Harcourts International appoints South African to lead global real estate organisation

Somerset West, Cape Town native Steve Caradoc-Davies to lead global real estate franchise group
Global real estate franchise group, Harcourts International, today announced the appointment of Steve Caradoc-Davies as Chief Executive Officer to lead the 132-year-old company into the next era. Mr Caradoc-Davies will take over leadership of the 900-office network and approximately 10,000 team members in nine countries, from Mike Green, who takes on a new focus within the business. Both changes are effective 1 October 2019.
“Steve brings a unique understanding from his 30 years in the real estate business, having held roles in property management, sales, office management, owning his own franchise for over 25 years and developing it into the best-performing Harcourts office in South Africa,” said Mr Green.

“More importantly though, Steve is passionate about Harcourts. He loves our culture and values and has a very strong level of integrity and caring. I believe he will take our organisation to the next level.”

The change in leadership has been planned as part of a succession plan and aligns with the organisation’s long-term focus on strategic initiatives across digital marketing, technology, training, people & culture and client experience. Mr Caradoc-Davies will lead the executive leadership team to support the long-term vision of the business, while continuing to add greater value to the franchise business owners and their teams, who are the foundation of the Harcourts Group.

“First, I must acknowledge the extraordinary achievement Mike has had leading Harcourts for the last 20 years and creating an incredibly successful business, a strong family culture and a vision where people are at the heart of everything we do,” said Mr Caradoc-Davies. “Thank you to the Harcourts board for entrusting me with this responsibility. It is a privilege and honour for me to lead Harcourts into the next chapter.”

Prior to joining the corporate leadership team at Harcourts, Mr Caradoc-Davies was business owner of the number one Harcourts franchise office from 2014-2019 in South Africa, Harcourts Platinum, in Somerset West, Cape Town, which also achieved an international Harcourts Top 20 Steve Caradoc-Davies ranking from 2014-2019. He has played an active role in Harcourts South Africa, serving as a director on the board since 2005.

As only the third chief executive in the history of Harcourts International, Mr Caradoc-Davies’ role is aimed at further strengthening the company’s global presence and service to its franchisees, and he will oversee the network across Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Fiji, Indonesia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States.

An accomplished businessperson, industry thought leader and keynote speaker with specific interest in strategic business and team growth, Mr Caradoc-Davies is based in Brisbane, Australia.

Franchise Business Owners Applaud Appointment

The appointment to CEO of Mr Caradoc-Davies has been applauded by Harcourts franchise business owners globally.
Louis Barbosa, owner of Harcourts Rhino in Roodepoort, Gauteng, the number two ranked office in South Africa and a member of the Harcourts South Africa board, said:

“We are excited at the appointment of Steve Caradoc-Davies! Steve comes from the coal face, having served in the trenches and learnt the real estate trade from the bottom up. He fully understands the industry, and more important his blood is truly blue. We are sure that he will lead by example and will take Harcourts International to new heights. We wish him everything of the best in the future and look forward to his visionary leadership.”

Dane Atherton, business owner of Harcourts Coastal, the #1 ranked Australia office, based on the Gold Coast said:

“What I am most excited and confident about is that Mike has hand-selected someone who is proven in the trenches as successful and passionate about Harcourts.

“Steve has real estate in his blood and that is massive for this new role. He’s a Hall of Famer in South Africa and was number one in South Africa, he is a guy who ‘gets’ Harcourts. We have total confidence in him because he understands Harcourts and the culture because our culture is our number one differentiator. The Harcourts DNA, Mike’s DNA, is part of every business owner and that includes Steve. I trust Mike’s decision to hand the baton to the next generation.”

Mike Green Legacy

In 1997, Mike and Irene Green moved to Australia from New Zealand after establishing and operating the most successful Harcourts franchise in New Zealand with 9 offices and 150 people, achieving the number one position for four consecutive years. In 1999, Mr Green became Managing Director of Harcourts International, responsible for the overall operation and direction of Harcourts’ group of companies, taking it from an initial group of 100 offices in two countries to over 900 in nine countries today. At the same time, Irene Green took over as Head of the Harcourts Academy, leading the development and delivery of industry leading training and development for the entire Group.

