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A couple of weeks into 2014 we already notice some very interesting trends. Only a handful of properties come onto the market, and when they do, we are swamped with enquiries, especially in the price bracket below R2 000 000. In January we listed a property in Linden for R1 780 000, had an open viewing hour which were attended by 25 groups of buyers on our database, had a few offers and the property was sold - all within a few days of listing. In February we listed and sold a property for R2 490 000 within a week. At one of our show houses, we had 44 groups of buyers within a 3 hour period.

In the areas we serve, it seems to be more of a seller's market than a buyer's market, and sellers who are considering to sell, should use the shortage of properties and growing buyers'interest to their own benefit.

The first article in our newletter is about the property market in 2014, with some interesting statistics. If you are thinking of moving this year, we share some tips on packing and moving. If renovations are on the to do list, the article "Renovations:Plan before you swing the mallet", may be of interest. Lastly, we share a well-illustrated article compiled by ADT about the prevention of gate derailings, which unfortunately is becoming a common problem in Johannesburg.

Please remember that we love referrals! If you know of someone whom we can help with selling or renting a property, or with 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

What to expect of the property market in 2014

On the positive side:
• Despite the rate increase, interest rates are still low and repayments much more affordable than a few years ago.
• The property market seems to be moving in the right direction, with 2 consecutive years of positive average house price growth – 7.1% in 2012 and 6.8% in 2013 as per data released by FNB House Price Index.
• Ooba’s metrics as well as the National Credit Regulator’s data show that lenders have eased their lending criteria. This resulted in an increase in bond approvals. In 2013, Ooba achieved approvals for on average 74.21% of the home loans it processed. One can expect this trend to continue.
• The gap between supply and demand seems to be closing. In 2013, on average, the majority - 52.47% - of homes purchased were by first-time buyers. Figures show that residential building activity slowed in 2013. A number of metropolitan areas which had an oversupply of properties are now experiencing stock shortages. Property prices are likely to be boosted by the higher demand and lower supply.
• A recent Absa report shows that it is currently as much as 37% more expensive to buy a newly-built home than it is to buy a similar pre-owned home. This creates a margin for renovation and modernisation of older homes without overcapitalising.
• There is a steady increase in the number of enquiries by buyers and visitors at show houses.
• It is not unusual to receive multiple offers on a property.
• Although paying 10 - 20% deposit is still preferable, and is rewarded with better interest rate offers, 100% bonds are becoming more common.
On the negative side:
• Affordability will become more and more of an issue as interest rate hikes , the higher price of petrol, and rising food and electricity costs affect disposable income.
• Continued high levels of household debt will still hamper some buyers’ chances of obtaining financing.
• As property prices increase beyond expectation in certain areas, banks’ assessors may find it difficult to ‘find value’. We have already seen this in an instance or two. Buyers may then not be able to obtain 100% or 90% bonds and may have to put down a larger deposit.

Packing and moving tips

Before you start thinking about which moving company to use, the entire family may want to engage in clearing out their junk. The goal is to reduce the potential load as much as possible by deciding objectively what you REALLY need at the new address.

An area such as the garage can be designated as the one location where everyone can slowly store unnecessary items. When the process is complete, you can plan and conduct a garage sale. Anything not sold may be given to a charitable organisation.

It is really a pleasure to have an experienced, professional mover perform the entire task. Most companies charge for each box provided, as well as a separate charge for labour, usually based on the size of each container. Which is why minimising your load and well-planned packing is so much more cost effective. Apart from the well-known companies, the furniture removal network provides a list of accredited suppliers on their website -

Moving yourself requires proper supplies, prior planning, and a lot of your time. Start at least one month in advance by packing a few boxes a day. Obtaining free, sturdy boxes is easy if you make an arrangement with your local supermarket or liquor store so they will keep some aside for you.

Collect old newspapers for protective wrapping and/or plain brown paper for items that mark easily. You will also need plastic bags and bubble wrap for fragile  items. Purchase some twist ties or cable ties for sealing bags, plastic packaging tape for sealing the boxes, a razor blade knife and a big marker pen.

It will help to tackle your house room by room and store them consecutively to ease unpacking on the other side. As each box is packed, mark it to indicate which room the box will be placed in and itemise the contents. Make sure to mark the boxes on both sides for easy identification from the truck.

Do not include your valuables in the shipment of your household goods. It is best to create a special box containing things like bank account books, currency, jewellery, insurance policies, medical, dental and school records which will accompany you.

Use bubble wrap and flat cardboard strips around mirrors and paintings. Make protective corners for them out of the cardboard too. Wrap all crockery individually and take care not to stack glasses. Zigzag strips of paper through stacked saucers and invert pot lids into the pots before wrapping them together. Loosen guitar strings, secure or remove grandfather clock pendulums. Wrap table and chair legs for added protection and to prevent damage to other items. Secure the washing machine drum with the stabiliser supplied on purchase of product. Move fridges and all white appliances in upright position. Lock piano lids. Pack books in small boxes so as to avoid them becoming too heavy. Pack a core of items surrounded by loose clothing for protection. Pack toiletries in separate sealed plastic bags.

Finally, when you arrive at your new home, make up your beds first so you can have a good night's rest.

Renovations: Plan before you swing the mallet

Consider some of the following tips before you start your renovations:

  1. First establish what your overall goal is: more living space, a master bedroom suite, another full bathroom?
  2. Do your homework to ensure that the property at the end of the renovations is worth more than the cost of the renovations. Contact your local estate agent for an expert opinion on how much value your proposed renovation will add to your home.
  3. Establish your budget; whether for loans, contractors or materials, you need to shop around to find the best deal. Make sure to interview several contractors and compare prices. Whether you choose high-end, mid-grade or low-cost, materials can have a big impact on your budget.
  4. Ensure your proposed renovations are in keeping with the style of your original home.
  5. Have building plans approved by council if the renovation involves additions or changes to the interior layout. Do not omit this important step. It can cost you dearly at a later stage when you want to sell your property and  copies of approved building plans are asked for by the buyer or his bank.

Now that you are ready to start finding a contractor, what should you ask?

  1. What are your credentials?
  2. Do you have a portfolio of previous projects?
  3. Do you have contactable references?
  4. Does this project require subcontractors?
  5. How long will the project take to be completed?

Remember to add any questions specific to your situation.

Inform your neighbours
Let your neighbours know in advance what is going to happen with your home renovation and what they can expect. As long as you are considerate, chances are they will be very supportive and excited for you, as well as eager to see the final product.

Work with your contractor
Keep an open line of communication with your contractor. Check in with the site supervisor every day to see how things are progressing. If you notice a problem, discuss it immediately. The sooner you point out the problem, the easier it will be to correct.

Have a timeline
Be sure your contractor provides you with a timeline for your renovation. It is best to have this broken into stages, that way you can have a better idea of what to expect. It also allows you to make sure your project can be completed on time.

Think of your family
If you are staying in the house during the renovation, your kids may not be able to play everywhere that they are used to playing. Plan excursions out of the house to make the process easier on them. Also create a sense of excitement and anticipation in your kids that can make the renovation more fun for them.

Get out, if possible
If this is a major renovation, try to move out. It can be extremely uncomfortable, if not impossible, to live with that kind of work going on. Find an apartment that allows a short term lease and is close to your home.

Secure your gate to prevent derailings

ADT compiled a well-illustrated article about  measures which  can be taken to make sure that you do not become a victim of this problem. Securing your gate.

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