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21 hours ago

Picture: SAIBPP’s Young Professionals Forum committee members are top (left to right): Hector Maepa, Stando Langa, Michael Kodinye; front: Thokozani Msimanga, Nthabiseng Makgabo (chairperson) and Matlali Queen Matsoso (treasurer)

The South African Institute of Black Property Practitioners (SAIBPP) is nurturing the next generation of black property leaders and professionals through various initiatives such as its Bursary Fund and Young Professionals Forum, property education and coaching as well as matching talented students to internship opportunities with corporates. These initiatives give them the chance to pursue various careers within the property sector and live bright futures.

Nthabiseng Makgabo (26), an Asset Manager at Respublica, the second largest student accommodation company in South Africa, was part of the first cohort to benefit from the SAIBPP Bursary Fund in 2013.

The SAIBPP Bursary Fund gave Nthabiseng the opportunity to study towards a BSc Property Studies Degree at the University of the Witwatersrand. Having graduated in 2016, she took on a number of roles in the property sector before securing her current position as an Asset Manager. Her role includes doing market research, compliance administration, debt raising and carrying out reporting on student residences among numerous other duties.

Nthabiseng chose to pursue a career in the property sector because it mixes her two passions for construction and accounting. “There’s a lot to learn and it’s a rewarding profession with so many different career options,” she says. “One can become a Developer, who is responsible for managing a project from start to end, from financing right through to administration. Being a Facilities Manager is another option where one manages the day-to-day running of the property such as ensuring that the cleaners and security guards are effectively carrying out their roles, making sure electricity and water are paid and finding out the reasons for any skyrocketing bills among numerous other tasks. Among the range of career opportunities is also going into valuations to determine the value of a property, the rental amount, etc. or being a lending analyst where one’s responsibilities revolve around managing the bank’s relationships with clients.

“I’m passionate about my job because the kind of accommodation a student lives in can really impact their studies,” she says. “Property affects our lives every day, impacting on how we live and work and interact with each other, so it’s an interesting field to work in. Property is also a great investment vehicle because it appreciates in value, one can get a second bond on it and it promotes generational wealth.”

In addition to being an Asset Manager, Nthabiseng is also Head of SAIBPP’s Young Professionals Forum. Launched in February 2020, the Young Professionals Forum consists of around 1000 black students studying property-related courses as well as property entrepreneurs and professionals. The forum’s student members are from several student chapters, including the University of Johannesburg, the University of the Witwatersrand, the University of Pretoria and the University of Limpopo.

“The forum’s aim is to drive transformation within the property industry by giving its members valuable skills, knowledge and guidance about the property industry,” explains Nthabiseng. “It aims to drive the careers of its members in various ways such as running diverse conversations on the property industry. As part of these engagements are weekly webinars by industry experts to promote career growth and management, while providing them with the relevant skills to navigate the sector.”

Topics of webinars have included entrepreneurship, employment and career growth, how to participate in the property industry and how to go about buying property among numerous other themes. The forum also links students to property professionals who become their mentors, clarifying any coursework they don’t understand, informing them on how various systems work and guiding them on how to handle themselves in meetings among numerous other guidance.

Support is also provided through property industry players giving presentations to students pursuing property-related degrees. Going forward, Nthabiseng plans to run Young Professionals Forums in student chapters across the country.

Slindele Msibi (24), who is from Piet Retief in Mpumalanga, is also a SAIBPP Bursary Fund beneficiary. Currently in her Honours year of her BSc in Property Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, she enjoys how the course is all inclusive providing knowledge on real estate development, valuation, entrepreneurship, law and market analysis among numerous other topics.

“I was actually studying towards a BSc in Biological Studies and then dropped out when I found out about the BSc in Property Studies,” she says. “I’ve always loved property and the built environment, but only became aware that there was a property degree after I got to Wits.”

Once she graduates, her first choice is to get into property development and investment and her second choice is valuations. “Property development involves getting potential investors to provide the funding needed to construct a building,” she explains. “I’m also interested in development sustainability where resources such as solar electricity and roof gardening are used on buildings.”

Passionate about property, she would also love to go into valuations, especially for office blocks, which involves finding the value of a property through evaluating the environment it’s in, how far it is from schools and shopping amenities, the building material used to construct it among numerous other factors.

Last year, Slindele was Chairperson of the SAIBPP Wits Students Chapter. In this role, she organised events where industry role players, such as real estate developers, architects and valuers, spoke to students about various property-related issues to help them on their journey in the sector. Her work also involved organising a mini-mentorship programme so students can better understand the industry before venturing into it.

