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Buying or selling a home as well as moving, can be one of the most stressful experiences in your life, even more so if you are not properly informed, and it is probably one of the most important investments you will make. You need to understand your rights and obligations and learn to take control of the process.
Property and its wealth creating power is not an exact science, but a very complex industry, in which most of us share an interest. Property Power is designed to empower home buyers, home sellers, first-time property investors and owner-builders/renovators with knowledge regarding important aspects of purchasing and selling immovable residential property.
Too many people run into financial difficulty and have to live with disappointments after making hasty decisions and not taking control of their property transactions. Property Power is a magazine (including an interactive PC CD-Rom) in which we cover the most important facts with regard to property transactions as comprehensively as possible, while keeping it simple, user-friendly and easy to read.
If you missed out on the previous editions, don’t despair. Each year, after the Minister of Finance announces the new Budget, we update Property Power and release a new edition. Everything discussed in the previous edition is simply revised and modified to the latest developments, figures and legislation in the market and newly researched material is added.
Property Power is updated and published regularly. You can visit our website at any time to make sure that you have the latest edition and that you are not missing out on any new information, like amendments to certain acts, or changes in the interest rate, budget speech, and so on. We endeavor to update Property Power at least once a year, however sometimes an edition may be relevant for two years.
“If property owners do not take collective action as a neighbourhood community, the affect on everyone’s property values in that neighbourhood could be very negative”, says Cape Town real estate broker, Andre de Villiers from Cape Town.
De Villiers was previously a Neighbourhood Watch Chairperson for a popular Cape Town coastal suburb. “My experience is that there are far too few residents prepared to get involved in neighbourhood security unless there is a dramatic spike in crime or a violent attack. The majority of residents it seems are only too happy to leave the collective security concerns to someone else”.
“As the owner of four real estate offices in Cape Town, I can confirm that buyers are increasingly asking agents for more details about security issues in the neighbourhood of the house they are interested in. The focus on the individual house’s security is correctly seen as something that can be resolved by the buyer, but the area’s reputation and crime statistics are a greater concern, as a buyer knows this will probably be an issue that falls outside their immediate control.”
There is certainly a demand for reliable data but this is not as easy to obtain as some may think. Many smaller incidents are not reported to the police and many private security services treat their information as confidential and many neighbourhood watch groups are understandably concerned that their neighbourhood could suffer if their efficiency in keeping records resulted in a negative message!
“I think any professional estate agent should have some reasonable methodology to answer security questions from buyers objectively about the neighbourhood. We can’t put our head in the sand over this issue and a lack of access to reliable data is certainly a challenge,” said de Villiers.
The message to property owners is to ‘buy in’ to the responsibility of keeping their neighbourhood safe and crime free through collective action, and thereby collecting a ‘collective security dividend’. “Imagine if you will, a pocket of houses that is able to claim and where the seller or agent can statistically show, that the subject area is the safest area in this suburb! If that’s not a great selling feature then, as a real estate professional with over thirty years experience, I am not sure what is!” said de Villiers.
The City of Cape Town is currently implementing Level 2 Water restrictions. This is due in part to the low dam levels. It is everyone’s responsibility to save water.
Here are some useful tips on how you can save water:
Save water throughout your home
Ensure all taps are fully closed – a dripping tap at 1 drip per second wastes up to 30 litres a day – that is equivalent to 10 000 litres a year.
Replace tap washers regularly and fit tap aerators to restrict and spread the flow. This saves water yet feels like you are using the same amount of water.
Ensure your plumbing system is regularly checked for leaks and engage a plumber when necessary.
Save water in your garden
Water your garden before 09:00 or after 16:00 (or even later on hot summer days). Avoid watering during windy periods and only water your garden when necessary.
Re-use your bath and sink water to water plants and lawns. Professional greywater recycling systems are also available for purchase.
If you have an overflow pipe that drips into the garden, place a bucket beneath the drips and use the saved water to water pot plants.
