Attracting millennial buyers in today's marketFri 08 May 2015

In most industries it is currently the Generation X consumer, who are 31 to 45 years old, who have the buying power, but it is the younger generation or Millennials (consumers under the age of 30 years old) who will be the future buying power and backbone of all markets going forward. The millennial generation is currently filling schools, universities and entry-level jobs around the country; however this will soon change as they grow financially. Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett, says that there are already areas in and around the country where consumers under the age of 30 years old already represent the highest percentage of recent home buyers. "While Generation X accounts for around 18.74 million South Africans, the Millennials account for approximately 28.4 million people. This means that this up-and-coming generation will have a massive impact on the property market and will demand attention. Those who are looking to sell their property in the future will more than likely encounter a buyer from this generation, so it might be worthwhile to research what it is that this demographic of buyer is looking for," says Goslett. According to research concluded by real estate agents in the US, many of the younger generation buyers are looking for a place where they can socialise and interact with other people, while still having a space that offers them privacy when they want it. Goslett notes that based on this information, there a few things that sellers can do to make their homes appeal more to millennial buyers: Highlight social areas in the home: as socialising is a top priority for younger buyers, the more a home is conductive to entertaining, the more likely they will be attracted to the property. A great example of this is adding a small bar area, or simply adding a table and shelving to a cupboard that is near a living room and using it as a bar. Drinks can be served from it during show days to highlight the feature. Place a braai out on the balcony or outside area, even it is a small one. While it may seem insignificant to older generation buyers, to a young first-time buyer who has never owned one before, it will represent a passage into adulthood and a great excuse to have friends over. While space to entertain at home is important, millennials also enjoy socialising outside of home and meeting friends at local establishments. Homes that are near to amenities and entertainment facilities with be highly sought after. "Sellers should focus on highlighting places such as local bars, popular restaurants and coffee shops that offer free WiFi," says Goslett. Emphasise the preferred amenities: technology is a very important to the millennial generation, so sellers should take time to research elements such as internet connectivity in the area, along with cellphone coverage. If connectivity or cellphone signal is not ideal, a signal booster should remedy the issue and become a selling point. Many millennials are looking for space in the home where they can store their gadgets and electronic items. If the property does not currently have one, building a storage cupboard over an electrical outlet will provide the ideal designated charging station and gadget storage unit. Show off the home?s storage space: transport can sometimes be an issue for millennial buyers as they find their feet financially, with many now opting use public transport systems where they are available or bicycles. As a result, many are faced the problem of where to store their bike if they do not have access to a garage. A solution to this problem is a wall mount where a bike can hang vertically in a space that would otherwise remain unused. "As more and more of the millennial generation gain access to finance and enter the property market, the more important it will be for sellers to stage their properties and make them as appealing as possible to this demographic of buyer. Knowing the buyer and what they are looking for will give sellers an edge in the market," Goslett concludes.

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Tips for creating an emergency fundThu 30 Apr 2015

While it is not possible to predict the future and what may or may not happen, it is always a good idea to have a contingency plan in place to ensure that you are prepared for the unexpected. This is according to Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, who says that it is particularly important for homeowners to have a plan in place and funds put aside for a rainy day, considering the long term nature of homeownership. "Owning a home is a long term commitment, which means that the homeowner needs to have a plan of action should their financial situation change in anyway. Life can sometimes throw you some unexpected turns, so it is important to ensure that there are funds in place to be able to weather the storm and keep your head well above the water," says Goslett. He notes that an important question that every homeowner should ask is: if they lost their job tomorrow, would they be in a financial position to afford their home? "Unfortunately these things can become a reality and preparing as much as possible for these hurdles will put homeowners in a far better position for the future," adds Goslett. According to Goslett, there are three simple steps that homeowners can take to start creating an emergency fund to use as a financial cushion in tough times. He notes that while the idea of saving up in an emergency fund can seem like a daunting task, the thought of not having one is far more unnerving. An emergency fund can help homeowners financially manage any event, regardless of whether it is something as serious as losing their job or something like a burst geyser that requires urgent replacement. Unexpected expenses do happen, and more often than not at the most inconvenient moments, so it is good to have something in place to fall back on. Decide on an amount Goslett says that as a starting point, it is good to aim for around one month?s net salary, however if possible more is better. "Ideally around six months' worth of a net salary is ideal as a sound financial cushion, but as this will take time to build up, having smaller interim goals are important to help keep focused and motivated," advises Goslett. Homeowners who are contract employees with a less stable income should try to save up as much as possible to ensure that they cover the months when they earn less or don?t earn any money at all. The number of dependents a homeowner has will also influence the amount that should be saved, as will plans to expand the family. Choose an account Account selection is an important aspect when looking to build an emergency fund as certain accounts will yield a higher interest rate than others. However, when looking at a higher-interest-yield account, it is good to consider accessibility. "There is little point to having an emergency fund if the finances cannot be accessed quickly during an emergency. Often higher interest accounts have a longer waiting period before the money can be unlocked and used. Ideally the money should be easily accessible and in a low-risk account," says Goslett. Set up an automatic monthly deposit The easiest way to build up an emergency fund is by arranging a direct deposit system that transfers the selected saving amount into the emergency fund account each month. "The best time for this to happen would be as soon as the salary is paid into the account ? if you don't see it, you don?t spend it. Automating the savings will also take the need to be disciplined out of the equation and will ensure that a certain amount is set aside each and every month," says Goslett. An emergency fund for homeowners is crucial to assist them ward off financial crisis without being forced into debt. "An emergency fund is one of the best tools for homeowners to build onto their financial security and independence," Goslett concludes.

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Drones: Is there a place for them in real estate?Thu 30 Apr 2015

The invention of the cellphone changed the way people communicate, as did the revolution of the smartphone and tablet. Real estate professionals were able to access data and connect with their clients without needing to be in the office. Technology has continued to influence the real estate industry and business in general as the constant progression allows transactions to be concluded in a far more efficient manner. With technology continually evolving and making an impact to the world, it begs the question: what's next? Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that one of the latest technological advancements that could feature in the future of real estate marketing is the drone. "Essentially drones are unmanned aerial crafts that are currently being used in various ways by the military and by people who require aerial video footage. There is also talk that drones are the next step in door-to-door delivery services as well as the postal service," says Goslett. "A pilot is able to control the drone from the ground and survey an area from the air through a camera mounted on the drone. This will enable the person to record aerial footage that can be used to market a property, for example." In terms of property there are several beneficial uses for drones, such as providing images of the condition of a property's roof without a ladder or the common ground areas of a development. It can also be used to give the buyer a tour of the neighbourhood or golf course on the estate. "With security a priority for many homeowners, low-flying drones could be used in the future to patrol large areas for trespassers and automatically relay information to a security tower or the police," says Goslett. Currently what is possible in terms of the technology and what can be done with drones surpasses what is legislated in South Africa. While they can be flown under certain circumstances, the use of drones is prohibited for any commercial purposes. ?The current Civil Aviation Regulations prescribe specific requirements for operating an aircraft in South African civil airspace, and to date no unmanned aircraft system has been able to comply with these requirements. ?However South Africa, much like the rest of the world, has since embarked on the process to enable people to operate drones in the national airspace. As a part of an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), South Africa is actively involved in ICAO Unmanned Aircraft Systems Study Group to develop guidance material and standards to guide contracting states in development of their national guidance material and regulations. Currently the concern is that unmanned aircraft could be a danger if used by someone with no aviation experience. There is the risk that they could collide with each other or other aircraft. "There is also the issue of privacy, as drones will be able to take video footage of homes without the homeowner's consent. Laws would have to be put in place to address this and regulate the use of drones to only shoot footage over a property where the homeowner has given written permission," says Goslett. He says that once regulations have been set that specifically deal with drones, it is predicted that by around 2020 more than 30 000 small drones will be used for commercial purposes in the countries such the US, a trend that will more than likely follow suit here in South Africa. "With technology changing the way people live and interact, the evolution of unmanned aircraft could have a positive impact on the real estate sector, provided the correct regulations have been put in place. Used in the right way, drones could be a valuable marketing tool for the real estate professional of the future," Goslett concludes.