The strategic growth has led Harcourts to be the fastest growing real estate franchise network in Australasia and the #1 in New Zealand for 20 years running, as well as numbernumber 3 in Australia after only 18 years’ operating there and number 4 in South Africa after only 10 years. The Group achieved a combined $35bn in sales last year and gained market share in every market in which it operates.

“The past 20 years has been a wonderful and extraordinary journey – it’s been fun, challenging, hugely rewarding and really quite amazing to be a part of all that we have achieved as a group,” said Mr Green.

“However, I believe the time is right for me personally, to step back and take a little more time away from the business especially now Irene and I have grandparent duties.”

Mr Green began his real estate career at the age of 19, in Auckland for independent office Burrett and Veitch in Parnell, before moving to Christchurch in 1983. After 5 years in Christchurch with Collins Real Estate, then Harcourts as it became, Mike and Irene moved to Auckland where Mike became the Assistant Regional Manager for Harcourts. After 2 years in this role, he and Irene changed direction and became owners of their first Auckland franchise office, Mike Green Real Estate Ltd (Epsom). Growing the business to nine offices and over 150 people, the operation achieved No 1 Harcourts Franchise for Harcourts New Zealand for four consecutive years.

Mike and Irene Green moved to Australia in 1997 beginning Harcourts’ international growth.

Mr Green is a co-owner of Harcourts with Irene Green and Paul Wright and will continue to sit on the board of directors and serve the global business in a limited capacity across strategic initiatives.

About Harcourts International

Harcourts has been in the real estate business since 1888. With over 900 offices in nine countries, Harcourts International is one of the fastest growing real estate groups in the world.

Harcourts offers a full range of real estate services, specializing in residential, commercial and rural property sales as well as property management services. Harcourts works closely with several affiliate groups including Mortgage Express, Landmark Harcourts, Luxury Property Selection, NAI Harcourts and Harcourts Complete to offer clients a comprehensive real estate solution.

Why people thrive in co-working spaces

So what’s so special about co-working?

“Co-working spaces attract diverse groups of people such as entrepreneurs, remote workers, independent professionals and people from large companies who work together in a communal setting,” says Linda Trim, Director at FutureSpace, a high-end workspace joint venture between Investec Property and workplace specialists Giant Leap with two offices in Sandton.

“This seems to be create a special alchemy of contentment.”

Trim cites a study in the Harvard Business Review by researchers Garrett, Bacevice and Spreitzer which found that people working at co-working spaces were not just more satisfied and productive than those in regular offices, but were also much more engaged in shaping their future and the company’s future.

“But perhaps the most important factor that the research uncovered was that these people where thriving at work because they saw their work as more meaningful than those in regular offices,” says Trim.

So why are there such differences?

Firstly, unlike a traditional office, co-working spaces consist of members who work for a range of different companies, ventures, and projects.

“Because there is little direct competition or internal politics, they don’t feel they have to put on a work persona to fit in. Working amongst people doing different kinds of work can also make one’s own work identity stronger,” says Trim.

Secondly, meaning may come from working in a culture where it is the norm to help each other out, and there are many opportunities to do so. The variety of workers in the space means that co-workers have unique skill sets that they can provide to other community members.

Meaning may also be derived from the essence of co-working: community, collaboration and learning.

“It’s not simply the case that a person is going to work, they’re also part of a global social movement,” Trim adds.

Co-workers often say that having a community to work in helps them create structures and discipline that motivates them.

Thirdly, they also have more job control. Co-working spaces are normally accessible 24/7. People can decide whether to put in a long day when they have a deadline or want to show progress, or can decide to take a long break in the middle of the day to go to the gym, says Trim.

“They can choose whether they want to work in a quiet space so they can focus, or in a more collaborative space with shared tables where interaction is easier.”

Even though the co-working movement has its origins among freelancers, entrepreneurs and the tech industry, it’s increasingly relevant for a broader range of people and organisations.

“In fact, co-working can become part of your company’s strategy, and it can help your people and your business thrive. An increasing number of companies are incorporating co-working into their business strategies,” says Trim.

Real estate investments in South Africa have grown more complex over the years, and many are becoming more anxious about its near decade long slump

Property prices for low and middle-income markets have grown in the first quarter. The value of new mortgages has risen by 8%, according to SA Home Loans. This is the highest in eight years. While South African-real-housing prices are-dropping and have been since 2016 to 2018. However, a closer look presented by the First National Bank (FNB) Property Barometer paints a different picture. According to FNB in nominal terms, year-on-year residential properties grew by 4.1%. But when adjusted for inflation, the prices of residential properties in the country are, in fact, decreasing.

