There is an alternative

With distressed properties still very much a reality in the current market, homeowners that are behind on their monthly bond repayments may feel as if there is no alternative but to lose their property, says Willie van den Berg, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Jowic, whose office services the greater Centurion region.

“However,” says van den Berg, “this is not the only option and homeowners that are in this situation do not have to go it alone. They have the option of working with an agent to avoid their property being repossessed by the financial institution that holds the bond. RE/MAX Jowic currently has 41 Certified Distressed Property Experts (CDPE) that can assist homeowners to take action because in our experience, the worst option is to sit back and do nothing.”

Statistically as many as 30% of property owners residing in South Africa could find themselves needing to sell their property to alleviate some financial strain, a sobering thought considering that on average properties spend approximately 42 days on the market.  “This is why it is so important for homeowners that are in a distressed situation to seek help through the correct channels as soon as possible,” says van den Berg, “as soon as a homeowner recognises the need to sell they must act before it is too late. A CDPE can assist them through the process of selling their home in a timely manner for the best possible market value.”

Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that to date more than 500 RE/MAX agents countrywide have completed the CDPE course and are distressed property experts, equipped with the specific knowledge required to effectively handle the intricacies of distressed property sales. Offered exclusively to RE/MAX of Southern Africa agents, this has ideally placed RE/MAX agents to assist homeowners that find themselves in distress.

According to van den Berg, it is vital that homeowners provide the CDPE with accurate information regarding how serious the situation is, in order for the agent to understand the urgency of the matter. This will give the agent an indication of how to proceed and what time frame is given in order to sell the home. A trained CDPE will keep communication channels with the financial institution open and inform them of any offers or signed sale agreements that they receive.

“Perhaps one of the most important elements of selling a distressed property is marketing it at the right price. It is vital to understand the local market and what is perceived to be a fair market value so that buyers will not be scared off by excessive pricing. An overpriced property will sit on the market for longer, which is a luxury that most distressed sellers do not have. RE/MAX agents who have sold distressed properties have managed to achieve, on average, 91% of the asking price,” says van den Berg, “The estate agent will guide the homeowner through effective negotiation of each offer they receive to get the highest price and ensure the best possible solution for the seller as well as the bank.”

Van den Berg says that using a specially trained agent to sell a distressed property is a viable solution for homeowners that want an alternative. “A CDPE can help a distressed homeowner to avoid the financial implications of having a property reposed.  The property might be distressed, but that doesn’t mean that the homeowner have to be,” van den Berg concludes.

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