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Tax deductions for homeownersWed 29 Apr 2015

When it comes to tax deductions that a taxpayer is entitled to claim from the Receiver of Revenue, the onus is on the taxpayer to prove that a particular amount is deductible. Not only does the taxpayer have to prove that the amount is deductible, but they also have to justify the claim by showing the calculation of how the amount was calculated. Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that while many homeowners qualify for tax deductions, it is not always an easy task for them to establish the amount of interest on their bond that is tax deductible. ?"Even if the situation seems relatively simple, there are often complications and questions that can arise, so a homeowner needs make sure they know what they are doing or consult a professional if they are unsure," says Goslett. He gives an example of a homeowner who has purchased a home for R1 million and uses 20% of their house as a home office as they would be entitled to a tax deduction. "If the current amount owing on the bond is R800 000 and the interest on the bond is at a rate of 14%, then the annual interest changed on the bond would be R112 000. As 20% of the home is used as a home office, the homeowner would be entitled to claim 20% of the R112 000 as a tax deduction in the production of their rental income," explains Goslett. "If the homeowner in this case decides to draw a further R100 000 on their bond to finance personal expenses, bringing the balance of their bond up to R900 000, they will not be able to take into account the tax amount on the additional R100 000, as this is not in the production of income," Goslett explains further. "The interest that is charged on the additional R100 000 will be excluded from the calculation of deductible interest from the time it is taken, going forward for all the years that the homeowner carries the bond.? Essentially what this means is that a smaller percentage of the initial 20% of the interest reflected on the bond statement is tax deductible from then onwards." Goslett adds that the percentage of deductible interest will continue to change as the homeowner makes further withdrawals from their bond account for other non-income producing purposes. According to Goslett, many homeowners want to know whether they can choose how to allocate an out-of-the-ordinary receipt of money into their bond account. "If the homeowner in the above case receives an inheritance of R200 000, do they have the option to only allocate the money to the 80% private portion of their bond and not to the 20% that is considered to be used as office space in order to leave a larger tax deduction?" asks Goslett. "The short answer to that question is no, because the bond is regarded as one account that cannot be divided or proportioned into separate segments. Regardless of how the home is divided and what percentage is for personal use and what percentage is for business use, the bond is over the entire property. What this means is that any money that is allocated to the bond account will reduce the balance of the bond in its entirety." Goslett notes that for this reason, if the homeowner has any other loans that are not tax-deductible, it might be a potentially better option from a tax planning perspective to allocate the inheritance to pay off those loans instead. "Dealing with tax and knowing what can and cannot be deducted can sometimes be a rather overwhelming experience. If ever in doubt, it is best to consult with a professional financial adviser or tax consultant who can provide assistance and guidance through the process," Goslett concludes.

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RE/MAX Foundation Coats and Cans Campaign kicks offTue 28 Apr 2015

As the temperature drops and the winter months edge closer, many in need will struggle to stay warm. Director of the RE/MAX Foundation and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett, says that this is the reason why RE/MAX has made their Coats and Cans Drive an annual event. "Millions of South Africans are living below the breadline and are struggling to purchase enough food to adequately sustain their dietary needs. During the winter months the difficulty they experience increases as the fight for survival now includes the need to stay warm. RE/MAX of Southern Africa, with the help of the community, aims to assist as many people in need as possible, making their lives slightly more comfortable during the harsh colder months," says Goslett. He notes that each of the RE/MAX offices throughout the country will act as collection points for those who wish to contribute to the Coats and Cans Campaign. From 27 April ?to 26 June 2015, the public will able to drop off any blankets, winter woollies and non-perishable food items. The collected items will be distributed to various organisations that assist and uplift the underprivileged in their local communities. "We hope that this annual campaign will make a difference to those in need, but its success relies on the input from those in the community. The more people who contribute to the cause, the more people we will be able to help. As a company we are only able to do so much, but as a community we can change things and make a real impact on the lives of people around us,"says Goslett. "A warm meal and winter coat is often taken for granted, but for many it is a luxury that they simply cannot afford." He adds that to ensure that the collected items benefit the local community in which the RE/MAX office is located; each office will nominate a charity or organisation in their area that will receive the goods. "The reasoning behind this concept is that we want the donations that are received from the public to impact their local community and make a difference to the people in that specific area. The thinking is that when one lives and works within a community, they have some insight into which organisations would benefit the most from the donations," says Goslett. "We urge people across the country to get involved and visit their local RE/MAX office to donate some much needed items. A number of small contributions from every person in the community will amount to a big impact on the lives of those who really need it," he concludes. For more information regarding the RE/MAX Foundation or the Coats and Cans Winter Campaign visit or contact the Foundation manager, Sandy Smith on 021 700 2000.

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Green features help to sell homesMon 13 Apr 2015

More and more homebuyers in today's property market are becoming increasingly interested in homes that offer green elements. This is according to Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa. He notes that the term 'green' home has become somewhat of a buzz word in the housing market as a growing number of homebuyers consider energy efficiency as a highly important factor when searching for the perfect property. "Buyers are looking for both energy-saving features as well as environmentally-friendly features. Other features at the top of many buyer's lists are homes that are close to parks, public transportation and suburbs with walkways," says Goslett. "Most homeowners who decide to undertake green renovation projects do so to help conserve energy and reduce their utility costs. However, going green can sometimes be challenging and should be done correctly to ensure the right result is achieved," says Goslett. "There are a great deal of green products available to homeowners, so it is important that they carefully consider the options and make the right choices when deciding which products to use." According to Goslett, homeowners should consider the following pointers when looking at green products:

  • Ensure that the appropriate insulation is installed in the area being renovated
  • Use high-efficiency windows rather than those that only minimally meet energy-efficiency standards
  • Use only low-flow water fixtures
  • Appliances are graded from ?A? to ?G? to indicate the energy consumption of the product, with the letter 'A' indicating it uses energy most efficiently