“I really enjoyed these events because I got to meet professionals who’ve been in the industry for years,” she says. “They motivated me and showed me my future possibilities. In my course and in my vac work, I’m one of few black people there, so it’s great that SAIBPP is working so hard to bring about transformation.”

Like Slindele, Sinenhlanhla Langa (24), who is from Newlands West in Durban, is a beneficiary of the SAIBPP Bursary Fund. Also in her Honours year of her BSc in Property Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, she was attracted to the course because it’s economics and finance-related and provides numerous career options which pay really well.

“I’ve learnt so much through the course such as about corporate finance, real estate investments, building technology, valuation of property, property laws and so much more,” she says. “It’s an interesting, practical, challenging course.”

In addition to the course, Sinenhlanhla also does a weekly internship at Fortress REIT Limited, a property development investment company. SAIBPP put her in touch with the company and she’s really enjoying the practical experience she gets by working with the Finance Department, Retail Management Department and the Centre Managers.

Her goal is to get into asset management of shopping centres and office parks. “I would really like to be part of the management and maintenance of these buildings,” she says. “There is so much that goes into being an Asset Manager at a mall, like managing the Portfolio Manager, whose job includes ensuring that rentals and electricity have been paid and managing the facilities manager, whose role involves ensuring that the cleaning and security services are being properly carried out.

Sinenhlanhla loves that there are so many avenues in property like being an estate agent, working in property finance, doing valuations on municipal properties and estimating municipal rates in an area among so much more.

Her dream is to launch a property NGO where she educates young, black women about the different fields within the property sector. “I want us to know about the opportunities out there and to realise our power and full potential.”

The post Growing the next generation of property leaders appeared first on Everything Property.

22 hours ago

Picture: Denese Zaslansky, CEO Firzt Realty Company; Tony Clarke, managing director Rawson Property Group; Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive Pam Golding Property group; Bruce Swain, CEO Leapfrog Property Group

Has our Covid-changed world rang the final bell for the traditional show house?

For decades the traditional show house has been part and parcel of traditional real estate practice. Mostly held on Sundays, but also on other days, an open viewing gave buyers the chance to view a home at their leisure with the estate agent at hand to answer any questions they may have. There was a buzz and an excitement that a virtual tour can’t replicate. Thousands of homes were sold as a direct result of show days and last year many of the major traditional estate agencies were still firmly of the belief that the show house will never go out of fashion.

However even before the pandemic, there were concerns raised about the safety and security risks of opening a home for public entry. Now there is also the added health risk of exposure to the coronavirus to consider.

These days estate agents have the following to consider about hosting a show house:

Safety and security

The past few years have seen an increase in reported incidences where opportunistic criminals posed as buyers to gain entry into homes to steal and/or rob once inside. Cilna Steyn, director SSLR, says robberies, harassment and so on is a very real risk. Consequently, the risk for an estate agent that they are exposing themselves too, their clients and the occupants of the home, has been talked about in the industry for a while now.

“The agent hosting the show house takes responsibility for the belongings of the occupant at that time, which could lead to major legal battles in cases where items go missing or damaged,” warns Steyn.

Read more: Has SA become too unsafe for show houses?

Cost

Cost is another factor. In Cape Town estate agents have to register and pay (R2100 new registrations or R1 321 renewals) for permits to display show house notice boards. This is an expense that many small agencies can hardly afford after months of no or little income due to the lockdown.

Exposure to Covid-19

During to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic estate agents are obliged to ensure all physical viewings comply with the COVID-19 health and safety regulations of the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB). In terms of the regulations, estate agents must meet a host of safety requirements among them completing a questionnaire with each prospective buyer about their possible exposure to the coronavirus and their health, taking their temperature and recording it before allowing them to enter the home.

In fact, the EAAB guidelines advise that all property viewings should be virtual and physical viewings should only take place once the agent made sure the person(s) is “definitely interested” in buying the property.

Tony Clarke, managing director Rawson Property Group, says it is impossible to comply with this guideline and host a ‘normal’ show house as people will be appearing out of the blue. “An agent has no way to determine a buyers “definite interest” before exposing the seller’s property to such undue risk,” he says.

Liability

As mentioned, estate agents are legally responsible to ensure reasonable steps have been taken to ensure the safety and security of the home and all inside. The coronavirus pandemic has added exposure to the virus as another possible liability. According to Marlon Shevelew, director Marlon Shevelew & Associates, if an estate agent fails to take the steps a reasonable estate agent would have taken then the agent may be liable if someone viewing the house contracted COVID-19. “But if the agent took all the steps a reasonable agent would have, and complied with all the requisite regulations, then it is hard to contemplate a situation where an agent would be liable for any damages suffered by someone who had attended the open house.”

