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Please note that our offices will close on 12th December 2017 and will re-open on 11th January 2018.
Thank you for your support during 2017 and have a blessed Christmas and New Year.
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Bring summer into your home with these easy tips
With the mercury hitting 30 degrees and more across most of South Africa these days, its official, summer is finally here. This year, instead of just packing away those winter woollies and calling it quits, why not give your home some summer loving as well?
Debbie Reabow, Brand and Communications Manager for the Rawson Property Group, shares tips…
Send winter packing
Those cosy cushion covers and layered throws are a must for winter. However, in summer, they can make interiors feel overly cluttered and stuffy in the heat.
If you can’t see yourself snuggling into that pile of velvety cushions or tucking that faux fur rug over your knees, it’s time to pack them away where they’ll stay clean and fresh for next season.
Soft furnishings aren’t the only things we tend to collect during winter – decorative knick-knacks have a habit of building up as well.
Try to clear out as much unnecessary clutter as possible to get that easy, breezy summer vibe. You don’t want a totally blank canvass, but you do want some room to breathe.
Colour it casual
When it comes to making a space feel lighter and brighter, there’s nothing more powerful than colour.
Summer is all about fresh, juicy hues, so replace winter’s intense tones with cool, ice-cream pastels or palettes inspired by fruity sorbets or tropical prints.
Nautical blues and whites are also timeless choices that pair well with natural materials like wood, linen, cotton and cane.
Get personal with prints
This season has some incredible textile prints to choose from, and they make amazing accents to add personality to any summer space.
Choose from bold tropicals, delicate florals, exotic geometrics and more. Don’t be scared to mix and match for a more eclectic feel as summer is the perfect time for light-hearted fun. Be playful with your choices.
Bring the outdoors in
Indoor plants are making a huge comeback at the moment and they’re a perfect way to introduce a touch of summer into your home.
Tropical-styled delicious monsters (monstera deliciosa) are a gorgeous choice for a pop of lush green, but simple succulents and air plants are also trendy and attractive.
If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, get miniature fruit tree varietals that not only thrive indoors but also produce scented blossoms and fruit as well.
If you don’t have a green thumb, don’t worry, plants aren’t the only way to embrace the outdoors. You can also introduce natural materials like raw wood, sandstone, seagrass and loose-weave linens to bring nature into your home.
Take the indoors out
There’s nothing better than alfresco entertaining on a balmy summer’s day, so give your outdoor areas a little love to make them as enjoyable as possible.
Outdoor entertainment areas are popular with property buyers so don’t be afraid to invest a little money in this area, it’ll pay off down the line.
If you have the space, a covered patio with a built-in braai is a fantastic option, but a neatly paved area with a few outdoor couches or a dining table and a big umbrella can be just as nice.
When planning an outdoor space, don’t overlook lighting.
The right lights are essential from an ambiance perspective as well as a functional one. There are a lot of solar options available these days that are great for areas where it’s difficult to get power.
Candles, lanterns and torches can be romantic additions as well.
Look on the bright side
No matter how you choose to embrace the summer season, fun should always be the focus.
Your home is your playground, and should reflect your uniqueness. Don’t get too caught up in what’s trendy and forget about the things that make you and your loved ones smile.
Source: Property 24
https://www.property24.com/…/bring-summer-into-your-h…/26769