While real estate remains one of the most attractive markets in the world, many are venturing into other investment strategies to diversify and maximise capital gains. If you’re only familiar with property investments, here’s a definitive guide on how it compares with other investment strategies:

Stock Market

While both are based on ownership, stocks and property investments are widely different. Stock markets are a bourse where you buy and sell shares of stocks, bonds, and securities. A data driven comparison on Towards Data Science points out that, against real estate investments, stock markets are cheaper, have higher returns, and are less risky. While stocks can be bought and sold in milliseconds, it takes at least sixteen weeks in South Africa to offload a real estate property. This means it’s harder to take advantage of real-time trends. The costs alone in property investments, including the new risks from the recently enacted Property Practitioners Act, overshadow the potential earnings compared to stocks.

Forex Market

The foreign exchange market is the polar opposite to real estate markets. The Forex market is the decentralised trading of currencies at a given price. Unlike the meticulous and complex requirements that go into real estate investments, the Forex market has low capital requirements and transaction costs. You gain profit by predicting movements of a currency against another.

The Balance highlights that currency trading is a 24 hour market which means whenever there’s an open market, you’ll be able to trade. Compared to immovable properties, traded currencies are liquid assets —easily convertible to cash. In fact, FXCM explains how the Forex market is the largest liquid market in the world with a daily trading volume of over $5 trillion (R73 trillion). Similar to how banks can back real estate investments, you can leverage your capital for higher gains in Forex through brokers.

Gold Markets

Considered as safe havens, gold and precious metals markets are more resilient to economic downturns and recessions. Like real estate, gold is a long-term investment. In tough economic times, investors tend to exchange cash for gold —pushing gold prices higher. As it’s less volatile compared to stocks, many investors advise putting gold at the foundation of your investment portfolio. As opposed to property values, however, the value of gold changes more often.

Despite the risks involved, investors are becoming more comfortable with real estate as it’s more tangible. As a passive income, the monthly rent that you get from properties can look more enticing than quarterly dividends from stocks. Nonetheless, a diversified and recession-proof portfolio remains the best investment strategy.

Source: Propertyinsider.com

Sellers, Choose Your Transferring Attorney

It is usually the right of the seller to nominate the attorney who will handle the transfer of their property and all the associated legal matters – and for good reason.  Of course, that doesn’t make it illegal for the purchaser to nominate the attorney.  However, the seller does expose himself to significant risk should he allow anyone other than his nominated attorney to effect the transfer.

In some cases, a purchaser may insist that his attorney be appointed.  This is usually motivated based on the fact that their attorney had agreed a lower fee to handle the transfer.  In other instances, there may be a linked sale – where the purchaser has a property that is being sold – and it is suggested that it’s easier for one attorney to deal with both matters.

Should a seller consider allowing the purchaser’s attorney to handle the transfer? In our experience, a seller should avoid this if at all possible.

When the seller appoints the attorney, then the conveyancer acts for the seller to ensure the contract is adhered to.  Both seller and buyer have obligations in a contract of sale – and the attorney needs to ensure that all parties fulfil these obligations.

When the attorney is appointed by the purchaser, and there is a dispute or non-performance by the purchaser, it becomes very difficult for the attorney to act against their client.  We’ve often been told that, in such a situation, they have a conflict of interest.

In reality what this means for the seller is that he has to then consult his own attorney and incur costs in doing so.  To further complicate matters, if the deposit is held by the transferring attorney who acts for the purchaser, the seller will have difficulty claiming damages against the deposit.  In such a case the transferring attorney will hold the deposit pending the result of a court case or settlement.

The situation gets even worse for a seller when the purchaser takes occupation prior to transfer.  We’ve often seen purchasers move into a property and then claim the seller has concealed defects.  They insist they are rectified at the sellers’ cost – even when the seller is not at fault.

In such a situation the seller is left with the option of either complying with the purchaser’s demands or taking legal steps to ensure the purchaser performs.   This results in delays and additional costs for the seller.

There is a counter-argument that the buyer has little protection in the event that the sellers’ conveyancer is used.  However, the conveyancer has a legal obligation to ensure the seller also complies with the contract.  In the event that the seller fails to do so, and the purchaser can prove such, the conveyancer has to protect the purchasers’ legal rights.