Steyn warns it is very important to remember that you may be prosecuted for attempted murder if you are aware of the fact that you are or could potentially be infected with the SARS-CO-V2 virus and you knowingly expose other people too it. Or worse, if you knowingly expose another person to the virus and they get sick and die, you may be prosecuted for attempted manslaughter.

Her advice is that, especially now, estate agents have an indemnity agreement signed by the occupant. “Should there then be any damages or exposure to SARS CO-V2, the agent can rest assured that she will not incur any legal liability, except in the case of gross negligence,” ends Steyn.

There are safer ways to view a property

Virtual and video home tours offer a safe and convenient way for all parties to view properties. The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent recent lockdown escalated the use of these visual aids by estate agents to showcase listed properties as physical viewings were not allowed. Most estate agencies reported that buyers and tenants welcomed these online visual aids but added that for most a physical inspection was still critical before concluding a deal to rent or buy.

For this reason, some estate agencies chose the option of ‘show by appointment’. Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive Pam Golding Property group, says for health and safety reasons they have elected to conduct viewings only by appointment, with one viewing at a time, and in line with the lockdown protocols. “So, while show houses are now permitted, the new show house is essentially a house on show by appointment.” According to Craig Hutchison, CEO Engel&Völkers Southern Africa, for their agency view by appointment has always been the preferred route of showing homes rather than the traditional Sunday showhouses where sellers are inconvenienced. Before a client may view a property, they are pre-qualified and their identity documents are checked.

Denese Zaslansky, CEO Firzt Realty Company agrees that it is time to let the show house go. “I do not propose we go back to ‘show houses’ as we did in the past. Crime is a major issue and apart from putting our agents at risk by having an open invitation, occasionally even an open door/gate is inviting problems,” she explains. Her proposal is also show houses by invitation only for a few select buyers.

Show house: yes and no

Despite the risks involved, there are agencies that decided to continue with show houses. Pierre Rousseau, general manager PropertyTime, says their agents have the choice whether they want to do show houses or not – “they are not forced to do any houses at all”. But he is in favour of the show house. “Why do we do show houses? Because we want exposure (for our sellers) to help sell their home and for us, the agent, to meet new potential buyers.”

He adds that agents never host a show house alone and in the Johannesburg area they have a security guard present. Home viewers also have to complete the visitor’s book and present their IDs.

Shevelew also believes that there is still a place for the show house. He says people are all aware of the pandemic and take a risk whenever they leave their homes. “Therefore, as long as the agent complies with the regulations in place and take the steps reasonably required of him/her then a show house is still an excellent way to market a property. The ways of the world are changing but the old ways may be with us for a while yet,” he ends.

However, for some the days of the traditional show house is over. Bruce Swain, CEO Leapfrog Property Group says the concept of the show house has certainly reached its sell by date. “As online marketing tools become more sophisticated and buyers’ preferred means of searching for properties, show houses don’t hold the appeal they once did. Add to that the need to adhere to social distancing best practices to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and the security risk posed by opening private properties to the public and it’s clear that the time has come to move on from the era of the show house,” he says.

Clarke says he believes going forward it will be the property owners and landlords that will insist on a move away from the show house. “We have to accept that the world has changed and will never be the same again, thanks to Covid, this also applies to our industry and the way we market property. We believe that it will be sellers themselves who end up galvanising change in the property industry. Given these precarious times, we believe it is the sellers who will start insisting that agents use virtual tools to market their homes, rather than open their homes to large volumes of people who might contaminate their space,” he explains.

Clarke says despite how powerful technology may become, property transactions will always require some level of face-to-face interaction, “and we need to facilitate this as safely and effectively as possible”.

The post Time to let the show house go? appeared first on Everything Property.

22 hours ago

Picture: Jacqui Savage, national rentals manager Rawson Property Group; Adrian Goslett, regional director and CEO RE/MAX Southern Africa; Chelsea Viljoen, Just Property.

The future for tourism and the need for Airbnb remains uncertain as South Africa and many other countries continue to battle the coronavirus pandemic. Consequently, Airbnb owners had to adapt to survive.

The rental industry has been one of the hardest hit by the devastating economic impact from the pandemic and the lockdown. The PayProp Rental Index revealed disturbing figures in June – in March 2020 just over 20% of tenants were in arrears, this percentage increased to 24% in April. Of even greater concern were the jump in the average size of arrears – from 78% of monthly rent in March to 84% in April. Johette Smuts, head of data and analytics PayProp SA, says they expect May and June to be even worse.