Goslett adds that homeowners who are looking to install green features in their homes will be able to recover a percentage of the cost back when they decide to sell, as buyers are placing a higher value on homes that offer these features. "A survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) revealed that 72% of potential homebuyers reported that energy-efficient features in a home would influence their purchasing decision. Around 61% of these same buyers would be prepared to spend an additional R50 000 to R100 000 on a home that had features which would reduce utility costs," says Goslett. "Considering that most homes were built many years ago before energy-efficiency developments, if a home has newly renovated green elements, it could be a buyer's dream. Featuring the green renovations when the home is listed for sale could give the buyer added value and the seller a unique market advantage." Making the decision to add green features to a home need not be an overwhelming process, and it is not necessary to make the entire home eco-friendly. "A homeowner can start by making small changes at first, such as installing energy-efficient lighting. Installing an automated thermostat on the geyser will also help to reduce costs by ensuring that the geyser is only heating water at certain key times. Once these changes have been made a homeowner can compare their utility costs and show the reduction of costs to the real estate agent who is marketing their home. The agent will be able to use this as one of the selling points of the home to potential buyers. With the cost of living and electricity increasing, any savings can be a major influence on buyers. If the property offers similar features to others in the area, but costs less to operate, it will at the very least grab their attention," says Goslett. Remember that it is important to also market the things that potential buyers may not see when they first look at the home. Features such as insulation aren?t something homeowners often think to promote, but, if the home is well insulated, it can be a big selling point. "While one of the reasons for going green is to save money on costs and attract buyers to the home, it is not the only reason. It is also about sustainability and reducing the household's effect on the environment and its surroundings. A home with green elements will not only cut costs, it will also cut the home's carbon footprint," Goslett concludes.

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RE/MAX now more than 100 000 agents strongFri 10 Apr 2015

Agent-centric model and recovering market attracts thousands RE/MAX LLC which is located in Denver, Colorado, recently announced that the brand has grown its number of real estate agents to over 100 000 worldwide. This is a remarkable landmark for the brand?s global network, with their international market share spreading further throughout the world. According to statistics, the RE/MAX brand had 98 010 real estate professionals at the end of 2014. As a global real estate franchisor, RE/MAX attracted more than 2 000 agents in the first few months of this year to reach this significant milestone. "As our agent count grew over the last three years, we knew that the 100 000 threshold would be crossed very soon," said Dave Liniger, CEO, Chairman of the board and co-founder of RE/MAX LLC. "Our agent-centric business model has attracted top producers for 42 years. It?s nice to have such large numbers, but we?re most proud of the quality agents who call RE/MAX home." RE/MAX agent growth picked up steam in 2015 and as of April 1 had risen 2.1%, after increasing 5.1% in all of 2014. RE/MAX continues its trend of agent growth while the National Association of Realtors reported February home sales in North America at levels 4.7% higher than one year ago. "In an improving market, the most productive agents will want to affiliate with a recognised brand that supports their efforts with valuable resources and innovative technology tools," Liniger added. He notes that the best agents seek out organisations that can help them succeed in a competitive environment. RE/MAX provides a comprehensive training platform, RE/MAX University, which is available 24/7 on-demand anywhere in the world and which has been recognised with numerous training and video awards. Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett, says that much like its global counterparts, the southern African region has seen a number of new agents joining its ranks this year. "Currently we are the largest real estate agency in South Africa with almost twice as many agents as our nearest competitor. Our goal was to reach 2 000 agents by the end of 2014, which we did. We have grown by a further 200 agents since the end of 2014, and currently have over 2 200 agents operating from over 175 offices in 10 countries in southern Africa," says Goslett. In order to position the company for continued growth in all markets over the next 20 years, Z Capital Properties (Pty) Ltd, a prominent black empowerment company, has purchased a 45% ownership interest in RE/MAX of Southern Africa. This decision was made to show both the industry and its clients, that RE/MAX is serious about leading the real estate industry into the next decade. Transformation is very high on the property industry?s agenda in South Africa, and RE/MAX of Southern Africa wanted to be the first real estate group out of the top six groups in the country to introduce black ownership at the highest level. Goslett notes that RE/MAX of Southern Africa will focus on growing its number to reach over 4 000 agents over the next five years. "In order to grow our numbers we will need to break into other markets, as well as grow our market share in the current markets that we operate in. Our focus will be placed on providing opportunities to previously disadvantaged groups and increasing the number of agents of colour we have within the brand. Nearly 30% of the current RE/MAX membership in Southern Africa consists of agents of colour, compared with the current industry average of approximately 5%. RE/MAX plans to grow in 2015 with the many entrepreneurs from disadvantaged backgrounds who presently have no employment and who would like to build a business in the real estate arena," adds Goslett. Agents within the RE/MAX network are given all the tools and resources they require to become top agents within the industry. Since 2006, RE/MAX has provided over 14 million online leads to its agents without a referral fee. Other services include a creative advertising campaign and the RE/MAX Design Centre, an online marketing site where agents can create customized materials using professionally designed templates. RE/MAX agents consistently rank among the most productive in the industry.? In the United States, RE/MAX agents averaged 15.6 years of real estate experience and 16.0 transaction sides in 2014. Selling five Master Franchises in 2014, RE/MAX reached around the world to nearly 100 countries. No other real estate brand can match this global footprint. It remains true that nobody in the world sells more real estate than RE/MAX. For more information visit

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Making the right choices when investing in propertyWed 08 Apr 2015

For those who can master the art of property investment, it can be very financially rewarding. However, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, entering into the world of property investment can be intimidating, not to mention risky. "In every phase of the property market there are opportunities available to investors, provided they are well-versed and undertake the necessary research," says Goslett. "Without putting in the time and effort it requires, property investors could find themselves making the wrong and sometimes very costly decisions. A seasoned and successful property investor can only reach their full potential by having a vast understanding of the property market and the factors that influence it. Knowing what to look for and what to avoid will increases an investor?s chances of success and will ultimately impact on their investment returns." Goslett provides seven property investment principles that will assist in guiding investors to ensuring that they are making the correct decision: Patience is a virtue ? there is no need to rush into any investment. "Rather take the time to do the appropriate research, than rush into a deal that could cost you as the investor a lot of money in the long term. When it comes to property investment there is no blissful ignorance ? knowledge is the key to success. The more knowledge and information that an investor has, the better equipped they will be to recognise a good opportunity," Goslett explains.? He notes that there is no need for the investor to take the first deal that comes their way. They can take their time, shop around and compare other properties that are available before making any final decisions. Investors would do well to look at the price of the property and compare this to the value. This can easily be achieved through working with an estate agent and asking them to provide a comparative market analysis. Location, location, location ? most people know this mantra, and there is good reason for it. Location really is just about everything when it comes to the investment potential of any property. Regardless of the property's condition or type, its location will be the determining factor as to how much the home's value will appreciate. It is imperative for an investor to choose the right location over any other factors. Good options are areas that are in proximity to a good range of amenities. Areas that consistently show steady growth in value are those that are near to business nodes, transport routes, good schools and shopping centres. Never assume ? while the law protects property buyers to some degree, it is never a good idea to assume that everything in the property checks out just by looking at it. Goslett says that investors should have any property professionally inspected before the purchase agreement is signed. "A professional inspector will be able to spot any defects that may otherwise go unnoticed, such as the structural integrity of the property. While it may cost money to hire an inspector, knowing about any costly defects that the property has may influence the purchasing decision and price," says Goslett. "Having to fix any defects that were not discovered will only eat into possible returns." If in doubt, ask for help ? it might be tempting to make your mark and go at it alone, but it is far better to learn from other people's mistakes than your own. "If possible, seek the advice of an experienced property investor who will be able to act as a mentor. During the initial stages of learning the ropes, it is always better to have a seasoned investor or advisor there to provide some helpful hints and guidance," advises Goslett. Stick to the budget ? one of the most dangerous things that a property investor can do is lose track of where they are with their budget. It is vital to keep track of both finances and debt. "Ideally investors should plan an in-depth budget and cash flow analysis in order to ascertain their financial position accurately.? Investors will need to know what they are able to afford and what is out of their reach financially. This should be monitored and can be measured by completing a personal cash flow statement." says Goslett. Additionally, investors should also compare the financing deals from different banks before deciding where to secure their home loan. The interest rate that the bank is willing to give on the loan will have an impact on the long term returns on the investment, so securing a loan will be an intricate part of the purchasing process. Investors will need to consider that most financial institutions will require between a 10% and 30% deposit. Suitable maintenance ? once an investment home has been purchased, it doesn't mean that the investor can now sit back and watch the investment flourish. There is a certain amount of care and maintenance required to ensure that the investment returns remain healthy. "The investor will need to protect their investment by ensuring that the property is in good repair and well looked after," says Goslett. "Maintenance costs will need to be added into the investor's budget and plan. There is also the matter of ensuring that they have the time and capacity to properly manage and maintain their property. If they don't have the capacity, a management agent can be hired to make sure that all repairs and general management of the property is taken care of." Diversification ? Goslett says that in order to mitigate exposure to risk, it is imperative for investors to ensure that they have diversity in their portfolio when purchasing property specifically for investment purposes. ?If possible investors should try to buy different kinds of properties in various areas, rather than buying a few properties in one development. "As investors need to learn as much as possible about the environment they are trading in, it is advisable that they consult with as many experts as they can, as well as making use of professional, reputable and knowledgeable estate agents to assist them in the sales process," concludes Goslett.
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The top 10 things every homeowner should do before they sellThu 02 Apr 2015