4 steps to getting the home you really want
f you are in the market for a new home, there are a few ways to ensure that you make the right choice and get the home you really want
Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, shares some tips…
1. Preparation is key, so get ready
“With the right preparation and research, you will be able to get the right home for you and your family,” says Goslett.
Before going out and looking for a property, speak to your mortgage professional about your financial situation and credit history to determine your loan options. It’s important to know how much house you can afford based on your down payment and income. According to Goslett, a strong letter of pre-approval can really add to your bargaining power.
If you must sell your current home to afford a new one, consider putting it on the market before starting your search. You can often negotiate a better deal on a purchase if your property is under contract or you already have the cash in hand.
Once you have an idea of what you can afford, have a meeting with your real estate agent to discuss your needs and preferences. Also, establish the best method for your agent to send listings and communicate with you about available properties.
“A real estate agent is a great resource that buyers can use to tap into what is happening within the local property market. An agent can provide a wealth of knowledge about an area that can help you make the right decision,” says Goslett.
2. Shop smart
Homes that are in pristine condition will cost you more than a property in need of attention, but if you do consider a fixer-upper, judge structural deficiencies more harshly than cosmetic flaws.
“It can be costly to replace major components or to change the layout, but redecorating with flooring, fixtures or paint is relatively easy and sometimes offers instant equity potential,” says Goslett.
Another key aspect to consider is location. Even if the site seems perfect for you at present, think about whether it will appeal to a large pool of buyers if you should decide to sell in the future.
3. Next step - go for it
To write a winning offer without overpaying, look at the prices of comparable sales.
“Again, a real estate agent will be a valuable resource in providing statistics and figures regarding recent sales in the area,” says Goslett.
“Consider whether the property is in a high-demand area or if there is plenty of competition. Ask your agent to find out why it is for sale and if the seller seems motivated. If you accommodate the seller’s preferred closing dates or other terms, he or she may be more flexible with the price.”
4. Do your due diligence
Once you have come to terms with the seller, schedule a home inspection. Many sellers expect to address issues related to safety or building codes, and additional repairs or a credit may be negotiated. Make sure all of your questions or concerns regarding the home’s condition are answered through the inspection process.
“With the right preparation and research, you will be able to get the right home for you and your family,” says Goslett.
Source: Property 24
https://www.property24.com/…/4-steps-to-getting-the-h…/26746

It’s a property buyer’s market in SA for 2018

he property market has shifted notably over the last 18 months as the fall-out from the weak political and economic climate, poor growth and credit downgrades continues. The inevitable result, says Samuel Seeff, chairman of the Seeff Property Group, is that this rather good performing economic sector, is now also taking strain.

“Where it was a sellers’ market until early last year, we have seen a progressive shift this year which has manifested in lower demand, rising stock levels combined with a decline in buyer confidence, flat price growth and deals taking longer to conclude.
“The outcome, is that we head into 2018 with a buyer’s market for most areas, even some Cape locations,” says Seeff.
Of concern, he adds, is that there is still a lag on the sellers’ side of the equation with price expectations out of step with the market. The result, he says, is an overall weaker market with low levels of liquidity that now favours buyers in most areas.

Overall, the market is down by about 15% to 20% from the 2015-highs. “Yet, we operated in 2017 with slightly improved fundamentals compared to 2016, being a lower repo rate (6.75% vs 7% in 2016) and slower inflation (5.3% vs 6.5% in 2016),” says Seeff.
Even the stand-out Cape is beginning to slow down although it continues to benefit from a broad base of demand such as the constant flow of semigrating buyers from other areas, investment and holiday demand.

Seeff notes that the reported slowdown in semigration is also attributable to the slow rate of sales in other provinces combined with the high prices in the Cape, which has now also put a dampener on this market.

The mid-market below R2 million remains the most active, but very susceptible to financial strain. The upper end, despite being able to better absorb economic fluctuations, says Seeff, has seen a notable slowdown in the Gauteng market above R5 million and in the Cape above R8m and above R18m on the Atlantic Seaboard. The holiday and investment market has also slowed as an inevitable fall-out from the weak confidence levels.

Seeff notes further that the Finance Minister painted a subdued outlook in his mini-budget and we are in for a tough economy and property market in 2018. While by no means gloom and doom, it is a period of prudence ahead for propert
While looking forward to a busier summer period, especially the first part of the year when there is always higher activity, the biggest challenge for the economy and market remains the unstable political climate and poor economic decision-making, he says.

That said, history has shown SA property to be a good investment with growth rates that generally outpace inflation during a positive economic phase as we have seen over the last few years. Property remains a good investment, especially if it is your primary home. Seeff reiterates that there is nothing more important than owning the roof over your head as it provides stability and a base upon which to build a life and wealth.

Regardless of the state of the economy, Seeff says there will always be people who need to buy or sell for a variety of reasons and there is opportunity in every market. Every economy and property market goes through cycles and it is always best to take a long-term view, he concludes.

