buyers often buy a lifestyle. Use this to your advantage.

  • The pool must be sparkling clean – a neglected pool will remind buyers that a pool means work. An unkempt garden will have the same effect.
  • If you have a table and chairs on the patio, put out cushions and cover the table with a pretty table cloth.
  • Hanging a hammock in your backyard could be the perfect touch.
  • Play up a postage–stamp size balcony or corner in the garden with a cafe table and chairs, a cheerful tablecloth and even a tray of dishes. Let them see that it is the perfect spot for breakfast!

Consumers to be relieved of credit burden

Following a Cabinet meeting on the 4th of September 2013 Cabinet spokesperson Phumla Williams said: "Denying previously black-listed consumers credit hinders growth."

She said this as many South Africans struggle to access credit either due to negative rating due to late payments on their study loans, default judgements from unpaid clothing or furniture accounts and those who approach the National Credit Regulator to get help with the management of their debt.

“The key to the option is to ensure that those that have settled their debt and are able to afford [taking up more] debt should be allowed to do so. They shouldn’t be disadvantaged by the five years waiting period because, if you may be aware, currently what tends to happen is that even if you have settled your debt, you still have to wait for a period of five years.

“The proposal that has been made is to ensure that those that have settled their debt are able to continue their lives in terms of doing the business that they may wish to engage in,” she said.

This proposal will soon come into effect after the Cabinet approved the recommendations of the Select Committee on Trade and International Relations following a report from the Removal of Adverse Credit Information Project.

The report’s recommendations were first discussed in Parliament last year after it was noted that denying credit to those that were previously blacklisted without considering affordability was detrimental not only to consumers, but also to the economy.

Williams said the Department of Trade and Industry still needed to conclude internal processes before the Cabinet’s decision can come into effect.

National Credit Amendment Bill approved

Meanwhile, Williams also said Cabinet had approved several other Bills, including the National Credit Amendment Bill for introduction to Parliament with an aim of assigning the national regulators more powers to implement and enforce critical credit provisions.

“The Bill aims to strengthen the capacity of the National Credit Regulator (NCR) to address certain challenges especially around court processes and to strengthen enforcement and implementation of the provisions of the National Credit Act 34 of 2005,” Williams said.

She also said that central to the challenges that led to the amendment to the Bill was that while the regulator would give consumers amnesty, there were loopholes that would see consumers being trapped in spiralling debt when they, for example, applied for more credit cards while they are undergoing debt counselling. –

Blinds as window covering

Blinds fitted as the only window covering, complement a modern minimalist look. Blinds can also be used in combination with curtains for a classic, layered look.

There are so many options from which to choose that one can easily feel confused. The most popular types of blinds are:

Roman blinds are equally suitable for contemporary or traditional settings. Made up of fabric, they are custom made to suit the furnishings of the room. When raised, the folds look neat and, when lowered, the flat panel is very effective to provide privacy. It is a very practical solution for bay windows as one can have the blinds made up in sections.

Venetian blinds are slatted blinds which come in timber, aluminium and PVC versions. Timber offers excellent insulation, aluminium creates a contemporary feel and PVC offers durability. Venetian blinds provide absolute privacy when closed. One can alter the angle of the blind slats to control the level of light in the room.

Vertical blinds are very suitable for large expanses of glass, such as sliding doors. They are ideal to protect furniture from damage by harsh sun rays. When opened, they stack to the side of the window, offering an uncluttered look.

Roller blinds are popular because they are easy to operate. They roll up tightly at the top of the window, allowing light to stream in during the day. Roller blinds are especially suitable when wall space is limited, as a roller blind can be fitted neatly into the window recess. One can combine it with other window coverings, such as curtains. When made of block-out material complete privacy is ensured.

When selecting blinds, make sure they harmonise with the interior and meet practical needs. When it comes to choosing blinds for the home, the following factors should be taken into consideration:

Blinds should complement the décor of a room. Choose a style which complements the look and feel of the room. Timber Venetian blinds offer a classic feel; aluminium Venetian blinds are more suited to a contemporary home. Also keep the exterior appeal in mind, and choose blinds which appear uniform from the outside.
Energy efficiency
Blinds can contribute to the energy efficiency of a home. Timber blinds are impressive performers in terms of energy efficient window treatments, and Roman blinds let down at sunset in winter, will keep the cold outside.
Blinds come in a range of fabrics and materials which offer varying visibility, from total block out to sunscreen which still offer some view of the outside.
Shading the interior of a home helps to maintain a comfortable temperature as well as to protect furniture and flooring from the damaging UV rays of the sun. When street lights or glaring morning sunlight is a problem, block-out blinds may be the solution. These are made from fabric with special light-reflective properties that block out strong morning sunlight or night lights that may disturb sleep. The slat structure of Venetian blinds also allows light control.
In a household with pets and small children, one may want to ensure that cords are not within their reach. Order shorter control cords which adults can operate, but children cannot reach.
In kitchens and bathrooms, choose blinds which can withstand humidity and condensation, and are easy to clean.
Good quality blinds may be expensive, but are likely to last for many years.

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