With a large percentage of buyers in the market purchasing their first property, it can be assumed that at some stage in the future these first-time buyers will become first-time sellers. As with purchasing a property, selling a home also requires some homework and research on the owner's part. Another important aspect is selecting a reputable, experienced real estate agent who will be able to provide sound guidance and advice with regard to improving the home's presentation to ensure it appeals to the highest possible number of potential buyers. "An experienced real estate professional will be able to provide the homeowner with very useful tips and information regarding what buyers can expect in that particular market and what the selling points of the home are," says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa. "By heeding the advice given, sellers will be able to position themselves ahead of the game and be fully prepared to place their home on the market." According to Goslett there are 10 steps that every homeowner should follow to give them a good head start in preparing the home for sale: Make the home inviting ? the outside of the property is the first area of the home that anyone will see, so make it welcoming to buyers. "You want buyers to be enticed to see more, so clear debris and clutter away from the entrance of the property and the front garden, mow the lawn and cut back any hedges and bushes. Paint the front door, garage door and the gate to give the home a new fresh, clean look. Planting colourful annuals and perennials are a great way to attract attention to the property from the road and potential buyers walking or driving past," says Goslett. "Ensure that the home looks well-maintained by getting to the small repairs that need fixing, such as cracked or broken roof tiles or outside lighting. All exterior defects could instantly lead to a bad overall first impression." Keep it clean - nothing implies that a home is well taken care of as much as cleanliness. A clean home will win points with buyers as they scrutinise every room ? especially the kitchen and bathrooms. Goslett says that new coat of paint will give dirt-prone areas of the home a clean fresh look. He notes that if the home has carpets, having them cleaned make the home look and smell great. Before the home goes on show, it is important tidy up each room, including inside cupboards and the garage. Hide unsightly everyday items ? items such as children?s toys and the pet's belongings should be packed away or at least moved to less conspicuous areas of the home on show days. These items also include litter boxes, animal crates, pet dishes, dirty laundry and dirty kitchen sponges. Pack away unused items ? start packing unused items into boxes and have them stored away - this goes for furniture as well. If items are not used on a daily basis they can be packed away to declutter the home so that it appears bigger, and to give the seller a headstart on their move. Make wise paint choices ? a well-done, no-frills paint job is the best choice. "Everyone?s taste differs so it is best to stick to a neutral palette of white and beige so that potential buyers are not put off by any unconventional colours," says Goslett. "There is a good chance that the new buyer will repaint and decorate the home as soon as they move in anyway." Small fixture updates ? aside from making the necessary repairs around the home, updating readily visible fixtures such as the cupboard and door handles, towel racks and curtain rods will completely overhaul the look of the home. These subtle and rather inexpensive changes can make a big impact. Update the lighting ? the light fixtures should be changed to match the new updated, cleaner look of the home. Goslett says that new energy saving lightbulbs can be installed to highlight specific areas of the home, while being a green feature that many homebuyers are looking for in today's market. Ensure you have the right window treatments ? according to Goslett natural lighting is another excellent way to enhance the home's features and boost its appearance. He notes that the window treatments used in each room need to be carefully chosen to ensure that they don't make the room seem dark and small. Ensure that the window treatments are appropriately adjusted depending on the time of day that the home is on show. Have the table set ? freshly cut flowers in a vase or a bowl of fruit in the kitchen or on the dining room table are always a nice touch. These are small but effective details that will impress buyers. Remember the back of the home ? although it is likely to be the last place that the buyer looks at, it is still a very important feature of the home. The backyard needs to look as spacious and as functional as possible. Plant or pot colorful flowers and keep the landscaping trimmed and neat. Consistently pick up after pets so that buyers feel comfortable touring the yard. Goslett concludes by saying that it is not always that big changes that make the most impact, sometimes it?s the small things that make all the difference. It is the combination of all these little things that will add to the appeal of the home and impress potential buyers.
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Reserve Bank decides to leave interest rates where they areThu 26 Mar 2015

As expected by market commentators, it was decided at the second Monetary Policy Committee meeting of 2015 that the interest rate would hold at its current level. This means that the prime lending rate will remain at 9.25% and the repo rate will remain at 5.75%. Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett, says that the decision to keep the rates unchanged will be welcomed news for consumers who are already dealing with ongoing rolling blackouts and the increasing cost of living. He notes that although consumers enjoyed fuel price cuts during the first three months of this year, the fuel price will once again be increased, placing further financial pressure on cash-strapped households. Goslett says that with the fuel price increases, inflation is expected to marginally edge higher in the months ahead, however economists expect that it will still remain within the target band of between 3% and 6% for a while longer. Despite the fact that oil prices have increased, they are still a lot lower than the average of $115/barrel as seen last year. Even though there was the widely accepted premise that economic growth would strengthen and the South African Reserve Bank would need to increase the interest rate to contain inflation, economic growth remains much slower than desired. In fact, Goslett says that inflation fell to a four-year low of 3.9% year-on-year in February from 4.4% in January. This means that inflation has been within the target band for the last six months. With inflation lowering and the US Federal Reserve (Fed) now likely to delay their first rate hike, the SA Reserve Bank will likely delay the next interest rate hike as well. According to Goslett, other factors such as the rand weakening to the dollar since the first committee meeting could also prompt the bank to revise its inflation forecast for the year. Despite warning from the Reserve Bank that the interest rate was likely to increase during 2015, it is widely agreed upon by economists that the interest rates will remain unchanged again at the May meeting, and possibly the July meeting too. "If this is the case, delays in interest rate hikes will be good news for the local residential property market and those wanting to purchase a home," says Goslett. "Over the last few years consumer's disposable income has been overtaken by house price growth, which means that housing is slowly becoming less affordable. If inflation remains low and an interest rate hike is delayed, consumers will have more of a chance to close the gap between their disposable income and the price of property," he concludes.
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RE/MAX Distinguished Service Award presented to the GilmoursThu 19 Mar 2015