Source: Property 24
https://www.property24.com/…/its-a-property-buyers-ma…/26712

6 common myths about uPVC windows
Insulation is the key to a comfortable and energy efficient home, keeping noise out and maintaining a regular temperature inside.
With growing environmental concerns internationally and increasing local electricity costs, decreasing energy consumption at home and at work is becoming a necessity.
This is according to Pieter Malherbe, MD of Teva Windows, who says they’ve seen the value of utilising sustainable building materials. “uPVC has the potential to improve quality of life while reducing environmental impact. It’s win-win.”
However, Pieter says there is a lot of misinformation out there. Even South African building professionals including architects, contractors and engineers are nervous to recommend uPVC due to a lack of experience with the product, preferring to advocate for more familiar materials such as aluminium and wood.
He says market education is imperative so that owners can choose the most appropriate products for their properties, according to the accurate information.
Pieter shares common myths about uPVC and the facts you need to know….

1. Double glazing is the only answer
Double glazing is an effective method of insulating your home against the elements. However, glass is not the only element of a window. The framing material has a surprisingly significant effect on insulation.
Traditional materials like aluminium and steel are conductive, not only allowing energy and heat to move through the material into or out of the room, but also transferring energy to the glass itself. With these old framing materials, double glazing will improve insulation.

uPVC on the other hand is entirely non-conductive. In fact, a high-quality uPVC window with single glazing will provide similar insulation to an aluminium window with double glazing, at a lower cost.
If energy efficiency is a top priority for you, then combining uPVC with double glazing will offer serious benefits.

2. It will discolour
Particularly in the case of white uPVC, homeowners are concerned that the material will yellow or grey, having seen the effects of time on PVC piping.
uPVC is in fact a completely different formulation because it is an un-plasticised material. It is therefore not brittle or porous and is unaffected by moisture and heat.
Nevertheless, it is important to ensure that the uPVC supplied is UV stable and SABS approved, so that it can withstand the abundant South African sun.
Ask potential suppliers to show you examples of previous projects that are more than 5 years old, so that you can see for yourself how the product fares under the weather conditions in your region.

3. It is plastic: toxic and non-recyclable
uPVC is fully recyclable and one of the most energy and water efficient materials to manufacture.
In fire tests, it was shown that uPVC windows release less toxins than other window frame materials, including wood.

4. It is weak
Many homeowners are concerned that uPVC windows won’t be able to bear the necessary weight and will buckle, crack or decay.
uPVC is a strong material and high-quality frames will have internal steel reinforcement.
As with any product, there are restrictions on structurally safe heights and widths. A reputable supplier will be able to advise you on how to get the maximum glass surface area without compromising structural integrity.

5. It is expensive
Construction and renovation is a costly business with seemingly endless hidden expenses.
Contractors and owners are understandably vigilant about keeping costs down. When comparing the same level of glazing (single or double), uPVC may be marginally more expensive than aluminium.
If you’re installing a large number of windows this may start to add up. However, as mentioned, uPVC offers almost double the insulation value of aluminium. As such, your electricity bills will be significantly reduced.
You could also decrease your glass expenditure by installing single glazed windows, which offer nearly the same insulation value as double-glazed aluminium. Even if you choose to invest a little more in double glazing with uPVC, your long-term costs are reduced.
The material is low maintenance and doesn’t require replacement for a number of decades. Some contractors may recommend the cheapest option right now to protect their margins, but you need to think about the most cost-effective option in the long term.

6. uPVC is uPVC
Not all uPVC frames are created equal. One of the reasons that many homeowners and developers are suspicious of uPVC is that they have had or heard of negative experiences.
There are some suppliers who use uPVC formulations which are not specifically formulated for the South African climate and may not be UV stable. Some have questionable manufacturing practices, leading to low quality products.
Many are inexperienced at installation and leave the owner to solve the resulting problems. It is therefore worth doing some research into your supplier’s track record and asking for references.

