Stellenbosch property market shines

An increasing number of buyers have actively begun enquiring about vacant land in the Stellenbosch area, says Dorothy Foster, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Oaktree, who has serviced the region for over 12 years.

She notes that this recent interest is largely due to the fact that demand for property in Stellenbosch has seen a remarkable increase from the year-on year figures seen during 2012. However, despite the positive interest in the Stellenbosch area, current market stock has been unable to meet the growing demand.

Foster says that as a result of the property stock shortage in the area, along with favourable market conditions for buyers, some interesting transactions have occurred. For example, she notes that RE/MAX Oaktree recently sold a property in just three hours from the time the estate agent’s board was placed outside the home. A rare feat considering the harsh economic environment most in the real estate sector have experienced over the past few years. “It also proves that ‘For Sale’ boards really do still work,” says Foster, “It’s the quickest, most effective way of letting the market know your property is for sale.”

Foster points out that buyers in Stellenbosch are looking for affordable homes and most transactions concluded in the region fall under the R2 million mark.  She says, “A few high-end properties have been sold, but the majority of transactions continue to be within the entry-level and mid-range price brackets.” Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, explains that across the country good value for money homes have performed vastly better than those perceived to be overpriced.

Foster says that it is for this reason that working with a reputable agent with knowledge of the area is so important; the agent can assist with pricing the property correctly and in negotiating with the buyer.  Sellers as well as buyers, need to check who they employ to sell or find them a house. “It may look like it is easy to sell a property, but there is a lot of work that the agent has to do behind the scenes,” says Foster, “There have been a lot of changes within the real estate profession in terms of the market conditions and legislation, that affect that way real estate professionals conclude their business. Agents must now be qualified, knowledgeable and registered.”

She notes that while conditions have recently been tough to negotiate, one agent at the RE/MAX Oaktree office, Liebe Smit, has had a particular successful year so far, having sold five properties in the Stellenbosch area in under a ten week period. “Liebe has been with RE/MAX Oaktree for approximately seven years and has managed to show incredible sales results despite the market conditions. This is due to her dogged determination to serve her clients well, together with her many years experience within the real estate industry,” says Foster.

When asked the secret to her success and how she has managed to sell so many properties in such a short space of time, Smit attributes her philosophy of getting back to the basics. “It is important to know your market, know your stock and most of all, know your client’s needs,” says Smit. “Never turn away a client or a property listing, because if someone has made contact with you and you give them good service, they are going to stay with you. It is clear that even though the basic real estate skills work, methods of keeping in contact with clients and providing a faster, more effective service have changed.  More often than not, 80% of clients make contact with real estate agents via websites, however just ten years ago, having a website was not the norm. In today’s market, if you don’t get back to a client within a few hours, you’re going to lose them. The principles are generally the same, although the tools of the trade have changed,” she concludes.

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