In our experience, where the estate agent has ensured the seller discloses relevant defects, and the contract is clear on the obligations or all parties, the potential for disputes can be minimized.


Steve Caradoc-Davies

Principal, Harcourts Platinum

Customers paying off home loans in just over 10 years, says FNB

While many South Africans dream of becoming homeowners, once the dream has been realised, the next big goal for home owners is to work towards being home loan free.

Although the familiar standard term for paying off your home loan is 20 years, over the years, homeowners have become more inclined to reduce the time it takes them to pay off their mortgages by easily adjusting some of their financial behaviours and bringing down their bond repayment terms.

“Our data shows that over the last 12 years there’s been an increase in the number of customers paying off their home loans in just over 10 years, moving from an average of 7 years in 2007/2008. This shift can be attributed to the global economic turmoil which led to the beginning of the 2008 credit crunch. However, even at the height of the credit crunch (2009 – 2011) customers were still paying off their bonds within 12 years,” says Lee Mhlongo, CEO of FNB Home Finance.

This dispels the notion that a home loan must be paid off over 20 years. Although the conversion is for customers to sign up for a 20-year term.

“There is clear evidence that customers are choosing to settle their home loans well before that time through well executed money management principles. We’ve also found that homeowners with smaller loan sizes take the longest period and that those with larger loans take the shortest time to payoff.

This can generally be attributed to entry-level-income earners having less disposable income to make extra payments as compared to higher income earners who have much more room to make substantial additional payments towards their home loans,” adds Mhlongo.

Although most home owners don’t have the extra income to go into one’s bond monthly, especially if they are first-time buyers, changes such as the recently announced interest rate cut by 25 basis points also plays a huge role in allowing customers to easily pay off their home loans earlier and save a massive amount in interest, provided they choose to keep their bond payments unchanged.

“In the end, paying off your mortgage early really boils down to one managing their short-term and long-term financial plans well,” concludes Lee.


Source : http://sapropertyinsider.co.za

The Best And Worst Ways To Use Home Equity, According To Experts

There’s a right and a wrong way to tap your home’s value.
The positive difference between what you owe on your property and its current value ― can be one of your biggest financial tools as a homeowner. As of last year, untapped home equity reached an all-time high of $14.4 trillion, about $1 trillion more than its pre-recession peak in 2005.

But before you begin funneling funds out of your home, know there’s a right way and wrong way to do it. We rounded up the best and worst ways to leverage home equity, according to finance experts.

How To Leverage Home Equity
There are a few ways homeowners can tap into the equity they’ve accumulated.

One option is a home equity loan. This type of loan is similar to a traditional mortgage, which is why it’s also sometimes referred to as a second mortgage. Home equity loans are installment loans, which means the funds are disbursed in one lump sum and paid back over time in equal payments. They’re also backed by ― you guessed it ― your home’s equity. Usually, home equity loans have a fixed rate that’s a bit higher than the primary mortgage but can be much lower than rates on other types of borrowing.

Another way to leverage home equity is through a home equity line of credit, or HELOC. Unlike a home equity loan, a HELOC allows you to borrow against your equity repeatedly and then pay off the balance, much like a credit card. Some HELOCs require that a minimum amount is disbursed initially, but there are no closing costs. Many HELOCs also provide a debit card and checks that you can use to easily access the funds.

There is one more option known as a cash-out refinance. Rather than taking out a secondary loan or line of credit, this involves refinancing the mortgage for a higher amount and taking the difference in cash. Even though you don’t necessarily take on an additional loan with this method, you still increase your overall debt load (with your home as the collateral) and pay closing costs.

4 Best Uses Of Home Equity
If you’ve built up equity in your home over the years and are looking for a smart way to leverage it, there are a few ways to do it.

1. High-Value Home Improvements

One of the most common uses of home equity is to invest in home renovations and upgrades. “The improvements that you make on the home will increase the value of your home and build more equity as a result,” said Jared Weitz, founder and CEO of United Capital Source in Great Neck, New York. “In some instances, home improvement projects such as adding insulation to your attic or installing solar panels can, over time, generate more value than the cost to complete.”

That’s not always the case, however. Some home renovations actually contribute to a lower home value. So before you borrow against your equity for a fancy kitchen upgrade or new pool, be sure it’s going to help, not harm, the resale value.

