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PROPTECH I N D U S T RY V I RT U A L LY HERE

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It is important for landlords to attract – and keep – good tenants.

Landlords need to up their game – experts With a poor economic situation and rental supply outstripping demand, property owners should do all they can to attract and keep good tenants BY BONNY FOURIE bronwyn.fourie@inl.co.z

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HE SOUTH African rental market is under pressure as many good tenants step up to property ownership and a large proportion of those left are struggling with their finances. This means landlords are having to up their game when attracting, managing and retaining tenants who are able to honour their leases and look after their properties. Payment performance is improving in the residential tenant population but a full recovery to pre-lockdown levels is yet to be achieved, says Michelle Dickens, the chief executive of TPN Credit Bureau. As at Q4 2020, 77.6% of tenants were up to date with their rents – although some had paid late. This is an improvement from 73.5% in Q2 but below pre-lockdown levels that were above 80%. Landlords with properties in the R7 000 to R12 000 monthly rental category are seeing 83.63% of their tenants paid up, she says. However, tenants at the low end of the market – with rents of R3 000 a month – are in distress. Only 65.61% of them are in good standing with their landlords. “This segment is populated by the most financially fragile part of the tenant population, with very few financial buffers with which to weather storms that may translate into income loss.” The biggest challenge for rental

agents this year will be finding good tenants, says PayProp’s Johette Smuts. “By that we mean those with acceptable credit scores, sufficient funds for a one-off damage deposit and sufficient monthly disposable income to pay the rent.” LURING THEM WITH GOOD PROPERTIES Adrian Goslett, chief executive of Re/Max of Southern Africa, suggests landlords invest money in updating and fixing their properties to make them more appealing. “Right now, supply outweighs demand. We are no longer facing situations where landlords have multiple tenants fighting to have their applications accepted. Instead, landlords will need to make their homes as appealing as possible to ensure that their listing is the one that tenants select over the many other vacant listings.” Landlords should ensure that professional photo are taken of their homes, so the listing stands out online. “The house-hunting process begins online. Landlords who do not take the time to ensure that their property is marketed correctly online are dramatically decreasing the true marketing potential of their homes,” says Goslett. Just Property notes that tenants are attracted to properties that are: • Well-priced. • Recently upgraded. • Move-in ready. • Include appliances. • Are close to workplaces.

• Close to good schools. • Close to amenities. • Have easy access to transport routes. • In good neighbourhoods. MANAGING GOOD TENANTS Once landlords have landed good tenants, they need to know how to manage them and to keep them. Smuts says landlords, or their letting agencies, must make sure their backoffice processes are digital to survive distance and financial difficulty. Bank-integrated automation of rent collection, accounting and outgoing payments is the best way to guarantee accuracy, efficiency and a steady stream of income from debtors when managing a distributed workforce and pressured clientele. She advises giving tenants a range of payment options. “When collecting rents, it’s ideal to offer your tenants as many payment options as possible. These might include paying in-store at many leading retailers, via instant EFT, debit order or EFT payment.” Dickens says the margin of error for complacent tenant administration was under threat even before the hard lockdown. “Low escalations and higher-thaninflation property costs are slowly eroding profit for some landlords who have not been proactively managing their portfolios.” LOOK AFTER YOUR INVESTMENT Landlords also need to take good care

of their rental properties, says Brian van Wijk, Just Property Midrand franchisee, while Cherise Botha, a rental agent intern with Just Property Margate, says rates, taxes, levies and utility bills must be kept up to date. When accounts are behind there is a risk of disconnection and this makes life difficult for tenants who may decide to vacate your property as a result. Echoing this, Grant Smee, property entrepreneur and owner of Only Realty says: “Assess your property as you would your business. Make sure that it is well looked after, profitable and has the right people behind it. “Do maintenance, hold inspections and work closely with the tenants throughout. “Even if your place is empty, make sure that it’s kept neat and tidy and ensure that all your bills are paid up.” HOLDING ON TO GOOD TENANTS Landlords need to look after good tenants, emphasises Graham Ross, manager of Just Property Blouberg. “If you have good, paying tenants, keep them, even if it means taking a knock on the rental amount. With Covid-19 affecting the job market, finding good tenants is becoming more difficult and some tenants are cancelling contracts in pursuit of cheaper accommodation.” Van Wijk adds: “My advice to landlords facing vacancies is to reduce their monthly rent – rather generate a slightly lower, but stable, income than no income.”