Read more: PayProp notes massive jump in average rental arrears from March to April

Consequently, the forecast for rental growth for the rest of 2020 is dim as millions of South African are expected to lose their jobs and/or earn a lower income. Jacqui Savage, national rentals manager for the Rawson Property Group, says the lockdown of the tourism industry (and it looking unlikely to resume anytime soon) has contributed to making Airbnbs something of a white elephant for now. “As a result, many Airbnb owners are converting their properties to long-term rentals, competing with those already on the market. We started seeing Airbnbs converting to long-term rentals back in February this year and a lot more joined the trend when lockdown began, for obvious reasons,” she says.

The travel ban has also placed many travellers in precarious living situations, especially those who had plans to emigrate just before the lockdown started. This has led to new trends in the rental market, with fully-furnished, medium-term rentals becoming increasingly popular and Airbnb homes moving to the long-term rental market to avoid vacancies.

Regional director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett, attributes the cause for these changes to a new type of temporary tenant that has emerged as a result of the travel ban; namely, the interrupted emigrant who needs a place to stay until he/she can begin their new life abroad. “This has increased the demand for fully-furnished, medium- to long-term rentals for the time being or until such a time when emigration plans can be realised,” Goslett notes.

Jenny de Necker, broker/owner of RE/MAX All Stars operating in Alberton and Germiston in Gauteng, says that there has been an increase in the fully furnished market in their areas. “Many of our clients who sold their properties to emigrate and had the sale registered just before or during the lockdown were left stranded. They had all the plans to travel abroad and these where placed on hold when flights were cancelled or postponed. Many who were renting their homes on Airbnb have switched over to long-term rentals to accommodate those that are stranded here, with all their belongings already shipped to their new homes. In fact, many bed and breakfast guesthouses are also giving their clients a cheaper rate if they sign for a longer period. Clients may get lucky with a breakfast included as well,” de Necker explains.

Even more popular than furnished rentals are unfurnished properties. Despite the flood of Airbnbs hitting the long-term rental market, Savage says unfurnished properties remain the most popular choice for tenants – so much so that many Airbnb owners are removing the furniture from their properties.

“Furnished apartments tend to attract much higher rentals than unfurnished, which is an issue when affordability is a concern, as it is at present. In unsettled times, tenants also like the comfort of having their own belongings with them in their homes, so I don’t foresee furnished rentals becoming more competitive or attractive to tenants in the short term.”

In the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town, Caron Leslie, broker/owner of RE/MAX Property Associates, explains that those who were renting their homes on Airbnb are now looking to get long-term tenants to occupy their properties rather than having the home stand vacant. “Landlords are also having to reduce monthly rental amounts considerably to attract and hold onto tenants. Things are quite erratic in the rental market at present and it’s far too early to predict what further impact COVID-19 will have on the rental market in our areas, so it remains to be seen what trends will emerge post-lockdown,” she explains.

Chelsea Viljoen of Just Property says they have seen that due to the oversupply on the rental market many landlords have had to reduce their rental asking price. They also see that landlords are hesitant to sign for longer than six months in hopes that the short-term rental market will improve.

“But there is an opportunity cost to offering 6-month leases. Moving is often expensive and always disruptive, so tenants may be disinterested in these shorter rental periods, leading to extended vacancies. There are other considerations too, making the shift from homestay to long-term rentals something to think long and hard about,” she adds.

Conversion considerations include the following:

  • Storing or selling the furniture if the tenants want the premises unfurnished.
  • TV channel subscriptions may attract tenants but should be cancelled if they don’t want them
  • Keep rent reasonable – tenants do not search for properties above their budget
  • Tailor the rental agreement to the needs of the property and the owner
  • Use high-resolution pictures to market the property online
  • Ensure the beds are made, cupboard doors closed, lights on and toilet seats down
  • Include as much information as possible in the advert, including access to WiFi
  • Follow an extensive vetting procedure before signing a new tenant – do a credit check, verify income, follow-up references and obtain copies of ID or passports

“Another good idea is to check out their profiles on social media,” says De Villiers. “You can tell a lot about a person by their online presence.”

Global surveys provide a glimmer of hope as some countries in the Northern hemisphere are slowly reopening their borders for travel. However, we are still far from seeing international tourism return. Infection rates are still alarmingly high in certain US states as well as the UK and Russia. Australia is also seeing second wave of infections in Melbourne.

Interprovincial travel in South Africa are also still very risky – Gauteng has just surpassed the Western Cape as the country’s new epicentre and there is rising concern about the increase in infections in the Eastern Cape.

The post Airbnb’s flood rental market appeared first on Everything Property.

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