Property the Gateway to a Better Life

Property has been, and remains the best way for the average South African to accumulate wealth - a fact recently supported by Mmusi Maimane, the DA's candidate for Premier of Gauteng.

Writing for the Daily Maverick Maimane explained that his parents owned the title deed to their home in Dobsonville; enabling them to borrow against it, as well as investing in their home. He wrote that "without it, I would not have been able to take the opportunities that came my way later in life" and goes on to say "...I thank that title deed, because it was the genesis of the success I have been able to achieve..."

"As someone who has been both a buyer and a seller in the property market, as well as having been a real estate agent for years, I can completely support Mr Maimane's claim", says Bruce Swain, MD of Leapfrog Property Group, "I've seen it time and again; entering the property market gives people a valuable asset to work with and is an invaluable means to increasing their wealth".

Making the most of property

Purchasing a property is about a lot more than having a place to live or as a stepping stone to a bigger, more expensive home - those who own property are able to borrow against it, sell it at a profit or to rent it out for extra income. When managed wisely these properties can aid in giving a child an education, as was the case with Mmusi, or serve as a retired person's pension (providing monthly income in the form of rental payments).

It takes a title deed

Whether the home is a grand four-bedroom in Clifton or an RDP house in Soweto - the most important aspect is the ownership of a title deed; without it none of the property's financial benefits can be accessed. According to a report issued by Urban Land Mark (ULM) in 2011, it was estimated that between 1.1. and 1.4 million subsidy beneficiaries did not have title deeds to their properties.  The delay has been blamed on a number of factors ranging from Revisions to the project payment process in the development of subsidy houses to the appropriateness of the deeds registration system - all of which the report discusses in some depth.

"Regardless of the issues being faced in terms of getting title deeds into the hands of property owners the bottom line needs to be that this gets done - as quickly and efficiently as possible," says Swain. "We're living in a country with a severe economic imbalance between rich and poor and providing homeowners with their title deeds can do much to empower them".

Swain goes on to encourage the Department of Human Settlements to do everything in its power to assist the process. "The sooner home owners can legally borrow against, rent out or sell their properties the sooner they can work to uplift themselves. It is imperative that this issue gets the attention it deserves", says Swain   

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