Mulching flowerbeds keeps down the weeds and holds moisture in the soil for longer.
Use a mulching lawn mower that allows clippings to be finely cut and blown back into the lawn.
Don’t mow lawns below 4 cm in length, as this reduces root depth and lawns are more likely to burn in summer.
Use a trigger nozzle with automatic shut-off on your hose when you wash your car, and use short bursts of water – this can save up to 300 litres each time. Or, to save even more water wash your vehicle using a bucket of water.
Use a trigger nozzle with automatic shut-off on your hose when you water your garden.
Check and maintain your irrigation system regularly, to ensure no water is running to waste, or that paved areas are being watered.
Adjust your irrigation system for the season and switch it off during rainy weather – even if it is borehole or wellpoint water.
Watering the garden less frequently, but deeper (for longer) encourages a deeper root system, which results in stronger plants. This practice can make water-wise plants out of most established plants.
Save water in your kitchen
Ensure washing machines or dishwashers have a full load before running them.
Rinse glasses, cutlery and vegetables in a basin of water, rather than under a running tap, and reuse the water for pot plants or in the garden.
Rinse water can be reused for the next cycle of washing up before being discarded.
Keep a bottle of drinking water in the fridge so that you don’t run lukewarm water down the drain when waiting for it to cool.
Run tap water into a bottle when waiting for it to heat up.
Thaw frozen foods in the fridge, sunlight or microwave rather than placing them under running water.
Save water in your bathroom
Close the tap when brushing your teeth. This saves up to 20 litres per month. Use a mug of water to rinse your toothbrush.
Plug the sink when shaving rather than rinsing your razor under running water. This saves up to 45 litres per month.
A half-filled bath uses about 113 litres, a 5-minute shower uses about 56 litres. Shower rather than bath, if you have to bath make it a shallow one or share it.
Reuse bath water in your garden.
Install a new water-saving toilet or put a clean, sealed plastic container filled with sand in the toilet cistern. This could save you up to 7 300 litres each year.
A toilet leak can waste up to 30 litres an hour – check if your toilet is leaking by adding a few drops of food dye to the cistern. If the colour seeps into the bowl, you have a leak, which should be fixed as soon as possible.
Install a water-saving shower head, take shorter showers, don’t run the water at full force and turn off the shower when soaping or shaving.
Save water in industries, businesses and schools
Automatic flushing urinals are the ultimate water wasters. If they cannot be replaced immediately, turn off the water after hours and over weekends – schools doing this have saved up to R5 000 on their annual water bill.
Flush valves should flush for just two to four seconds and urinals for six to eight seconds.
Regular maintenance of toilet fittings will save unnecessarily flushed water.
Ensure your plumbing systems are regularly checked for leaks.
Use a broom to sweep forecourts and other paved areas. Do not use a hose for this purpose.
Potable water must not be used to dampen building sand or other building material to prevent it from being blown away.
Every day we make mistakes that leave our homes vulnerable to a break-in. A burglar will always choose the easiest target and that’s good news for you – it means you have a lot of influence on whether you become a victim or not.
Hiding keys by doorways – leaving keys near door ways is very risky as you risk someone duplicating your key and breaking in whenever they want.
Leaving out mail – an overflowing mailbox is a good sign that no one is home as well as it allows criminals to steal your mail and gain personal information.
Open windows – windows are often the easiest entry point for burglars to access your home as doors can be sturdy and deadlocked.
Leaving valuables in sight – valuables should be left out sight so that burglars and stored away as expensive items signal that you have money and is a clear indicator to a burglar that your home is worth targeting.
No visible security – securing your home with burglar bars and visible security measures is a huge deterrent to burglars.
Not maintaining your yard – a messy yard is a signal to a burglar that you are an easy target as untrimmed trees and hedges make for potential hiding places.
Updating social media – avoid using social media to let strangers know your whereabouts as you never know who is following you online.
A lifeless home – leaving lights and the TV / Radio on a timer can signal to a burglar that someone is home.