If your home has already been listed for sale, now is not the time to take it off the market - and if you are thinking of selling for any reason, now’s the time to get it listed.
That’s the advice of Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group, who says that while show-days and private home viewings are not possible while SA is on lockdown, home buying has not stopped and in fact is likely to pick up in the wake of the latest interest rate cuts.
“In fact, our agents have already been able to facilitate scores of ‘lockdown deals’ using our top technologies and international best practices. These include sales at prices from R600 000 all the way up to R35m, and in places as diverse as Still Bay and Benoni, Hermanus and Hyde Park, Plumstead and Pretoria.
One reason for the continued activity, he says, is the fact that prospective buyers who have to stay at home are spending more time browsing property portals and websites for somewhere new to live. “According to international property analyst Mike DelPrete, this is evident from the fact that the local property portals, along with others around the world, have seen a recovery in the amount of traffic they receive since an initial drop of up to 40% in mid-March.
“Some people are realizing that their current homes are actually too small for their families, others are seeking to downsize to cut maintenance and municipal charges, and some have decided they really no longer wish to rent. In addition, the most astute real estate investors are already moving to maximise the opportunities that the current market presents.”
Secondly, says Everitt, most agents in the group were well-prepared overall to immediately switch to working from home full-time. “Through our Notebook© and Nomad© concepts we have been empowering our agents to work remotely for several years by moving all our business, marketing, listing admin, and rental management systems online.
“They have as a result been able to adapt very easily to ‘going virtual’ and using only technology to stay in touch with their clients, connect buyers and sellers, handle nationwide referrals, and continue their training through our fully-fledged online academy.
“This is what is enabling them to conclude sales even though viewings and show-days are currently off the table, and the Deeds Office is not currently open to register the transfers. Our good relationships with the financial institutions and top legal firms mean that our agents are also able to assist with bond applications and rental queries – and to get all the sales documentation finalised and ready for transfer as soon as that service is available.”
And, he says, there are definite advantages to working with a technologically empowered agent to sell now or as soon as possible, even if they have to lower their asking price somewhat. “For those planning to upgrade, the advantage is that the price of their new home should also be reduced and that the amount they gain by this reduction is likely to be greater than the amount they “lose” on the sale of their existing home.
“If the market value of your current home is R1m, for example, and you have to offer a 10% discount in the current market to get it sold, you will “lose” R100 000. But if the value of the home you want to buy is R1,5m and you can negotiate a similar discount, you will “save” R150 000 - and reduce the transfer duty payable.”
Everitt says that for those planning to downgrade, the advantage of selling now is to free up cash which can perhaps be used to settle debts or to put down a bigger deposit on the new home and thus keep their bond repayments down in the future or get their home paid off sooner.
“Meanwhile for those who are in financial distress and worried about keeping up with their bond repayments in the coming months, the sooner they can sell and relieve the pressure, the better. Frankly, the sooner they sell, the better price they are likely to achieve, too. Our agents will gladly help, and if necessary, also help them to gain access to a bank-assisted selling programme so they can protect their credit record.”