Source: Property 24
https://www.property24.com/…/6-common-myths-about-upv…/26659

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Style inspiration: 6 bathrooms you’ll love
1. Luxurious spa
Combine shades of charcoal with crisp white porcelain floor tiles and wood-look tiles on the walls to set the mood, then indulge yourself in luxury with a spa bath and massaging shower.
2. Colour splash
Crisp white is everlasting and provides a platform for striking accents such as a coloured splashback in the shower and bright accessories.
Keep the look contemporary with a freestanding tub, and black and white vanity.
3. Neoclassical
Combine classical curves with modern clean lines for an avant-garde look that has class written all over it.
Add opulent touches such as a Louis XIV chair and chandelier, then soak it all in, in a freestanding bath and sigh “This is the life”.
4. Natural textures
For an elegant look that oozes understated style, combine natural textures such as sandstone or brick with the sleek smoothness of white subway tiles and sanitaryware.
Wood-look tiles have practical advantages in a steamy bathroom and bring the outdoors in.
Add copper lighting and accessories for a trendy look.
5. Timeless white
Create impact with strong geometric shapes in an all-white bathroom.
Timeless and elegant, white can be ‘zooshed’ up with bling accessories or given a fun twist with pops of striking black.
6. Children’s bathroom
Have fun with bold colour blocks, an astroturf floor and round mirror to make the bathroom an energetic space for the children.
White sanitaryware provides the foundation for future changes when they reach their teens.
Article courtesy of www.builders.co.za
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11/15/17
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Patio cover options for stylish entertaining

Today's outdoor areas are more than just a walk in the garden. They’re just as much a part of one’s home design as any room in the house. Small or large, gardens are becoming an extension of indoor living spaces where we can enjoy our country’s beautiful, warm weather.
You can use your garden to add to your floor plan by installing a deck, patio or entertainment area. You can even do this in a compact garden with careful planning, and a limited budget.
What you want to do is shop around for the best and most affordable options for your lifestyle choice.
A patio or entertainment area doesn't have to be enclosed, but with the addition of a roof cover or walls, you can extend its use all year round.
When it comes to roofing options for a patio or entertainment area, you have a wide selection of materials to choose from:
1. Adding a sloped, tiled roof is probably the most labour intensive from a do-it-yourself point of view. You can cut down on labour by buying ready-made roof trusses to fit.
2. A wood framework or lattice, mounted on timber, concrete or brick supports, allows you to select from a range of alternatives for covering up.
Fibreglass or IBR sheets and natural materials such as grass and thatch are all suitable for topping off a patio or entertainment area. These are all great options so just choose one that suits your budget.
3. Fibreglass panels are the most inexpensive materials for topping off a patio or garden room, but they require regular cleaning to keep them looking good. You’ll also find that over time, the sheeting becomes brittle and a strong wind can result in the sheets tearing loose.
4. Bamboo roofing options look good, but they‘re also fairly expensive. However, if treat them before installation, they’re a long-lasting, durable solution.
5. A fabric covering, while the most inexpensive, is not as long-lasting and will require replacement sooner than other choices.
An extension or addition to the existing property might be the most expensive option, but it offers the most return on investment. It also allows a seamless transition from one area to the other.
If you’re considering adding on to an outdoor entertainment area, think of the benefits you can get from fitting frameless glass doors or leaving one wall entirely open.
Having previously mentioned that a wood framework can be topped off with IBR sheeting, bear in mind that while this is affordable, you may find this to be the least practical option.
Noise levels during rainstorms can be deafening and IBR is known for conducting heat, making it uncomfortable during the summer. For this reason, it’s sometimes a wise choice to look at fitting insulating panels or installing a false ceiling underneath the IBR sheeting.
Whatever structure you decide on, do your research on the pros and cons before you have it installed.
Article courtesy of www.home-dzine.co.za.