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Vivian Warby vivian.warby@inl.co.za

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Hi-tech boost for property industry

Letter from the editor WE LIVE in a wonderful world where so much is possible. Nowhere is the new more evident than in technology. I remember using my first computer in the early 90s thanks to my then IT partner. I also remember being enthralled by his email and how he was able to keep in touch with a Dutch colleague via this new form of communication. Fast forward a decade or so and we are FaceTiming with loved ones in different cities and doing virtual tours of the ancient Greek ruins. The upward trajectory of technology has changed how we as humanity function in our everyday lives. We even have devices that can monitor how many steps we take in a day. In fact, tech knows more about us than we know about ourselves. Nowhere has the new world been more exciting than in Proptech. This has reshaped the property world, a world that has sometimes been slow to change, preferring the safety of the known. And we are only at the beginning. I believe we are still going to see major strides in technology that will completely alter the way we interact in this market. As it stands, digital technologies with the ability to change the lifecycle of real estate assets are already here, including blockchain and AI. Add in tokenization and we are talking a whole new world. Globally we have seen how cryptocurrency can be used to pay both rent and the purchase price of properties. It’s still early days. Tokenization, simply described as the process of creating a virtual token to represent ownership of a real estate interest, is also a new development, allowing people to invest in homes in the US for as little as $5 – $10 (R150). The last year of lockdown has seen change happen faster out of necessity, and technology and communication are delivering solutions. In the next five years, tokenization, according to reports, is expected to yield a whopping $4.2 billion for the global real estate industry. It may feel like we are experiencing a lull right now, but know a new world is coming fast. In this new world the candy store is full with old and new ways of doing things... and it is replenished frequently. Take your pick. It’s all valid. Have a great weekend

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Pandemic hastens uptake of new technologies in the sector BY BONNY FOURIE bronwyn.fourie@inl.co.za

Technological advances will allow buyers viewing properties through a virtual-reality headset to feel as if they are inside the home.

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ROPERTY-RELATED technology, commonly known as Proptech, was the buzz concept just a couple of years ago but now, with the help of lockdown, has become the norm in the real estate industry. And those who are using it well are helping to evolve the property sector. From the way properties are marketed to the processes of viewing, selling and managing properties, new technology is improving traditional industry practices and changing expectations of both property professionals and end-users. In a 2019 report produced by the Urban Real Estate Research Unit (Ureru) at UCT – with support from Nedbank and SA Proptech – Proptech is defined as: “Tech-driven innovation that is related to buildings and the real estate industry at large. This is tech that influences real estate in terms of design, management, transactions, investment or use.” The study said Proptech was redefining how the real estate industry operated and interacted, and evolving traditional practices and services using key technological advancements, many of which had been successfully adopted in other industries. “There are many variations of these advances that tend to change and multiply at a rapid pace. However, we have identified three key areas of tech-driven innovation that are having a significant impact on numerous industries, including real estate. These are the sharing economy, the internet of things (IoT) and cutting out the middle man.” Gil Sperling, co-founder and co-chief executive of digital property marketing platform Flow, says while innovation is not revolution, it can fuel it. He notes that, sometimes, it is “not about reinventing the wheel” but “adding the rubber tyre” to make life more comfortable. “Proptech is evolution, not revolution... It is taking the South African property industry into the 21st century, evolving the process, rather than reinventing it. People still need to find homes, experience them and complete the reams of paperwork required to make their chosen property their own. Proptech hasn’t changed the path but it’s changed the process.” He says performance marketing systems put the

