Security is a major determining factor for most property buyers in South Africa, which is why homes within security estates or those that have state-of-the-art security systems generally sell for a higher premium. What about tenants? A large portion of the population prefers to rent rather than own a property due to financial and other reasons. Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that just because a person is renting, it doesn?t mean that their safety or the security aspects of a property should be any less important. "When deciding which rental property is the best option, a tenant should consider the security aspects and the possibility of any security issues that may occur," advises Goslett. "Although rental properties could be more cost effective and less responsibility then owning a home, they can be difficult to keep secure. It is vital that the tenant finds out what security features have been installed in the property to make it a safer place to live before signing the lease agreement." According to Goslett, the first question that a tenant should ask themselves is what their security needs are. It is important to remember that while sectional title complexes are regarded as a safer option, they are not untouched by criminal activity. He adds that security goes beyond the extent of the property itself. "In the case where the rental property is situated within a sectional title complex, the tenant should enquire about the security features of the complex as a whole, such as access control, security guards on site or patrols. Many complexes may also have surveillance of some kind, which will vastly increase the security of the development," says Goslett, who adds that it is also advisable to ask whether access codes or door locks are changed once tenants move from the rental property. He notes that while landlords have a responsibility to ensure that the property is in a good condition and is well-maintained with reasonable security precautions such as door and window locks, landlords are not required to provide any additional security. "However," says Goslett, "if a tenant has their heart set on staying in the property, they could get prior written permission from the landlord for them to install security features at their own cost. In some cases the landlord may decide to pay a portion or all of the costs because it will increase the value of the property as well as possible future rental income. Once a tenant is aware of what security aspects are in place and what is required, they will be limited by their agreement with the landlord as to what they can install. This is why it is so important to discuss the matter and come to an understanding with the landlord before any agreement is signed." Another aspect to be aware of is the lighting surrounding the property. Dark areas make it easier for intruders to approach and either enter or assess a building. Outdoor floodlights can help to eliminate the risk and motion-sensor models are a value-for-money, effective option. Outdoors is not the only place that requires good lighting. According to Goslett, a lighting timer for inside the home can create the illusion of someone being home even when the tenant is traveling. Tenants should also check whether there are fire extinguishers and where the fire escape stairs and exits are.? Another important aspect to consider is the parking area and access from rental property to where the car is parked. They should check to see if the area is well-lit, and if there is a garage to park the car in. "Once all aspects have been checked and the tenant is satisfied that their security questions have been sufficiently addressed, they can confidently decide on which rental property they feel most secure in. Feeling safe is an important part of feeling at home," Goslett concludes. For more information visit www.remax.co.za
In an effort to lead transformation compliance within the real estate sector, RE/MAX of Southern Africa has invested in establishing its own Accredited Training Institution, the Global Learning Centre (GLC). This was achieved during the first audit by the Services SETA of the GLC in March with accreditation by the Services SETA awarded on 1 April. Challenging the many barriers to entry for new and emerging estate agents, the GLC solution to compliance integrates the best of world-class training with the compulsory qualification and the regulatory intern logbook into the GLC Intern Programme.? This turnkey solution simplifies requirements into a streamlined process, making it both cost effective and an integrated user experience. While the GLC Intern Programme has been designed to fully meet regulatory requirements of the accrediting authorities, it has been progressively structured to incorporate eLearning via a multi-mode delivery platform, which facilitates a blend of methodologies.? The solution promotes 'high touch' eLearning, using multimedia technology, a specific workplace-based mentoring component, class-based tutoring and portfolio support workshops, online chat forums and specialist support interventions.? The Learner Management System (LMS) is robust and subject to interrogation and audit, containing a powerful dashboard and data analytics for effective management by Margaret Nicol, the GLC Development Manager, who is responsible for the design and development of the accredited programme. The GLC is currently in the pilot phase of implementation of the GLC Intern Programme, with the initial focus on training GLC Certified Mentors, who are responsible for implementation of the programme in the work environment.? The interns or new recruits then undergo a full orientation and induction programme to ensure they understand the programme structure, roles and responsibilities, the learning pathway, qualification processes and achievement requirements. Their initial focus will be on sales, as that is the backbone of an agent's trade and the means by which they will make a living and potentially become future rising stars. ?RE/MAX of Southern Africa has a unique, international introductory programme that is customised by world-renown real estate expert and coach, Brian Buffini, designed to lead them to greatness is as little as 100 days! On successful completion of this initial phase, interns are selected onto and enrolled on the GLC Intern Programme, where they will receive full training and support to achieve the compliance requirements in as little as six modules. The main focus for RE/MAX of Southern Africa is on growing its market share while at the same time transforming the industry. ?"It is a priority for the RE/MAX of Southern Africa brand to grow its agent base over the next five years. We currently have over 2 200 agents working throughout the Southern Africa region and we?have plans to increase that number to 5 000 agents by 2020. We expect much of that growth to come from the new emerging markets in South Africa and with the launch of the RE/MAX GLC Intern Program, which will be providing top class real estate training, we will ensure that the customer experience is consistent with the brand?s high standards," says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa. "The programme will be offered to agents at the lowest possible rate and will be designed to be the simplest, easiest and fastest way to become a certified Professional Practitioner in Real Estate that is fully EAAB compliant," Nicol explains. "The system will comprehensively incorporate the key elements for those entering the real estate sector, such as the Services Seta FETC: Real Estate, NQFL4 accreditation and EAAB mandatory one year internship, along with the RE/MAX Accelerate course and Buffini?s 100 Days to Greatness. This will ensure that agents will be fully equipped to service buyers and sellers in the housing market and provide a professional service from day one," Nicol concludes. For more information visit www.remax.co.za
