What buyers should ask at show days

show-daysShow days can tell you a lot more about a property than just its layout or perhaps the condition of its roof – provided you ask the right questions.

So says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group, who believes prospective buyers should not be afraid to ask, for example, whether the agent has already had any offers on the property that the seller has rejected.

“The answer to that question should give you a good idea of how other people have responded to the property and whether the seller is willing to negotiate. And that should help you to decide if you’re really interested in buying this property and if so, how to frame an offer that the seller is likely to accept.”

But before you do that, he says, you should also ask how long the property has been on the market. If it is getting a little “tired”, the seller might be open to a lower offer. Alternatively he or she might be holding out for an unrealistic price, in which case you should probably just move on to your next prospect.

Prospective buyers attending show days should also ask, Everitt says, why the current owners of the property are selling. “The agent showing the house might not want to discuss this, but on the other hand the sellers might not mind you knowing that they are urgently relocating to another city for work, or that they are a bit uncertain about when their new home will be ready and would appreciate some flexibility around occupation dates.

“And again, any information that you can glean will help you decide whether to make an offer and what terms might make it more acceptable to the seller.”

However, he notes, it’s no use making an offer if the bank is unlikely to find sufficient value in the property to approve a bond at the price being asked.

“This, too, is information that you can request on a show day. You can ask to see a comparative market analysis (CMA) showing the price and other details of similar homes recently sold in the same area, which is what the bank will also use as the basis for assessing the ‘market value’ of the property.

“If the agent does not have a CMA immediately available, he or she should be willing to get one to you within a day or two after the show day – along with the other documentation you should ask to see before you make an offer.

“This includes any certificates of compliance applicable to the property (electrical,plumbing and gas are now standard), the conduct rules and the current financial statements if the property is in a sectional title complex or estate, the latest account from the local authority showing that rates and utility payments are up to date, and preferably, a copy of the title deed so you can check that there are no awkward servitudes or restrictions applicable to the property.”

Then finally, Everitt says, you should use show days as an opportunity to gather whatever information you can about the area, its community and any crime fighting initiatives, and its schools, shops and public transport – “bearing in mind that location is just as important, if not more so, than the state of the property you came to see”.

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Double check the rates clearance certificate

property-rates-clearance-certificateIf you’re a home buyer currently, it’s important to make absolutely sure now that the seller has paid off every last cent that might have been owed to the municipality before you take transfer of the property says Berry Everitt of the Chas Everitt Property Group.

Previously, you might have assumed that this aspect of the transaction would have been taken care of by the fact that the local authority has to issue a rates clearance certificate – which states that all rates and service charges owing on the property have been paid in full – before transfer can take place.

Now, however, things are not so certain, because an Appeal Court decision taken last year means that municipalities have to issue a rates clearance certificate to facilitate transfers even if sellers have only paid all the amounts due for the two years prior to the sale of a property.

In other words, there could still be large amounts outstanding for the years prior to that time period, and there is now a possibility, albeit slight, that you as the new property owner could become liable for these debts once you take transfer. So don’t rely on the rates clearance certificate; rather ask the seller directly for proof that all municipal debts have been settled.

* Meanwhile, if you are a property seller, don’t forget to give your bank 90 days’ notice of your intention to cancel your bond – or you could have to pay a hefty penalty equal to several months’ bond interest, which could be put to far better use to reduce your new home loan.

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Massive support for new property team in Jeffreys Bay

jeffreys-bay-rentals-sales-officeThe new Chas Everitt International team in Jeffreys Bay has really taken the local property market by storm!

“We opened a new office in Fountains Mall in December with just one agent in attendance,” says local Chas Everitt International franchise owner Brendon Lahana “but the response to the brand was so positive that we immediately had to start expanding to meet the demand from Jeffreys Bay property sellers and people urgently looking for both holiday and long-term rental properties.

“Indeed, we now have a whole team of people in place, and are urgently looking for more experienced and qualified estate agents to join the branch.”

The Fountains Mall team consists of manager and master agent Tracy de Jager; Jeffreys Bay rental and sales agent Lynette Havenga, who also works in Humansdorp; specialist agricultural sales agent Deon Taljaard, administrator Melody MacBride and marketer Sian Hamilton-Browne.

“At the moment,” says Brendon, “we are also on a campaign to get more landlords in Jeffreys Bay to list their rental properties with us as we have so many qualified tenants searching for accommodation in and around J-Bay.”

There is also growing demand from buyers for property in Jeffreys Bay, he says, and in St Francis, where he is based, having converted his top local agency Bay Estates to the Chas Everitt International brand late last year.

“We have been delighted with the change,” he says. “The group not only shares our long-standing vision and core values but is also dedicated to ongoing agent training and support, which enables us to attract the best estate agents in both sales and rentals to join our teams.