right properties in front of the right people on the social media platforms they interact with regularly, while interactive video tours help people safely visit properties – even on the other side of the world. “One day soon, blockchain technology will exponentially speed up the paper-driven process of buying a home or getting vetted for rental credit.” The adoption of Proptech was inevitable but the coronavirus-related lockdown pushed the industry there sooner. “With safety a priority and restrictions on movement, says Johette Smuts, head of data analytics at PayProp, estate agencies needed to “quickly adapt” to accommodate virtual client-facing processes to ensure sales and leasing continued. “For many rental agencies in South Africa that still relied on outdated processes to manage their portfolio payments, Covid-19 brought on a new urgency to adopt technology.” The “long-awaited digitisation” of many business processes in industries and organisations around the world saw “tremendous spin-off benefit” for efficiencies, scalability (growth) and new products and revenue streams. “There’s a real concern that rental agencies choosing not to adopt Proptech solutions will be left behind and become vulnerable in this new virtual world, while their competitors are re-engineering payments, document signing, property viewings and much more.” In the property sales sector, buyers and sellers are embracing virtual viewings for “far more than just health and safety reasons”, notes Craig Mott, Cape Town regional sales manager for the Rawson Property Group. The biggest advantages to the adoption of this technology include: • A low-risk sales experience as virtual viewing experiences narrow down the pool of potential buyers to only those who are seriously interested in a property and, ideally, qualified to buy it. • Less disruption for sellers as they do not need to spring clean and vacate their homes on multiple show house Sundays. • Time saving for buyers as they can conveniently vet properties effectively before they visit them in person. • Easier long-distance buying for those who are

moving to new towns, provinces or countries and might not have the luxury of viewing a home in person at all. These viewings are “a great way” for sellers to stand out from their competition and tap into a much wider buyer pool than before. “Virtual property services aren’t a flash-inthe-pan fad, and those who have not adapted to embrace the technology are going to find themselves falling further and further behind,” Mott adds. Berry Everitt, chief executive of the Chas Everitt International property group, agrees that the digitisation of home viewing is the way forward for the real estate industry. “While popular before, online house-hunting has been given an extra boost by the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting increase in remote working, with many more people having more time – and more inclination – to scroll through the property portals in search of their dream homes.” And with the ongoing advancement of new technologies, things will not go back to the way they were before, but rather, continue evolving. “In the near future, for example, there is likely to be widespread adoption of immersive virtualreality technology, which will enable prospective home buyers using smart glasses or a virtualreality headset to feel like they are actually inside and walking around the property they are viewing online,” Everitt says. Even virtual staging, which digitally adds furnishings to an empty space, is likely to develop and become more realistic. The Ureru report, written by Sean Godoy and Luke Boyle, states that Proptech has gained significant momentum in other parts of the world and “we expect the potential for meaningful impact to drive the momentum of the Proptech movement in Africa”. “Proptech principles and trends are already having exciting and meaningful impacts in numerous ways, from crowdfunding – which could bring property investment to a much wider audience – to online estate agencies and the rise of blockchain technology with its potential application to deeds registries on the continent.”

DISCLAIMER: The publisher and editor of this magazine give no warranties, guarantees or assurances and make no representations regarding any goods or services advertised within this edition. Copyright ANA Publishing. All rights reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced in any form without prior written consent from ANA Publishing. The publishers are not responsible for any unsolicited material. Publisher Vasantha Angamuthu vasantha@africannewsagency Executive Editor Property Vivian Warby vivian.warby@inl.co.za Features Writer Property Bonny Fourie bronwyn.fourie@inl.co.za Design Kim Stone kim.stone@inl.co.za

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Money matters can easily cause family rifts, so get a legal agreement in place before buying a property together.

What’s the best way to market my home online? Experts answer this and other questions related to investing in property Q: I am selling my property with the help of an agent, but am really busy and travelling a lot for work, so I do not have time to help market it. This means I would like most of the process to be done digitally and have people physically view my home only if they are serious and qualified. How best can I market my home online so that when I do eventually have to show it to interested buyers, they would already have most of the information they need, and be willing to put in an offer? A: Most buyers tend to start their search through property-search portals before they visit brand-specific websites. It is equally important that your chosen agent has their own online presence. Not only will this assure buyers that they are dealing with a legitimate professional but it might also attract additional buyers to your listing – especially if the agent has a solid following on social media. If your listing will appear on multiple online portals, you should fact-check each one. Experienced agents will check this too but it always worth checking that the information supplied is the same across the board. Factors such as price and contact details are particularly important in this respect. Buyers search according to certain filters, so if your listing information is misspelt or has not been included, then your property will not surface in the list of results for certain searches. An experienced agent will know how to write a comprehensive listing description but it is important that you mention to them all the key selling features that are not visible in photographs, such as underfloor heating or heated towel rails, so they can include it in the description. Importantly, note that even the most