SA’s property market: hotspots and buyer trends
Property remains one of the oldest and most popular investments globally, and property forecasters have recently mentioned that the biggest deterrents for buyers are not only the economy, but having confidence in the location of the property.
Lightstone provides analysis to evaluate trends and segmentation within the property sector, which includes the data of 7.9 million registered properties across South Africa, 6.5 million of which are residential properties valued at R5 trillion. Freehold properties make up the biggest portion at 69.7%, then estates (15. 5%) followed by sectional title (14.8%).
Estates consist of a much higher proportion of total value vs. volume as these properties are on average, valued at three times more than normal freehold properties.
It’s no surprise given that even though Gauteng is the smallest province, it is home to the biggest portion of total properties in both value and volume, while the Western Cape comes in at number two and KwaZulu-Natal at number three, according to Lighstone.
Gauteng and the Western Cape include more than half of all properties (6.5 million) and two thirds of the total value (R5 trillion). As the biggest province, the Northern Cape is still the least developed residential province with less than 1.3% of the total value of residential properties.
Like Cape Town, Johannesburg has a much larger proportion of properties in the upper value band with almost one third of properties worth over R3 million. The increased property growth in Cape Town can be attributed to the migration of Gauteng residents and the landlocked nature of the city, says Lightstone. Sectors like the interior Atlantic Seaboard and Southern Suburbshave sustained growth of very high valued properties.
Lightstone data also sheds light on the most expensive streets and suburbs in Gauteng, and surprisingly the number one spot belongs to Blair Atholl, situated in the City of Tshwane. Coronation Street in Sandhurst is highlighted as the most expensive street at an average value of R26 million per house.
Analysis of estates in Gauteng shows the highest median value at Clouds End in Sandton and the highest inflation at Willow Grove in Witkoppen.
When comparing the average age of buyers in the top ten suburbs offering the highest number of first-time buyers, it is encouraging to see that Soshanguve South and Protea Glen have the most growth. The age of buyers in Gauteng is between 18 and 55 years old, which shows us that the younger working class is investing in property.
“Cape Town shows its biggest growth in property buyers over the age of 55 to 65, as well as 65 and older indicating that an older generation is looking to establish themselves in this province for what we can assume to be for retirement,” says Lightstone.

Source: Property 24
https://www.property24.com/…/sas-property-market-hots…/26652

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3 hot lighting trends for 2018
Modern interior design ideas are in a constant state of flux.
This is according to Melissa Davidson, from The Lighting Warehouse, who says lighting trends are fuelled by the constant incursion of new materials and novel forms.
They are also fuelled by the ever-changing technological innovations that are being introduced and the ever-inspiring element of human creativity and modern interior design trends.
What was fresh and inspiring two years back may not necessarily be stylish and interesting today, and some trends that were popular decades ago seem to be making a big comeback.
Melissa shares three of the hottest lighting trends for 2018…
1. Industrial chic with a vintage edge
The stripped-down, hipster-inspired designs of the urban-industrial décor trend remain an ever-popular inspiration for lighting and décor as a whole.
This modern, yet vintage-inspired trend is heavily influenced by early 20th century manufacturing and Victorian style.
Light fittings made from materials with an antique-type aesthetic and weathered paint effects are bang on trend. Also, lighting with antique-style bulbs and mechanical detailing are popular.
2. Organically natural
With today’s focus on the environment and green living, a major emerging trend in lighting design is natural or organic style lighting.
This kind of lighting comprises designs that are delicate, have a nature-inspired earthy feel and fixtures are made from organic materials. Lighting with a more casual, contemporary design is a hot trend at the moment.
3. Marvellous metallic
Warm metals are making a serious run in the residential décor scene. Shades and tons of copper and rose gold are especially popular, while polished chrome and steel tones remain well liked.
Whether brushed or polished, lighting in glamorous metallic finishes continues to appear in the best-dressed homes.