Each year the RE/MAX brand honours real estate professionals who have gone above and beyond, significantly contributing to both the brand?s success and the real estate industry over the span of their careers. This year the award was presented to Peter and Val Gilmor, Chairman and co-founders of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, at the international RE/MAX convention held in Las Vegas during February. This marks only the second time in the brand's 42 year history that the award has been presented to real estate professionals outside of North America, with the first time being Pelham Henwood, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Midlands, whose office is situated in Pietermaritzburg. Henwood received the reward in Denver in 2008. Dave Liniger, Chairman and co-founder of RE/MAX LLC, says that the RE/MAX Distinguished Service Award recognised the efforts of unique individuals who have gone above the call of duty to better the RE/MAX family, the real estate industry and the larger community. "The award honours those who have been loyal to the company and its objectives over their careers and through their efforts and daily contributions, have woven a considerable part of themselves into the fabric of the organisation and contributed to the organisations' many achievements over the years," he says. As co-founders of the RE/MAX of Southern Africa region, the pioneer expansion of the brand outside of North America, Peter and Val Gilmour truly embody the essence of what the award stands for and have been a dynamic force within the South African real estate industry, making an impact on the market at almost every level. Together with their partners, Peter and Val originally purchased the RE/MAX Franchise Rights for Southern Africa in 1995 and grew the brand successfully until the region was purchased by RE/MAX?International in 2000.?In 2009, RE/MAX International announced that the Southern African Franchise Operations were re-acquired by Peter and Val Gilmour under a new Master Franchise Agreement. This year the brand celebrates it 20th year of operation in the southern Africa region with a footprint in 10 countries - South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola, Lesotho, Mauritius and the Seychelles.RE/MAX of Southern Africa has grown considerably in the past two decades, despite the tough trading conditions that have dominated the last few years. "We are extremely honoured to have been presented with this award by Dave Liniger and RE/MAX LLC in front of our peers at the international convention. It marks an amazing milestone in our journey with the brand and the real estate professionals within the global RE/MAX network," says Peter Gilmour. Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett says that through the leadership and contributions of Peter and Val Gilmour, the brand has seen exponential growth over the past twenty years. "Despite the fact the real estate market experienced tough economic conditions during and post the recession, RE/MAX of Southern Africa has continued to make headway in the industry, attracting new agents and acquiring new franchises," says Goslett. "RE/MAX of Southern Africa's success and growth was recognised internationally when it was awarded as the top RE/MAX region in the world for 2012 at the group's Las Vegas convention in March 2013." He notes that the Gilmours have established and grown the brand to become the largest real estate company in the country that is almost twice as large as its nearest competition with over 2 200 agents and sales in excess of R22 billion achieved for 2014. "It is good to know that the property professionals in our country that fall under the RE/MAX umbrella are among the best in the world and are able to assist buyers and sellers with their expertise in the industry," Goslett concludes.
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What rights do you have if the landlord sells?Wed 28 Jan 2015

With the market currently favouring sellers, it may be tempting for those who own a rental property to put the property on the market. But what happens if the property is occupied by a tenant? Does the tenant have any rights and are they within their rights to breach the lease agreement in this instance? According to Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, the law states that a landlord is within their rights to sell their property to a third party, even if the property is let out to a tenant and a lease agreement is in place.

?However, in terms of the legal principle huur gaan voort koop, the lease precedes the sale and therefore the tenant is entitled to retain occupation of the property for the remainder of the lease period. "Although a tenant has the right to stay in the property for the remainder of the lease period, there could be some anxiety around the situation, especially if it means dealing with another landlord or the renewal of terms with the new owner of the property," says Goslett. "A lot is also dependent on the new owner?s plans for the property. They maybe intent on keeping it as a rental property, or there is the option of them wanting to move into the property themselves, which means they will not be willing to renew the lease agreement once the term has expired." In certain cases, the tenant may feel they would be more comfortable with finding alternative means of accommodation as soon as they can. However, if there is still quite a bit of time left on the lease they could run into a few complications. "If the tenant decides that they want to cancel their lease and move out, their right to do so will largely be determined by the lease agreement that they signed and current legislation. Tenants will have to read through the lease agreement to familiarise themselves with their rights and obligations should the property be sold. In some cases landlords and tenants may have agreed to a lease with a sales provision in order to give both parties flexibility should the situation arise," says Goslett. He adds that in some instances the contract may stipulate that the tenant is within their rights to cancel the lease agreement and find other accommodation should the property be placed on the market. "Provided the agreement makes provision within the terms and there is a mutual agreement between the two parties, the tenant can be absolved of any penalties that could arise from the contract being broken," says Goslett. He notes that if the issue of the property being sold has not specifically been addressed in the lease agreement, it will be a lot more difficult for the tenant to break the agreement without suffering the consequences of a penalty. "It is important for tenants to remember that the lease agreement will not automatically fall away once the new owner of the property takes transfer of ownership. If it has not been cancelled, all terms and conditions of the lease agreement will be carried over to the new owners of the property. The lease will remain in full effect under the new landlord and both parties will be legally obligated to uphold the stipulated terms of the agreement," says Goslett. "If the new owner has bought the property as a rental property, they will be more likely to want to the tenant to remain in the property and will be less agreeable to releasing them from the contract." In terms of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA), there is no allowance for the early termination of a fixed term contract within the fixed term, on the condition that the new owner is a supplier who lets property in the ordinary course of his business. This is regulated by section 14 of the Act. The tenant will be entitled to give a 20 business day notice period during the term of the lease if the new owner lets property in their ordinary course of business. However, in this case, the tenant would be liable for the notice month and possibly a reasonable penalty fee. The CPA will not apply in the instance where both parties in the lease agreement are juristic persons. If a tenant is thinking about cancelling their lease before it has expired at any stage during the process, they should first discuss it with their landlord. "Talking the matter through and being on the same page will help to avoid complications and alleviate some concern as very little may need to change after the property has been sold," Goslett concludes.

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Creating a home maintenance and project fundMon 08 Sep 2014

When it comes to owning a home, it's not just about making monthly bond repayments, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, who points out that home maintenance is an intricate part of homeownership. "There are several benefits to owning a property such as the potential of having an asset that increases in value over the long term.