sought-after property can be overlooked if the listing images are of poor quality or if they do not provide insight into what the property has to offer. These days, a virtual tour would be preferable, but in lieu of this, the more quality images you provide of the property, the better. – Adrian Goslett, chief executive of Re/Max of Southern Africa Q: We own a luxury property in South Africa that we are considering selling. It is not an urgent sale but, as we are living overseas, it just makes sense. With the market the way it is in the higher brackets, though, is it wise to list it now or should we wait? We do know that we may not get what we would have got for it a few years back but that is fine with us, as long as we get a market-related offer. A: Luxury real estate is back in first place among the most favoured investment options for high net-worth individuals, and the reasons are not hard to find. For a start, stock markets everywhere have been hammered by the pandemic and are likely to remain volatile as its economic, social and political effects continue to play out. This makes it very difficult to keep track of returns on equity investments. And, along with gold, real estate has traditionally been seen by investors as a safer alternative in such circumstances. Second, luxury real estate prices have fallen drastically since 2019, and astute investors are taking the opportunity to upgrade to bigger and better primary residences, or to purchase additional properties in the expectation of excellent future value growth. Indeed, we are also seeing this scenario play out in all the luxury home markets across South Africa, from the southern suburbs of Cape Town

BY BONNY FOURIE bronwyn.fourie@inl.co.za

to the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal, where well-priced properties are definitely selling much more swiftly than they were a year ago. – Rory O’Hagan, head of the Luxury Portfolio division of the Chas Everitt International property group Q: Now that we are back on lockdown level 1, how safe is it to open up our home to potential buyers? Obviously, we know that the virus is still with us, so what protocols are advised for us to follow when showing our home? A: Selling a home during a pandemic is a delicate balancing act. It’s important to avoid unnecessary exposure to strangers, but equally important to allow serious buyers – and professionals like home inspectors – to view a property in person. With infection figures decreasing and vaccines on the way, it may be tempting for estate agents to relax their guard in terms of masks, social distancing and sanitisation in order to sell a property. However, this kind of risk is both irresponsible and unnecessary. It’s a good idea for sellers to ask that buyers get prequalified before viewing a property in person and that visitors are strictly limited to two at a time. Show houses are low risk as long as the proper safety protocols are followed. That means keeping doors and windows open to maximise ventilation during viewings, making sure all parties wear masks and sanitise their hands on entry and exit, and avoiding touching any surfaces, as far as possible. – Tony Clarke, chairman of Rebosa Q: My husband and I are considering buying a property jointly with our daughter to help her get on to the property ladder. We are a close family and trust each other but we keep getting

told to draw up legal agreements. Is this really necessary? What should the agreement contain? A: Money matters can easily cause family rifts, so how ever well you get on, get legal advice on the route you choose towards helping your child become a first-time homeowner. A written agreement should be drawn up outlining the details of the arrangement. All terms must be agreed on in this legally binding contract to avoid any potential issues or confusion down the line. The co-ownership agreement should cover: • Who will live in the property. • Who will pay or contribute towards deposits and initial payments for the property. • How ownership will be shared (it is automatically equal if not stated otherwise). • Who will be allowed to draw funds from the bond. • What will happen in the event of the death or incapacitation of one of the co-owners. • What will happen if one or more parties in the contract wishes to part ways or sell the property. • How profits or losses on the property will be split. • Anything else that might result in potential disputes. The biggest downside of buying a property together is that, if your child defaults on her share of the payments, you’re still liable for the whole bond payment. If you are at all concerned about this, it may be less risky overall to give your daughter a helping hand towards raising her own deposit. – Carl Coetzee, chief executive of BetterBond


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W O R L D ACCEPTANCE OF YOUR OFFER JUST FIRST STEP ON JOURNEY FOR NEW buyers who have had an offer to purchase accepted, there are still a number of steps that need to be taken before they can settle into their new home. Gerhard Kotzé, managing of the RealNet estate agency group, says these include: Getting your finances in order: Your bond may cover the whole purchase price of the property but you are also going to need cash to pay the bond registration fee, legal fees, transfer fees and any transfer duty that may be due. You will also have

to pay half of the expected municipal rates and taxes for the transfer period, which is usually about three months, although you may get some or all of this amount back when the property is transferred. After that, you will need to pay for municipal services, such as water and electricity, to be connected in your name.

wind, flood or other natural disaster. Many banks will also insist that you take out credit life insurance (bond cover) to the value of the outstanding home loan balance.

