Cut to the Chase

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

In a recent survey conducted on behalf of Private Property by Columinate, an online research company, it was found that although 93 percent of those polled would prefer buying to renting, a very large percentage also admitted that they were not savvy in all things property.

At a time where information is literally at our fingertips via the web, the fact that there are still large numbers of people who are ignorant about the buying and selling process is concerning to say the least and this issue needs to be addressed by all of those involved in the property industry.

There is undoubtedly an urgent need to get the facts out there and by the looks of it, it is the basics that need to be covered. Buying property is both a daunting and exciting prospect, but by supplying the buyer with as much accurate information as possible, much of the trepidation can be removed from the process.

Estate agents are far better equipped to answer questions these days, although perhaps buyers are still reluctant to believe everything they hear from this source; after all the agent does have a vested interest in getting a property sold as quickly as possible and at the highest price.

Private Property has taken the initiative by recently launching the Private Property Advice Centre online. This targets all of those who have an interest in buying or selling property. The Centre features a large number of articles that cover a wide range of topics aimed at those who are either experienced property buying and selling experts and those who are just starting out. Forewarned is forearmed and the quicker a buyer is fully informed and understands what is at stake and how the property market works, the better.

The research also revealed that most buyers initiate the process by first searching for property via a dedicated property website when looking to buy or rent a home. This makes perfect sense as the web has literally been transformed into a giant property shop advertising millions of properties. Although it is fairly standard to reflect the price of a property, very little is said about the suburb and surrounds with regard to practical issues. For example, crime is an issue in South Africa and remains a major concern for buyers and although crime statistics may vary year-on-year, it would be ideal if someone could provide unbiased information about the current situation in any given suburb.

There is a great deal of information out there regarding what is happening in the South African property market. The banks, economists and the CEOs of the larger property groups often release reports about the general state of the market – but does this necessarily apply to all suburbs across the country? The short answer is no. Markets change from suburb to suburb and while houses in one particular area may not be selling well, properties in other suburbs may literally be flying off the shelf. Information regarding this important aspect is vital and would help estate agents sell more property as well as help the buyer to make a sensible, informed decision.

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