Source: Property 24
https://www.property24.com/articles/3-hot-lighting-trends-for-2018/26639

8 creative ways to save for a home deposit...
Weakening economic conditions, increased debt repayment burden, rising consumer inflation and stricter lending criteria have seen 100% bonds, especially to first-time buyers, become much harder to get, but it has also placed many potential buyers firmly between a rock and a hard place.
Not only do banks require bigger deposits than before, it has also become more difficult to put money aside in today’s economic climate, as growing financial pressure is forcing consumers to tighten belts even further just to make ends meet,” says JP van der Bergh, founder of Propscan.
"However, a sizeable deposit has several significant benefits in addition to increasing your chance of bond approval - it also gives you a jumpstart on the financial process, makes your offer more appealing to sellers as it bumps up the chance of bond approval, naturally decreases your monthly bond repayments, and saves you a considerable amount in interest over the long term.”
Kay Geldenhuys from ooba, national mortgage originator, illustrates how a deposit can reduce the overall and monthly costs of buying property: “A home buyer who purchases a house for R1 million with no deposit at a 10.25% interest rate will pay approximately R9 816 per month over 20 years. At the end of the home loan term, the total amount repaid will be R2 355 944.
“On the other hand, with a R100 000 deposit, the monthly repayments will be approximately R8 835, and the total repayment will be around R2 120 350. Add the deposit to this and the total comes to R2 220 350 - making the total repayments some R135 594 cheaper than buying without a deposit.”
She says it also stands to reason that the smaller the risk for the bank, the more negotiable they will be on the interest rate charged.
Calculate how much you can save.
“Right from the beginning of the home-buying process, it is important to ensure that you know what you can afford to buy and how much deposit you will need,” says Van der Bergh.
“Once you have established how much you need to save, the next step is to figure out how to do so as quickly as possible, and in order to do so, you must analyse your spending habits. On a spreadsheet, list all your fixed monthly expenses including existing debts you are currently servicing and make a note of all other regular expenses like the daily cappuccino at the café near work.
Next, go through it with a fine-tooth comb to see where you can cut down on monthly expenditure and determine how much you can realistically afford to save, and then shop around for a high-interest savings or money market account in which to save your money.”
Sandy Geffen, Executive Director of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in South Africa, says saving a substantial amount of money may seem like a daunting task, but don’t be discouraged.
“At first glance, the cutbacks you are able to make may seem to be small amounts, but you will be surprised at how quickly they can add up to a sizeable sum, and you could own your first home sooner than you think,” says Geffen.
She offers the following creative tips for saving towards your deposit:
1. Stop smoking. This could add at least R1 000 a month to your deposit fund.
2. Instead of buying takeaways every day, rather spend the extra 10 minutes packing lunch in the morning as it will end up saving you more than pennies at the end of the day, and it’s far healthier.
3. Ask for an insurance re-evaluation because while your insurance premiums probably go up every year, the value of a lot of insured items actually goes down as they age.
4. Cut back on credit and try to pay off and close store cards, especially if you find temptation hard to resist. Remember that when you do eventually apply for a loan, the bank will ask for an income and expenditure statement to prove that you will have sufficient surplus income for the home loan instalment once all household and contractual debt expenses have been met.
5. Before you run out to buy a new seasonal wardrobe, spring clean your closet and unearth the older items of good quality that can be reinvented with accessories or by mixing and matching;
6. If you can’t remember what the inside of your gym looks like and can’t motivate yourself to go, cancel that gym contract and find ways to exercise for free. It might help you to start exercising more regularly, especially now that summer is here.
7. Consider scaling down on your car if a large portion of your monthly income is going towards paying off a car loan;
8. Always go grocery shopping with a list and stick to it - and never go on an empty stomach. Also try and stick to food stores and avoid the hypermarkets where you might be tempted to buy other things you don’t need.
Geldenhuys cautions that this savings mindset should not be abandoned once the goal has been met.
“Many people throw caution to the wind and shop around for a home that costs the maximum amount the bank has approved, however, given current economic conditions, buyers should rather consider buying for a little less,” says Geldenhuys.
“The extra cash can be used to pay off the bond more quickly or saved as a rainy-day fund so that they are prepared for the unforeseen expenses which arise when you own property.”
“It’s true that our parents had it much easier in that most were able to afford their first home long before the current average age of first-time buyers which has risen to 34, but what hasn’t changed is the investment value of owning a home,” says Van der Bergh.
“It is also one of the most exciting and rewarding purchases you will ever make, so even though it may take a little longer, it’s always worth the effort.”
Source: Property 24
https://www.property24.com/…/8-creative-ways-to-save-…/26582
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