Responding to requests: You need to respond promptly to requests from your bank’s attorneys or the attorneys attending to the property transfer to sign Obtaining additional all the documents that are insurance: required to register a new Your lender will certainly insist bond and get the property that you obtain homeowners’ registered in your name. Long insurance to cover the delays or failure to respond repair or replacement of the can result in the sale being property in the event that it is cancelled and you having to damaged or destroyed by fire, forfeit any deposit paid.

The property sector injects billions into the country’s economy.

PROPERTY MAKES HUGE CONTRIBUTION TO THE FISCUS THE PROPERTY sector is an often overlooked economic contributor but estimates show it plays a huge role in the economy, even more than those in the know give it credit for, says Tony Clarke, managing director of the Rawson Property Group. “The latest estimates that I’ve seen show the South African property sector contributing as much as R191 billion to our GDP, with a R46bn direct contribution to the fiscus. “That’s a far more significant contribution than the sector typically gets credit for and we

have reason to believe it could be increasing even further in 2021.” The property sales momentum created by last year’s buying conditions shows no sign of slowing down, and should the various economic stimuli announced in the president’s State of the Nation Address be implemented successfully, Clarke believes this activity – and the valuable liquidity it adds to the economy – could continue “well into 2021, at the very least”. “One of the most pivotal factors will be the recovery of business and consumer confidence. This impacts on real estate directly, by increasing people’s willingness to invest in long-term assets like property, and indirectly, by improving job security and income growth and therefore affordability,” he says.

There will be a number of financial outlays before buyers can take ownership of their new home.

Going green does not have to cost the earth

TIPS TO KEEP YOUR EMPTY PROPERTY SECURE MANY residential properties belonging to foreigners as holiday homes are unoccupied and landlords struggle to find tenants. Owners of such homes – even if they are only empty for a short period – need to ensure their properties are secure for both their own sake and insurance purposes, says Charnel Hattingh, head of marketing and communications at Fidelity ADT. A great place to start, she says, is by getting to know the neighbours because they will be the first people to notice if anything is wrong. “Speak to them and make sure that they have your contact details. Also make contact with the body corporate if your property happens to be in a block of flats.” The next step is to check there are no holes in the fence or other easy ways for would-be criminals to gain access. “Lock all outside gates, doors and windows and consider installing an electric fence or a beam alarm that is linked to an armed response company. Draw the curtains, and also consider

Property owners can go green – and save on the cost of their electricity consumption – by starting with small changes.

Uncollected newspapers can be a sign that a property is vacant.

installing a light system that is linked to a timer which can help create the impression that someone is home,” Hattingh says. Step three, she adds, is to cancel deliveries and take care of the garden as it is very easy for a property to look unoccupied if

newspapers and post start piling up outside the front door or if the lawn starts looking neglected. Homeowners should also inform their armed response companies about properties that are going to be empty for extended periods.

WITH ESKOM hiking electricity tariffs by 15.63% next month, commercial property owners will need to make changes to how they use electricity. Rising electricity costs ultimately have an adverse effect on tenant retention, rents and property values in the long run. This is bad news, considering the toll that Covid-19 has already taken on tenants and landlords, says Gregg Huntingford, chief executive of Spire Property Solutions. But with some good proactive measures there is a silver lining. “Building owners and landlords need to embrace the green change sweeping the world, as both a pro-active and defensive strategy, and should implement measures within their properties to reduce their electricity consumption.” Huntingford says going green’does not have to be a scary undertaking. People believe this involves massive changes and commitments with costs outweighing the savings but this is “simply not true”. “Start with small changes, such as switching to energy-saving LED lighting and installing sensors so that lights go off in parts of buildings that are unoccupied. Also, metering everything to understand the power it uses can greatly reduce electricity consumption.” Other changes include installing solar geysers, hot-water heaters and geyser timers so the geyser is not on when tenants are not in the property. Ensuring air conditioning systems have good energy ratings and are serviced and maintained will also help reduce electricity use. “From the tenant’s perspective, a small change that costs nothing, but has significant impact is to change behaviour – so simply switch lights off if they are not in use.”