Adrian Goslett comments on the interest rate announcementThu 21 May 2015
Although inflation is currently on the rise and economic growth is under pressure, the Monetary Policy Committee has decided to leave the interest rates untouched for the time being. The prime lending rate will remain at 9.25%, while the repo rate remains at 5.75%. Current economic factors, such as the rising inflationary pressure, must have made the decision a tough one, with any of the three possible policy options a prospect. However, keeping the rates unchanged for a while longer seemed the most practical at this stage and is welcome news for consumers, even if only for the next two months. While a cut in the rate would temporarily boost the economy and relieve some of the financial burden that many consumers and households are currently carrying, the move would weaken the rand. A weakened rand would only increase inflationary pressure, pushing the rate of inflation outside of the target zone, which would in turn force the Reserve Bank to increase the rates to counteract this. Conversely, a hike in the rates would result in a strengthened rand but would also hurt consumers and damage economic growth further. Although the Reserve Bank does not want to constrain consumer spending, they also don?t want to keep inflation pressure from exceeding the projected goals and targets. Rate increases will have the desired impact on inflation, but will place a lot of strain on consumers. Many consumers are already dealing with high debt levels and the increasing cost of living. Things such as impending electricity price hikes will affect the majority of consumer?s lives and most likely impact on their ability to afford non-essential items. Any further financial constraints will have homeowners stay in the homes they are currently in or downgrade to smaller, more affordable homes where possible. Economists predict that the global interest rate trajectory will remain flatter for longer, which will probably keep the rates where they are until a hike is seen in the US, which is expected to happen around the middle of this year. The Reserve Bank will likely follow suit, so consumers should expect a hike before the year is over. Those who can afford to do so should take advantage of the interest rate stability we have experienced and pay down debt to prepare for future hikes.
All debt is equal, right?Mon 11 May 2015
All debt is the same right? Not exactly, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa. "Very often consumers seem to put all debt in the same category, however while all debt is debt, it is not all equal. Identifying the difference between bad debt and what could be considered as potentially good debt will assist consumers to make more informed and better financial decisions moving forward," says Goslett. Before the global property market downturn, many homeowners would turn to their home equity as a credit source when they required large sums of money. However, post-recession thinking is somewhat different with homeowners rather paying down their homeloan accounts as much as possible to ensure that they see a greater return on their investment should they decide to sell.? As a result a popular alternative would be for consumers to dip into their retirement funds and take portions of this money in cash when needed. Unfortunately, taking money out of retirement investments will only cost the consumer in the long run and have a detrimental impact on their retirement income. Goslett says that instead of getting to the point of resorting to taking away from a retirement fund, it is important to understand the nature of the debt and see whether it will put the consumer in a better or worse position then they are currently in. "It is extremely important for a consumer to make the distinction between a good debt, a necessary debt and a bad one, as this will help to drive their decision-making process." He adds that the determining factor between a good and bad debt is that a good debt will result in the consumer's financial value growing over time. "A prime example of this is a bond, which results in the consumer owning an asset ? a home. The property not only serves the consumer's need for shelter, but also appreciates in value and grows the consumer's net worth over time," says Goslett. "Something to consider however, is that a loan can tip over into becoming a bad debt if the homeowner becomes financially distressed and can no longer afford their property. This emphasises the importance of having a financial contingency plan in place when purchasing a home." A necessary debt would be something that would change the consumer's station in life, such as a student loan. In order to fund their education, most students will require some kind of loan. While this means that they will start their career in debt, it will also provide them with the opportunity to earn a higher salary or possibly fast track their career progress. Another necessary loan for most would be car finance, however this can also fall into the bad debt category if the buyer selects a car that is far too expensive to run or maintain. According to Goslett, any debt that is purely for consumption is bad debt like holidays, food or items of furniture, for example. "These kinds of items will not retain their value. Taking out a loan to pay for these items is never a good idea, as it will only place more financial pressure on the consumer and put them in a worse off position as they will end up paying off these items for months or even years without any financial return," advises Goslett. He notes that regardless of what category the debt falls into, ideally the sooner the debt is paid off, the better off the consumer will be. "The fact is that debt accrues interest and the sooner it is paid off, the less interest a consumer will have to pay. More importantly, once all debt has been paid, a consumer has the freedom to start saving and building a nest egg for themselves," Goslett concludes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 www.remax.co.za/foundation or contact the Foundation manager, Sandy Smith on 021 700 2000.
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.
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 www.remax.co.za
Making the right choices when investing in propertyWed 08 Apr 2015
The top 10 things every homeowner should do before they sellThu 02 Apr 2015
Reserve Bank decides to leave interest rates where they areThu 26 Mar 2015
RE/MAX Distinguished Service Award presented to the GilmoursThu 19 Mar 2015
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.