There are also the personal benefits of making all the decisions when it comes what the home looks like. However, with the advantages comes the responsibility of maintaining the property to ensure that it reaches its full investment potential," says Goslett. "Affording a property is not just about being able to meet the bond requirements, but also about being able to set aside some money for when the unexpected happens." According to Goslett, while most major issues or damages caused by fire, flooding and natural disasters should be covered by home insurance, the general up keep and maintenance of the property is not. "Insurances policies do vary from company to company, however while most will repair a roof if it has been damaged from a fire or other disaster, they won't cover it if it is just old and in need of repair ? this will be for the homeowner's account. A new roof can cost a lot of money and could be a huge financial burden if the homeowner has not set aside money in some kind of a contingency fund," says Goslett. He notes that as a homeowner, it is essential to have an emergency fund to avoid incurring additional debt to pay for home maintenance and unforeseen repairs. "If possible homeowners should aim to save at least 1% of the value of the home to cover the maintenance costs for a year. So on a home valued at around R1 million, this would translate to a minimum savings of approximately R10?000 per year to cover maintenance costs and any repairs needed. If the money is not used during the year, it should be kept and added to the next year?s savings to ensure that the homeowner is covered in the event of a major expense," advises Goslett. He adds that while 1% of the home's value should be the minimum, how much a homeowner can set aside will largely demand on their financial situation, taking into consideration their income, expenses and savings goals. "Another consideration is the home's condition and age, as older houses may require more maintenance than newer ones. Ideally homeowners need to have a balanced approach to their financial priorities, with thought given to saving to cover expenses in the event of job loss, paying down debt levels and retirement," says Goslett. Every situation is different, so it is important for homeowners to figure out what saving plan would work best for them. "It's vital for homeowners to assess their circumstances and decide on an amount that is realistically manageable and sustainable ? consistency is a key element to building a savings of any kind," he advises. With the living costs and utility expenses continuously increasing, homeowners may only be able to build up their project fund slowly. Goslett says that if this is the situation, homeowners should prioritise maintenance projects based on their necessity and push purely cosmetic projects back as far as possible. "In certain cases, homeowners can break large projects into smaller segments so that they do not have to pay out large sums of money all at once and have more time to build up their fund. For example, if the windows need to be repaired or replaced, the homeowners can do so one room at a time instead of the entire house all at the same time," he adds. Goslett notes that the best way to start a savings fund is by setting up an automatic transfer from the homeowners' cheque account into their savings account. ?"According to research, consumers are more likely to forget about money that is automatically set aside and their savings fund will start to grow without them even thinking about it. Having a contingency plan in place will assist homeowners to maintain and improve upon their appreciating asset without being caught unprepared," Goslett concludes.

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RE/MAX movers and shakersFri 25 Oct 2013

As the RE/MAX brand?s 40th anniversary year, 2013 has been a remarkable one for RE/MAX of Southern Africa in terms of growing the RE/MAX footprint throughout the country and others within the African continent, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa. He notes that RE/MAX of Southern Africa offices have recently opened in some previously uncharted areas where the brand had little or no presence before.

This is particularly true for the Western Cape where two new RE/MAX offices have opened their doors this month. RE/MAX Elite, headed by Broker/Owner Charles Haigh opened in Tokai and RE/MAX Living opened a branch in Camps Bay with Gerlinde Moser, Neville van den Berg and Susan Watts at the helm as the Broker/Owners. "Both Tokai and Camps Bay are attractive investment options to property buyers due to the lifestyle offering they provide," says Goslett. "Situated on the foothills of the Constantiaberg, Tokai is a unique residential suburb that offers residents green belts of pine plantations at their doorstep, while Camps Bay is often referred to as South Africa's Cote d' Azure and is one of the most popular suburbs situated on Cape Town's Atlantic Seaboard. Although very different from each other in terms of the kind of lifestyle the offer, both are prime locations for property investment." He notes that the new offices will not only expand the brands presence in the Western Cape, but will also give RE/MAX of Southern Africa the opportunity to service a greater number of buyers and sellers in the region. "With the property sector gaining momentum, it was a strategic decision to open RE/MAX offices in areas that are seeing a growing demand in order to offer a comprehensive service to property investors in those markets. We believe that the RE/MAX brand will add considerable value to the real estate sector in these areas as well as to individual buyers and sellers." Goslett reports that apart from the recent new offices that have opened, other offices have renewed their franchise contracts for a further five years due to the fact that the RE/MAX formula has proven to be a winning combination, with the average RE/MAX office outselling their competitors. RE/MAX All-Stars in Alberton North and RE/MAX Coast & Country in Hibberdene recently renewed their franchise agreements, while RE/MAX Platinum in Rustenburg was taken over by Glenn Norton, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Masters. Norton was awarded the International Broker/Owner of the Year for 2012 for a multi-office situated in a metro area earlier this year at the RE/MAX International convention, which took place in Las Vegas. Over the last five years, RE/MAX Masters has ranked in the top two multi-offices in the RE/MAX of Southern Africa fold and during 2012 they recorded the highest number of property sales transactions for an international brokerage in the entire RE/MAX network. Norton aims to carry this success over to the Rustenburg office. Whether new offices or renewed franchises, all offices aim to provide the excellent service that has become synonymous with the RE/MAX brand. "The goal is to add value by assisting property investors through the process of purchasing property and making sure that the experience is a pleasant and relatively hassle-free one," Goslett concludes.

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RE/MAX No 1 Among Real Estate FranchisesFri 11 Oct 2013

For the fifth consecutive year, RE/MAX, LLC ranked as the leading real estate franchise organization in the Franchise Times Top 200. The survey is based upon annual worldwide sales. In the 2013 Top 200 ranking, RE/MAX placed 14th among all franchises, gaining two places over its standing last year. RE/MAX also ranked 6th among the Top 200 franchisors for sales growth. In the overall standings, the top ranked franchises were McDonald?s, 7-Eleven, KFC, SUBWAY and Burger King. "To be recognised among these well-respected brands is truly an honour," said Margaret Kelly, RE/MAX CEO. "As we continue to celebrate 40 years of helping homebuyers and sellers achieve their dream of home ownership, this confirms the outstanding productivity of RE/MAX agents around the world." This year marks the 40th anniversary for RE/MAX and the 35th anniversary of its iconic hot air balloon logo.

Buoyed by the U.S. housing recovery and improving economic conditions worldwide, the global franchisor now enjoys an international footprint in more than 90 countries and a growing agent count of more than 90 000. "Our success as a top franchisor is a direct reflection of our hardworking and talented Sales Associates around the world," Kelly said. "They proudly provide a high level of customer service, and that results in increasing sales performance." Throughout 2013, RE/MAX has been recognised as an industry leader in a variety of real estate surveys. RE/MAX agents averaged more transaction sides than agents with any other national brand in the United States according to the 2013 RIS Media Power Broker Report. In addition, the 2013 REAL Trends 500 survey showed that RE/MAX agents averaged 17.1 transaction sides in 2012, compared to the 7.9 average for all other competing agents in the survey. Eclipsing their colleagues in North America, RE/MAX agents in Southern Africa have averaged 19.2 transaction sides in 2013, more than twice the industry average. RE/MAX of Southern Africa was also recognised by Finweek as the largest real estate brand in Southern Africa. Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says: "Size does matter when it comes to getting your property exposed to as many buyers as possible worldwide but merely being big is not enough. Our extensive network of agents who average over 13 years of real estate experience focus on a high quality of service, which means getting your home sold at the best price in the shortest time with the least amount of stress."