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What’s new in KwaZulu-Natal

Valley of a Thousand Hills. PICTURE: DAVID EGU

TO ADVERTISE HERE Anne Reddy

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AJ VILLAS

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JOIN ONE OF THE MOST REPUTABLE REAL ESTATE COMPANIES IN DURBAN

A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO EARN COMMISSION! NQF4 QUALIFIED PROPERTY PRACTITIONER REQUIRED TO RENT OUT PROPERTY

This is an exciting opportunity for an enthusiastic and motivated person to join our dynamic team in a supportive workplace. With an excellent database of existing mandated properties, the successful applicant will have the opportunity to rent out, and procure new business, in order to expand the Company’s portfolio. The position requires an energetic motivated team worker, for this commission based position which has unlimited earning potential. Your own reliable transport, together with valid drivers licence, cell phone and laptop is a necessity. Computer literacy required. Position available immediately. Our offices are situated in Glenwood and we serve the greater Durban area, but are not limited to this. Please note: NQF4 QUALIFIED APPLICANTS ONLY, WILL BE CONSIDERED. Don’t delay: send your CV to: carol@spearman.co.za


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49 ha PRIME DEVELOPMENT LAND, BORDERING THE R21MODDERFONTEIN, GAUTENG

Ideal for Industrial & Affordable Housing

ONLINE BIDDING: 12:00 12-13 MAY 2021 BID AND REGISTER: www.vansauctions.co.za AUCTION OF: INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AND POTENTIAL SHOPPING CENTRE/ FILLING STATION DEVELOPMENT, CLAYVILLE EXTENSION 47, NEXT TO THE R21

PTN 125

PTN 124

PTN 126

R21

PROPERTY DESCRIPTION: Erven 124 & 125 & 126 of Farm Olifantsfontein 402, Modderfontein next to R21. PROPERTY 1: (± 1km R21 Frontage) Measuring: 21,3 ha Earmarked rights: Industrial, special storage & distribution, related offices and commercial. PROPERTY 2: Measuring: 19, 89 ha Earmarked rights: Affordable housing, petrol station, shopping centre and Industrial. PROPERTY 3: Measuring: 7,45 ha Earmarked rights: Affordable housing, petrol station, shopping centre and Industrial. Auctioneer’s note: This land is of the very last to be sold next to the R21, don’t miss this opportunity!

WEB21/0041 R500,000 Registration Fee. 10% deposit & commission plus VAT. Bidders to register & supply proof of identity and residence. Regulations to Consumer Protection Act: www.vansauctions.co.za Rules of Auction to be viewed at 36 Gemsbok Street, Koedoespoort Industrial, Pretoria. Tel 086 111 8267 | Auctioneer: Martin Pretorius

BIDDERS TO REGISTER ONLINE, REGISTRATION FEE OF R500,000 PAYABLE VIA EFT ONLY, FICA DOCS REQUIRED TO BE ABLE TO REGISTER.


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What’s new in the

Western Cape

PICTURE: TARYN ELLIOTT

TO ADVERTISE HERE Margi Marsland 084 591 9122

margi.marsland@inl.co.za

Shevon Philander 078 422 4925

shevon.philander@inl.co.za

advertising@property360.co.za

w w w. p ro p e r t y 3 6 0 . c o . z a

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HOME LOANS

Now is the time to find out how much you qualify for as the repo rate is at a record low. Celestine is always available to take your call and guide you through the process from application through to registration. She will pre-qualify you for a home loan before you start house hunting. A pre-approval is very useful when house hunting as it helps the agent narrow down which properties to show you and not waste unnecessary time. Complete one application and she will apply to all 4 major banks and negotiate the best interest rate on your behalf. Call her for quick and efficient service Please feel free to contact Celestine at any time on 084 559 1786 | celestine@property360.co.za

www.property360.co.za

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Profile for ANAPublishing

Property360 - National Digital Magazine - 16 April 2021  

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