2. High-Interest Debt Consolidation

If you have other types of debt that are accumulating interest at a much higher rate, using your home equity to consolidate it could be a smart move, according to Tony Matheson, a certified financial planner and founder of Matheson Financial Partners in Walnut Creek, California.

However, that comes with a big, fat caveat. Debt can happen for a number of reasons. Perhaps you had to take out private student loans for college or live off credit cards during a period of unemployment. Matheson said that homeowners should first address the reason why that debt accumulated in the first place before considering debt consolidation using their home’s equity. “If it was spending beyond your means, you need to address that issue first or you’ll soon be right back in the same place, just with more debt,” he said.

3. Emergency Fund

Ideally, you have about six months’ worth of expenses tucked away in an emergency fund with your bank or credit union. But, as we all know, things don’t always work out ideally.

If you experience a financial emergency and you’re in the midst of a cash crunch, your home’s equity can serve as a low-interest alternative to credit cards or payday loans.

Keep in mind that if you don’t have an existing HELOC in place, it might be too late to qualify for one once an emergency arises, according to Kyle C. Jackson, a certified financial planner and senior wealth manager at Jackson Wealth Advisors in Ada, Oklahoma. But if you do have one in place, Jackson said, it would be a smart way to address short-term financial needs while you ride out the storm.

4. Real Estate Investing

If you’re an experienced real estate investor, your existing home equity can be leveraged to purchase additional investment property. “You might be taking out debt here on your home, but you’re exchanging that debt for another asset that potentially produces income,” said Russ Ford, a financial planner in Indianapolis and founder of Wayfinder Financial.

That said, real estate investing is risky business. “I’d emphasize working with somebody else who has plenty of experience if it’s your first purchase, so you don’t get yourself between a rock and a hard place. Always remember it’s not always smart to buy a property just because you can,” he said.

4 Worst Ways To Use Home Equity
Though home equity can be used to accomplish a number of financial goals, it doesn’t always make sense to touch it. Remember, your home is the collateral, so if you’re unable to pay back what you’ve borrowed against the equity, you could lose your property.

Below are a few situations in which it just doesn’t make sense to rely on home equity.

1. Buy A Car

Buying a vehicle using home equity funds is generally a bad idea. “I hear people wanting to do this all of the time, simply because the payment is lower,” said Bryan Haggard, a certified financial planner and owner of Michigan-based RetireMitten Financial.

He explained there are two main reasons why you should almost never consider this. First, the interest rates on car loans have been relatively low, so you’ll likely end up paying a higher rate on a home equity loan or line of credit. Second, the payoff terms on home equity loans are generally quite long. “So instead of paying off a loan within five years, you may spend the next 20 to 30 years paying off a car,” he said. Not only would you end up with a loan that would likely last longer than the car, but you’ll accumulate tons of interest over that time.

2. Invest In The Stock Market

As tempting as it may be, another overly risky move is using home equity funds to invest in stocks and other securities.

For one, the cost of interest on the loan will significantly eat into your returns. “And when you consider in the short-term market downturns that are often possible, you are better off leaving your money in a lower-risk investment,” Weitz said. “If things go south, you run the risk of not only losing out in the market but also on your home.”

3. Fund A Vacation, Wedding Or Other Expensive Luxury

You worked hard to buy your home and want it to continue appreciating over time, so one of the worst things you can do is treat home equity like a free piggy bank, said Ron Strobel, a certified financial planner and founder of the Idaho firm Retire Sensibly.

Using home equity to pay for vacations, weddings and other non-appreciating expenses is at best a waste of the value you accumulated in your home. At worst, it puts your home at risk if you can’t pay back the funds you borrowed. If you can’t pay for these luxuries out-of-pocket, it might be a good idea to rethink your budget or give yourself some more time to save up.

4. Cover Daily Expenses

Finally, using home equity to fund your lifestyle and daily consumption is never recommended. “Ideally, you invest your home equity in something that is highly likely to improve your life or provide a financial return on your investment,” said Justin Pritchard, a Colorado-based certified financial planner and founder of Approach Financial Inc. “If you’re borrowing to fund your standard living expenses, that money is probably not being put to its best use.”

If that’s the case, it might be a good idea to talk with a financial advisor and come up with a plan for getting your finances on track.