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RE/MAX Foundation joins forces with the Red Cross War Memorial Children's HospitalWed 27 Mar 2013

The RE/MAX Foundation recently joined forces with the Children's Hospital Trust , the main fundraiser for the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital situated in Cape Town. This initiative falls in line with RE/MAX International who has supported the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals in the United States since 1992, raising in excess of US$ 100 million.

Peter Gilmour, Chairman of the RE/MAX Foundation says. "The Foundation will be supporting a number of the programs at the Red Cross including the Breatheasy Program, which provides specialized equipment for young patients enabling them to recover in their own homes, surrounded by their families, as opposed to being confined to a hospital ward." Breathing might be a simple act that many take for granted, however for a great number of children this vital act of sustaining life is impossible. Young Yaqeen was one of the children on the Breatheasy program at the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital, which provides care to approximately 90 children who require tracheotomies. The hospital is the only facility in Sub-Saharan Africa that currently offers a Tracheotomy and Ventilation home care programme. Around 10 to 15 of the children who are in the care of the programme will need ongoing long-term home ventilation. Born in September 2010, Yaqeen was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a condition that affects the nerves of the spine and causes the muscles to weaken. Although Yaqeen was unable to sit by himself just a few months ago, he has recently taught himself to sit up straight again, proof? of his wonderful fighting spirit and the fact that each case is unique. In December Yaqeen received a tracheotomy to which a ventilator could be attached, and after training was given to his family and caregivers, Yaqeen was discharged from hospital to be reunited with his family at their home in Manenberg, Cape Town. Through donations from RE/MAX Broker/Owners, founder donors, sales associates and the other members of the RE/MAX network, the RE/MAX Foundation was able to assist Yaqeen and provide the means for his homecoming. Sandy Smith, RE/MAX Foundation Manager, RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says: "We are extremely proud to have been able to contribute to help get Yaqeen home to his family. It is the vision of the RE/MAX Foundation to assist people to improve themselves and strive to be the best they can be. ?We are particularly focused on supporting the upliftment and development of the youth, and positively impacting the lives of young people in Southern Africa," she says. "Although the RE/MAX Foundation is still in its infancy the support has been overwhelming and it is humbling to have met so many people from all walks of life who are so passionate about improving the lives of those less fortunate. It is our goal to continue to find areas where the RE/MAX Foundation can make an impact to help uplift and develop children in South Africa," she concludes.

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Property market expectations across the globeMon 18 Feb 2013

Rick Yohn, Regional Vice President of Global Business and Franchising Solutions at RE/MAX LLC in Denver, Colorado, talks about global property markets and international investment hot spots during his visit to South Africa While property markets in Asia, North America and Latin America are trending in the right direction and are expected to see solid growth in the year ahead, many European property markets are expected to face some challenges. This is according to Rick Yohn, Regional Vice President of Global Business and Franchising Solutions at RE/MAX LLC in Denver, Colorado, who is visiting South Africa to attend the RE/MAX of Southern Africa convention this month. Yohn, who focuses on the RE/MAX network's growth and success, particularly in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand, says that as Europe entered the global financial crisis later on, many areas across the region are lagging behind in the post recession recovery, and therefore still have a challenging road ahead. Yohn says that property markets in Central and Latin America are also showing positive signs that they will continue to grow from strength to strength in the year ahead, despite government uncertainty in some areas. Property markets in central African countries such as Kenya and Uganda are presenting good opportunities, and Yohn expects to see good growth in these areas during 2013, while he says a wait and see approach is being taken on projections around the performance of property in the northern African countries, as this will largely depend on political stability and other factors. "Australia," he says, "has seemingly survived the global financial crisis relatively unscathed. There are a number of reasons for this, one being that its mining sector, which continued to deliver strong mining exports to China throughout the recession, kept the economy afloat." Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that another factor contributing towards Australia's resilience to recessionary trends was the fact that, very much like South Africa, they had much more stringent regulation in place surrounding banking practices. "In South Africa, for example, the National Credit Act was introduced in 2007, just months before the global financial crisis hit. These kinds of regulations ensured that both Australia and South Africa were sheltered from the worst of the knock-on effects of the sub-prime crisis in the US." Goslett said however, that it must be noted that from around 2008 to 2010, the housing markets in both these countries slowed as their economies did still feel some of the sub-prime crisis backlash. Yohn notes that since 2011, the property markets in Australia and South Africa have shown strong signs of recovery and are currently performing well from a global perspective. "We expect to see them continue on their current upward trend in the year ahead." Looking at the US, Yohn says the property market there is emerging out of the recession, with housing economic reports all reflecting an upward trend. "The number of distressed properties in the US has also decreased as the banks have developed systems to handle this type of property sale more efficiently." When asked which country he would list as the top international property investment hotspot for investors and why, Yohn said that the US is currently one of the countries where the best returns on investment can be made. "In some areas of the US, property prices are at the same levels that they were at during 2000 and 2001. All indications are that the prices will not drop further, meaning that the time is ripe for investment as the property market is at the bottom of the cycle in the US and will slowly start moving up in the year ahead in terms of both demand and price." Yohn says however, that location will, as always, be vital to an investment decision. "Property in San Fransisco, for example, is still expensive, but areas that were the hardest hit by the recession, such as California (with the exception of Silicon Valley, the southern region of the San Francisco Bay area in northern California), Georgia, Los Angeles, Texas, Nevada, Florida and Arizona are showing exceptional investment opportunities. Value growth in some of these areas topped up to 20% during 2012, and we expect strong appreciation trends to continue through the course of 2013 as property markets in these areas start to recover," Yohn concludes. About Rick Yohn: Rick joined RE/MAX in 2003 as Franchise Development Consultant for the RE/MAX Southwest Region and was quickly promoted to Assistant Regional Director of that same region. Three years later, he was offered a unique position in the Far East, which he embraced whole-heartedly: Managing Director, RE/MAX China Development Company ? a position he held for nearly two years. His relationship-building efforts set a foundation for future RE/MAX development in that nation. In 2011, Rick became Region Vice President, International Development, following a two-year period in which he served as Assistant Regional Director of RE/MAX Pacific Northwest and Regional Vice President, Regional Director of RE/MAX California & Hawaii. His combination of education and experience in cross-cultural business development make him uniquely qualified for this leadership role.

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RE/MAX to continue ambitious global expansion plan in 2013Fri 08 Feb 2013

During its 40 years of operation, RE/MAX, one of the world's most well known and recognised property brands, has expanded well beyond the borders of the US where it first launched as a single office in Denver, Colorado, to now boast a presence in 89 countries and a team of 90?000 sales associates across the globe. The growth of the RE/MAX brand is not going to stop there. This is according to Rick Yohn, Regional Vice President of Global Business and Franchising Solutions at RE/MAX LLC in Denver, Colorado. Yohn, who is visiting South Africa to attend the RE/MAX of Southern Africa convention being held at Sun City this month, says that in the last two years RE/MAX has expanded into three of the four BRIC countries, with Brazil and India particularly enjoying great success. "RE/MAX has expanded rapidly into Brazil and India and now enjoys a national footprint in both these countries.

