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.