“The brand recognition is also very strong – as illustrated by the response we have had in Jeffreys Bay – while the group’s advanced use of business technology and online marketing platforms helps us to provide our clients with fabulous service, including the ability to give sellers’ properties the widest possible exposure to potential buyers nationally and internationally.”

jeffreys-bay-property

For more info contact Brendon Lahana on 084 637 2357 or email brendonl@everitt.co.za

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Very last stands at Goose Valley Golf Estate go on sale

goose-valley-golf-estateThe Goose Valley Golf Estate, with its Gary Player signature course, is one of the most sought-after addresses on the Cape’s famous Garden Route, and a favourite choice for both local and overseas property investors.

And now the last parcel of land suitable for development within this estate has finally been released to the market, giving buyers the opportunity to acquire one of just 22 large stands on which to build the home of their dreams.

Situated in beautiful Plettenberg Bay, the Goose Valley Golf Estate is a longstanding and highly successful lifestyle estate that already encompasses three fully-fledged residential developments around the golf course, including a 272-unit sectional title scheme and the Turtle Creek and Fairway Close freehold housing developments.

“There are, however, always enquiries about stands here as well as built homes,” says John Fuller of marketing agency Chas Everitt International Plettenberg Bay, “and we are very proud to have been given the exclusive mandate to market the stands in Lynnwood Estate, which will no doubt be the final development to take place in Goose Valley.”

These stands range in size from 1278 square metres to 1583 square metres and are priced from R1,1 million to R1,3 million, VAT inclusive. Home design guidelines and advice are being provided by controlling architects Starkey Olivier, who are also the estate architects at Simola and Pezula in Knysna and at The Links in St Francis Bay.

The land just released for Lynnwood Estate, Fuller notes, is situated right in the middle of the golf course, and in deference to its environmental sensitivity, 40% of it will be retained as green belt areas, which will add to the space and privacy that the residents will enjoy.

They will, however, have access to Goose Valley Golf Estate’s full range of sporting and leisure facilities and the benefit of its excellent security provisions. Membership of the Goose Valley Golf Club will be available and there are also golf practice facilities, tennis and squash courts, walking/jogging and cycling trails, and swimming, boating and fishing facilities. The clubhouse has a pro-shop and a restaurant, and the estate is only about 2 kilometres from the centre of Plettenberg Bay and the Market Square shopping mall.

The security provisions include electrified perimeter fencing with embedded underground steel grids, infra-red and thermal imaging cameras every 80 metres, a guarded entrance with security control room, and 24-hour foot and motor security patrols.

“But above all,” says Fuller, “investors in Lynnwood Estate will enjoy a substantial advantage in that they are buying within a proven, highly successful and desirable estate without any of the normal risks associated with such new developments. And, because the Goose Valley Golf Estate is also without doubt Plettenberg Bay’s most popular holiday destination, those who wish to will also be able to derive an excellent income from their properties.”

FOR MORE INFO CONTACT JOHN FULLER | 082 905 1516 | johnf@everitt.co.za

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Top honours for Stellenbosch Estate Agent

stellenbosch-estate-agent-elmarie-van-huyssteenStellenbosch’s own Elmarie van Huyssteen – who is one of the best-known estate agents working in the town – has just been named by the Chas Everitt International property group as its Top Non-Metro Agent, not only in the Western Cape but in the whole of South Africa.

Her awards were presented by group MD Berry Everitt during a recent ceremony held at Asara wine estate, and were made in recognition of Elmarie’s outstanding performance for 2013. What makes this achievement even more special is the fact that she has won these same awards for three out of the past four years.

Raised in Stellenbosch, Elmarie matriculated at Jan van Riebeeck High School in Cape Town. She studied at Stellenbosch and Pretoria universities, and lectured at UNISA in International Politics before exchanging her academic career for a very rewarding 18 years in the real estate business.

After starting the Chas Everitt International franchise in Stellenbosch and operating it for 10 years, she recently opted for the new Chas Everitt Notebook© model and currently enjoys owning and managing one of the four Notebook outlets in Stellenbosch.

The love of property and people are the passions that drive her in this extremely competitive industry. “Respect for our clients and the skill to focus on their needs and wants are what this business is all about,” she says.

This is reflected in the fact that some of her investor buyers have repeatedly bought and sold properties through Elmarie over the years. Although the investor market is lively in Stellenbosch, Elmarie says the most rewarding clients to work with are the local homeowners with whom not only business is conducted but with whom solid friendships have formed over the years. “We have the most wonderful people around, and it is my privilege to meet so many of them!”

However, she says that she could not have done it without the support of the team and the encouraging ethos that pervades the whole Chas Everitt group. The high quality of support in both systems and people are a vital part of her success.

Elmarie says she is also extremely fortunate to have a very supportive family to provide her with good work/ life balance. She is married to Johan, a civil engineer, and has a daughter Bernice and son-in-law Martin.

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