This impressive rate of growth has been achieved within a very short space of time." Yohn believes that the leverage of the internationally recognised brand name has assisted with the fast, successful growth in these countries. Late last year RE/MAX also announced its entry into the Chinese market. But the growth here has not been as big as Brazil and India. Yohn explains: "There have been some regulatory requirements that have impacted on the expansion of the RE/MAX brand in China, particularly the 2+1 rule which states that a business has to operate two company-owned stores for a period of one year before it is able to franchise a brand. This way, the Chinese government ensures that the company has a viable business model. We are working closely with our Chinese franchise owners to navigate the way through this process." Russia is the only remaining country within the BRIC nations where RE/MAX does not have a presence. Yohn says that RE/MAX hopes to establish itself there soon, but doubts it will be this year. "At this point we are focusing on providing Brazil and India with the support they need to build on their infrastructure in order to continue their expansion and growth. In addition, we are working with RE/MAX China on a regular basis to assist them through the process they need to follow before they can expand and grow. We don?t want to bite off more than we can chew." During the year ahead the RE/MAX expansion focus will continue to centre around Asia, as that is the continent where RE/MAX has the least brand presence and sees the greatest opportunities for growth at this point. "Franchise rights have been negotiated in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, and we are in the process of working our way through government regulations to get the right systems in place for successful growth in these countries," says Yohn. "Other countries where we are looking to establish a brand presence this year include Japan, South Korea and Malaysia." With the continued global expansion of the brand firmly in their sights, Yohn says that RE/MAX have also noted the amazing opportunities presented in Eurasia, the grouping of countries between Europe and Asia which includes the like of Armenia, Georgia and Kazakhstan to name a few. Locally, RE/MAX of Southern Africa has also seen solid growth, with more than 30 new RE/MAX franchises opened in the Southern African region. Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that this brings the RE/MAX of Southern Africa network to over 170 offices and 1800 agents. "We are confident that in the year ahead our footprint will continue to expand within the Southern African region which includes South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mauritius and the Seychelles."

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Continued success for RE/MAX in distressed property salesFri 22 Jun 2012

Distressed properties are still very much a reality in the South African market, which is one of the reasons why RE/MAX of Southern Africa has continued to train its agents to handle these kinds of specialised sales,? says Peter Gilmour, Chairman of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

Gilmour notes that over 600 RE/MAX agents have received the internationally acclaimed Certified Distressed Property Expert Professional Designation (CDPE), a course which was launched exclusively to RE/MAX offices in January last year. The course is delivered under licence of the Charfen Institute based in the USA. Over 60 000 agents from around the world have taken the CDPE course. Gilmour explains that the course focuses on the options and alternatives that professionally trained agents can offer homeowners who have found themselves in financial difficulty, where they are at the point of possibly losing their home due to the fact that they are unable to afford their monthly bond repayments. "The primary objective for the professional agent," he says, "is to find a way to assist the homeowner to keep their home. This is also the primary goal for the financial institutions." Gilmour reports that the RE/MAX of Southern Africa agents who have been marketing distressed properties have managed to achieve, on average, 91% of the asking price. In addition, the number of offers that have been accepted by the banks has increased considerably. These distressed properties have spent an average of 45 days on the market before selling. "We attribute this success to the fact that our CDPE trained agents are selling these properties for the best possible price," he says. Gilmour explains that a CDPE accredited agent?is a real estate professional with specific understanding of the complex issues confronting the real estate industry, and the options available to homeowners in order to avoid their property being repossessed by the financial institution that holds the bond. "While dealing with financial challenges is a hardship for any family, finding a qualified real estate professional who can assist you in selling your home for a market-related price before your financial troubles get to such a point that the property is repossessed, has given many debt-plagued homeowners some good options for financial recovery." According to the National Credit Regulator, the household debt to disposable income ratio in South Africa decreased from 78,2% in 2010 to 75,8% in 2011. "This is still a very high ratio," says Gilmour, "meaning consumers need to continue working hard to limit their levels of debt. For those consumers who are unable to manage their levels of debt and stand the chance of losing their home, CDPE accredited agents are able to offer expert advice and assistance." A case in point is the CDPE accredited agent from the RE/MAX Platinum office, which operates in the Rustenburg area and surrounds, who sold a R2,9-million property within 10 days.

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The unexpected offer to purchaseThu 14 Jun 2012

As more and more buyers enter the market and demand for property increases, there is a good chance that demand could soon outweigh the current market's supply of homes, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa. "If homes that are currently on the market do not meet buyers' criteria, we could soon follow the trend in the US, where frustrated house hunters are making offers on homes that are not on the market. Although this is usually in the top-end sector of the market, unexpected offers on lower-priced properties have become more popular as supply wanes," says Goslett. "The trend has come about as a result of the inventory of property on the market shrinking, while consumer confidence and the desire to take advantage of favourable buying conditions increases.

Some regions in South Africa have already reported seeing a shortage of certain type of properties." If the trend does grow here in South Africa, it is likely that there could be property owners getting an unexpected offer to purchase even thought they have not considered selling their home. Given the nature of this kind of offer, says Goslett, it is more than likely going to be a price that may exceed the current market value and could be worthwhile considering. He notes that homeowners who find themselves in this situation should consider a few elements before making their decision: GET PROFESSIONAL HELP If a homeowner receives an unexpected offer to purchase it is best for them to consult with either an attorney with real estate experience or a reputable real estate agent working within their area. Consulting with a professional will offer the homeowner guidance with regard to the correct procedure and process to follow. OBTAIN A COMPARATIVE MARKET ANALYSIS Another reason to consult with a real estate agent is that it is important to obtain information and analyze current trends and values in your particular area. An estate agent can be helpful in this regard as they will be able to provide sales figures and a Comparative Market Analysis of the area. This will provide an estimate of what the home is worth in the current market and give the homeowner an indication of how fair and attractive the offer is. ASSESS THE FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS The homeowner will need to review their finances, which will give them a clear indication of the feasibility of the deal benefiting them. They will need to ask the questions, will the offer cover the existing bond and will there be enough for other expenses? There may be early cancellation fees on the bond or Capital Gains Tax to consider. Other aspects would include looking at the affordability of buying another property and new bond repayments on perhaps a higher amount. The renegotiation of any contracts where the current property serves as a surety will also have to be considered. IF THE OFFER MADE SUBJECT TO A CONDITION If the buyer has made the offer subject to any certain conditions, these conditions will obviously have to be met before the deal can proceed to conclusion. A buyer?s intention for the property will provide the homeowner with an indication of what conditions will need to be met. For example, if the buyer intends to use the residence for business purposes, the offer will more than likely be subject to the application for business rights being granted. Knowing the conditions the offer is subject to will also provide the homeowner with an estimate time frame as to how long they have to make their decision. WHAT ARE THE HOMEOWNER?S FUTURE PLANS? The homeowner?s life-stage and futures plans will need to be considered. For a young couple wanting to start a family, an offer to purchase on their current home may give them the opportunity to buy a property that better suits their requirements for a family. For a family that is settled in a house that meets their needs and enjoys the area in which they live, the decision may be a lot harder to make. "When a homeowner receives an unexpected offer, the decision to sell or not is entirely theirs. Only they can ultimately decide whether the offer is worth their consideration or not and they will need to make the correct decision for them and their future aspirations," Goslett concludes.

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