Serious Sellers Need to Hear This

Every market in the world operates on the basis of supply and demand.  The same is true of the real estate market.  When demand is strong and supply is low, then prices increase.  When demand is low and supply is high, then prices decrease.

Writing to you from Brisbane, Australia, I can confirm that it’s the same whether you’re sitting in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the USA, or anywhere on this planet.  What we’re seeing in many markets is that economic pressures have drastically reduced the number of buyers in the market and their purchasing ability.

South Africa, as well as Australia, has just come out the other end of an election.  There’s a lot of talk of government stability and the desire to stimulate the economy.  But the reality is that solutions will take time to impact the man on the street.  The economic factors that existed before the election still exist today.  And they’re not pretty.

So what does this mean for you if you’re a serious seller?  It means that the only way to obtain a result in this market is to listen to market feedback and make sure that you represent the very best value in your price range.

And I’m serious about being “the very best value”.  In markets like these, the buyers will shortlist and view only the properties they believe represent the best value.  So if you are not seen to represent the best value you won’t even get feet through your door.  And without buyer enquiry and viewings there is no chance of a sale.

What if you have buyer viewings but you haven’t received any offers?  That simply means you are attracting the wrong buyers.  Because your price is too high, you’ve attracted buyers looking for a property that is bigger, newer, or offers more.  They’re not offering on your property, as they’re not looking for a property like yours.

The buyers who are looking for a property like yours aren’t even calling your agent to view it.

Here’s the bad news:  unless you change your price to attract the right buyers, nothing is going to change.  I haven’t read one opinion from an economic expert that is expecting the South African economy and the property market to strengthen significantly in the next year or two.  I’ve read plenty of sales pitches to suggest it will.  But the cold reality is that this market we’re in now is here to stay for a while, at best.  Let’s be positive and not consider the impact of a recession.

This is not doom and gloom.  This is just a reality check.  I believe that the property market is still the most resilient and represents the lowest risk.  But if you want to sell in the next 2 years then you need a result now.  The longer you take the less you sell for.  Listen to the market.  Be the best value, and you’ll sell.

Steve Caradoc-Davies

General Manager of Harcourts International

The right way to tackle sectional title additions and alterations

An increasing percentage of home sales in South Africa are in sectional title schemes, and buyers of these properties need to be aware that they don’t have the same freedom with regard to additions and alterations as those who buy full title homes.

This is according to Andrew Schaefer, MD of national property Management Company Trafalgar, who says that the thing about sectional title schemes is that whatever one owner does is bound to have an effect on other owners – even if they just want to make changes within the walls of their own unit.

“Noise, mess, and security are all concerns for your fellow owners, even if you are just revamping a kitchen, renovating a bathroom or installing new flooring inside your unit. If electrical work or plumbing is involved, for instance, you may need to get a certificate of compliance in order not to invalidate the whole scheme’s insurance,” says Schaefer.

“And if the work is being done by a contractor, there could be a security risk with a group of non-residents and various delivery vehicles going in and out of the complex for several days, or a risk of damage to common property. This is why the Sectional Title Act stipulates that no alterations to units are permitted without the consent of the scheme’s trustees – and that they are allowed to limit the days and hours during which such work can take place, and may ask you to make special arrangements to ensure that the security of the complex is maintained.”

In addition, it is vital to ensure health and safety compliance on the part of any contractors working in the complex, so you will need to check that any contractor working on changes to your unit has the appropriate safety files, public liability insurance and any industry specific certification that may be required.

Following the correct procedure becomes even more important, Schaefer says, should you wish to extend the floor area of your section or make changes that would affect the exterior appearance of the whole scheme – and in fact, Section 24 of the Act states that you can’t do so without a special resolution of the body corporate.

However, before you even get to that, you should first consult the trustees to see if the scheme has rules regarding the materials and architectural style to be used if sections are extended, then find out what the local authority’s requirements and costs are for submitting building plans for your planned extension, he says.

Next you will need to get a quote from a land surveyor for drawing up a new sectional plan of the complex – which will need to be approved by the Surveyor General – and a quote from a conveyancing attorney to register the new plan at the Deeds Office. This will be necessary because any change to the size of your section will affect the participation quotas of the whole scheme.

Once you have all this information, Schaefer says you will be able to compile a proposal detailing your intended extension in terms of approved building plans and your agreement to carry the costs of drawing up and registering the new sectional plan, then try to secure the special resolution you will need to go ahead.

