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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RE/MAX room makeover winner announcedWed 27 Oct 2010

Check out the press release on the winner of the RE/MAX Room Makeover, recently been sent to the media: Fourways Gardens resident wins a R100 000 room makeover from RE/MAX of Southern Africa By Friday 22 October, votes for the RE/MAX room makeover competition were tallied, with the Steyn family of Fourways Gardens, announced as the winner of the R100 000 prize on Saturday 23 October. The six-week online competition, which launched on 1 September, was advertised nationally and received over 9000 entries. Over 5000 instant prizes, from spa pamper treatments and rounds of golf to magazine subscriptions, were awarded to participants during the competition. RE/MAX of Southern Africa also held its own ?Blog to Win? competition, an online campaign for the blogging community that motivated bloggers around the country to direct as many people as possible, with their blogs as the platform, to enter the national competition. On 7 October five finalists were randomly selected and verified by accredited auditors.? The finalists were then asked to submit a short motivation about why they deserved the room makeover, along with a picture of the room they would like to see with a new look.? Pictures of these five finalist?s rooms were posted on the RE/MAX website, www.remax.co.za, for the general public to cast their vote to determine which room they thought deserved the makeover the most.

On Saturday 23 October, Gary and Diane Steyn and their two sons, Kevin and Brandon, were surprised by a visit at their home from Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, along with a team of RE/MAX agents and staff, who announced them as the winners and handed over the grand prize. Kevin?s bedroom, which was the room entered for the makeover, received 26 619 out of the total 57 206 votes. A surprised and excited Steyn family said they were elated to be voted as the winners. ?We mobilised all our friends and family to vote for us and are extremely excited about a makeover of Kevin?s room.?? Diane said she is looking forward to seeing the room change, and is grateful for the opportunity as she lacks creativity when it comes to interior d?cor. Gary, said he felt the competition was exceptionally well run, with the web-based system making it easy to vote. ?RE/MAX has also involved youngsters in this competition, which is a great brand-building initiative.? Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, congratulated the Steyn family on their win. ?This competition has been extremely successful, and presented RE/MAX with a brilliant opportunity to engage with its customers in a fun yet meaningful way. Well done to the Steyn family, we all look forward to comparing the before and after look,? Goslett concluded.

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