Timing is everything

Private Property South Africa
Anna-Marie Smith

The time taken by property selling, buying and transferring is a variable commodity and depends on a host of individual influencing factors in specific geographical areas. It’s also dictated by average price and size, stock levels, buyers’ profiles, and more.

Accurate pricing, according to the professionals is a good start that will put a positive spin on all directions of the sale. Optimum buyer attraction, which speeds up the signing and sealing of a deal, also accelerates the process of lodging the application to transfer the property into the buyer’s name at the Deeds Office.

Being prepared for an unexpectedly swift or delayed sale of your house that relates to the number of days the listing stays on the market, is one aspect to consider. The FNB Property Barometer for the second quarter of 2014 shows that the estimated average time a property spent on the market before selling was 11 weeks and six days.

The transfer process

Added uncertainty that usually follows is caused by the number of weeks taken to complete the transfer process, which generally varies between 12 and 16 weeks. For instance, says Christine Pauling at Harcourts, Kempen in Gauteng, that the latest report shows that transfers there between January 2013 and August 2014 took four months on average. She adds: “The selling time of a property is not a cut-and-dried business, but rather one that requires constant communication throughout the sales process to keep all parties in the loop at all times.”

Being flexible helps when the best of actions veer off the calendar, such as when families unexpectedly end up without accommodation for uncertain periods of time. This is when expert negotiations between sellers and buyers become invaluable to circumvent potentially costly and huge inconveniences.

Plan B

One option is for buyers and sellers to negotiate occupational rent, which is most common when sales depend on the re-sale of other properties.

A preference for temporary rental accommodation may prove ideal when a landlord agrees to a short-term renewable lease arrangement. One of the least expensive options, and mostly ideal for short stays, is to move in with family or good friends who live nearby. This will help minimise disruptions for school-going children and working family members.

A last resort that may be necessitated by unexpected sales-related expenses is to apply for a bridging loan. This will facilitate the cost of rental and other costs that become payable once the sale of a property has gone through.

The best preparation overall is to acquire as much information as possible before selling and buying, such as average sales times over the past six months, both in your and neighbouring suburban areas. This includes data that can be provided by local estate agents, whereas information on private sales is available both via agents, through neighbourly word of mouth and via services as Lightstone.

Being armed with knowledge helps prepare sellers and buyers for unexpected events and delays relating to property sales.

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