To obtain this, you can either approach all other owners in the scheme individually and get written permission from 75% of them in both number and value, or call for a general meeting and seek a vote of approval from 75% of owners or proxies present at the meeting, also in both number and value.

If you succeed, you can go ahead and get your building plans approved, build your extension and then call in the land surveyor to prepare the new draft sectional plan and get it approved by the surveyor general, says Schaefer.

One additional detail to watch out for is that if your extension has been built over an existing exclusive use area (EUA) that was registered on the previous sectional plan, that EUA will need to be cancelled and a new, smaller one ceded to you by the body corporate before the new sectional plan can be registered by the conveyancer.

“And while this may all seem unnecessarily complicated, it is really worth doing correctly, because if you don’t, your ability to sell your unit in the future may be severely hampered,” says Schaefer.

Source:  Property 24


Is WhatsApp changing real estate?

As new technologies and improved systems are perpetually introduced into our modern business environments, innovations in client communication is undoubtedly at the forefront of this rapid evolution. The real estate industry has experienced a flurry of new concepts and advancements in the past year especially with regards to agents having to incorporate real time communication tools into their daily practices.

We’re seeing an increased demand by clients to communicate with our agents and staff in real time which has resulted in a growing expectancy for instant feedback. This means that phone communication applications, such as WhatsApp, are fast becoming the primary communication tool for clients.

So too, these applications have become part and parcel of the marketing process as many sellers and landlords expect the  agent to harness their database to effectively market the clients property to an instantaneous audience, and rightly so. There are agencies in the UK who credit almost eighty percent of their deals now being finalised through WhatsApp and other social media communication platforms.

The integration and feeding of saved contacts and social media connections to a singular mobile device has propelled client service into the spotlight and the necessity for agents to be trained and educated on continuous feedback and prompt customer service.

Many of our agents are now introducing WhatsApp marketing plans into their mandate  strategies. There are without a doubt many advantages to these applications these applications. They are very user friendly when sending media such as videos, photographs and embedded links to inquiring clients, which make them perfect for real estate communication. The WhatsApp status for instance allows agents to market homes to a growing mobile database without contacting prospective buyers individually. This strategy is becoming very popular on multiple platforms as a subtle non-invasive arm of a real estate marketing plan.

With WhatsApp being owned by Facebook and Instagram it is no wonder this tool has the ability to cross pollinate communication and diversify it into a multi pronged communication force.

It certainly is exciting times and at Harcourts we embrace innovation, especially when it benefits our clients. Our marketing plans are always evolving to include new digital strategies to ensure our clients needs are met and that we are effective in implementing our strategies.

Statement by
Richard Gray
Harcourts Africa Chief Executive Officer

African technology developments aim to boost online economic activity

The global push by international technology brands to invest in the development and accessibility of emerging markets will be a key driver for future economic growth. We’ve seen how on a global scale development in these spheres can make positive contributions to alleviate unemployment and boost entrepreneurship.

These development strategies will undoubtedly translate into increased consumer spending online. In the past few years we’ve noticed a significant increase in the amount of users shopping for property on our digital portals. The advancement of these functionalities are evolving rapidly and are making major strides toward consumer convenience. The advent of Augmented and Virtual reality technology where you’re able to view a property listing in 3D in the comfort of your home or your mobile phone in a queue at the post office is more readily available.

Similarly we’re finding that client and agent communication is occurring more frequently on digital channels, which include our highly advanced user friendly Harcourts websites, social media channels and other mobile social apps. Harcourts invests greatly in technology and recently we became one of the first real estate companies, globally, to take advantage of and build our own member-facing app store on Apple’s Developer Enterprise Program.

As consumers become more comfortable with online purchasing, especially with the continuous evolution in the banking industry and development of mobile apps, we’ll see that filter to other industries. It is incredibly important for Government and corporate leaders to embrace these market changes to not only use it for their own client convenience but to advance the usage thereof for holistic growth purposes.

The more entrepreneurs entering the marketplace the better chance we have of increasing employment opportunities which benefits everyone, especially those who need it most. That is why internet connectivity is so crucial to this process as trading with technology can impact the success of a small business in a very direct manner over the short term.

Statement by

Richard Gray

Harcourts Africa Chief Executive Officer