Buying or selling a property is probably the biggest financial commitment you will ever make in your lifetime. But naturally we can get so wrapped up in emotion when it comes to buying/selling a property that we rarely take the time to research other costs involved. This is why we strongly believe that it’s crucial to fully understand all the factors that go into influencing the purchase, no matter how overwhelming they might seem at the time.

When you decide to buy a property, the conveyancer or transfer attorney will start to prepare the transfer documents on receipt of the title deed, personal details and confirmation that all conditions have been met by both parties. The attorney will then start the process to register the transfer of the property in the Deeds Office. The transfer costs that you will have to pay are made up of four main fees that you will need to pay to the transferring attorney who in turn will pay the respective parties, including themselves.

The transfer costs are as follows:

1. Conveyancing fees

These fees are payable to the transferring attorney for carrying out the legal procedures required to change the ownership of the property into your name and for generating all the necessary documentation. The amount is calculated on a sliding scale based on the purchase price of the property and is the only one of the transfer costs which is negotiable. In the event of the transaction being repeat business, then attorneys may consider a reduced charge. It is worth bearing in mind that conveyancing fees are subject to VAT.

2. Administration fees

This is a set, non-negotiable minimum fee paid to the transferring authority for costs relating to the Deeds Office search, to verify the respective parties for FICA and for petty cash expenditure such as postage. The FICA verification has to do with compliance with the Financial Intelligence Centre Act which requires the attorney to verify the identity and address of the parties and in the case of you, the buyer, the source of funds for the transaction. VAT is also applicable in this case.

3. Deeds Office fee

This transfer cost is paid to the transferring authority which will then pay this over to the Deeds Office. The Deeds Office requires this fee as a result of their having to update their records. The way it is calculated is according to the purchase price and is neither negotiable nor subject to VAT.

4. Transfer duty

This tax is payable on transfer of the property and is paid to SARS by the transferring authority. It is calculated depending on whether the property is registered for VAT or not. No transfer fee is required if the purchase price is below R750 000. A property exceeding this amount will require a transfer fee calculated according to a sliding scale. If the property is VAT registered, instead of the transfer fee, VAT becomes payable on every rand of the purchase price calculated at 14% of the purchase price.

5. Clearance certificates

There are also costs that you, as the buyer of a property, will have to pay related to clearance certificates which are arranged and collected by the transferring authority. They will then pay SARS for the tax clearance certificate and the local authority to verify that there are no outstanding rates and taxes payable by the Seller. Without these clearance certificates as proof of payment, the transfer cannot go through.

So if you are in the process of buying that special home, take heed of what transfer costs are applicable to your case.  We believe that what is crucial at this junction is to choose your estate agents with care and make sure your homeloan consultants have expert knowledge of local conditions, trends in property prices and the resources to provide you with all the facts you need to make important decisions. You need to partner with a company that will put your needs first, honour the relationships you have set up with an estate agent and provide you with a sense of belonging to a dynamic team. Then you too could be well on your way to purchasing that special property for you and your loved ones.



So much to say really.

Many years ago I was on a train in Singapore speaking to a well-known local. Discussing the phenomenal success of that tiny island, I asked him what caused it. His answer: Political Leadership. For all my studies in economics, I nearly laughed at the idea. But he was right – in fact, spot on. The famous Lee Kuan Yew, the first Prime Minister from after independence in 1959 up to 1990 created the vision into which Singapore grew. The motto of Singapore is: Onward, Singapore, and anyone who has been there will know it has been “onward” for decades now. In Singapore, the best high school students are chosen in their final year for studies abroad. Sent to Yale, Oxford and the like, they are funded by government and then return to be employed in government, for the sake of the nation. Probably best known for its Changi Airport which wins “Best Airport” year after year, on any day you can see 800 ships in the Singapore harbour [not a typing error – 800!]. Measuring 50 by 27kms [I guess, from Joburg to Benoni and as wide], it boasts the 3rd richest GDP per capita in the world – >US$87762 [R1235400 per annum – also not a typing error at R14.20 to the $ today – and nearly the most productive Peoples on the earth!]. Clem Suntner pointed out in his High Road Low Road scenarios years ago that Singapore has no natural resources. In fact, they don’t even have fresh water on the island and import water from Malaysia and then export purified water back to them. So, to end this little section, Politicians drive economies WITH all the other players. Government’s role is to set the scene for successful, equitous business.

Enter Hilary and Donald. It amazes me that the great continent of North America could not deliver better opponents than these two. I will make no judgement other than that, in case I offend a strong proponent of either, but statistically I am accurate in what I say as all the polls indicate clearly that they are not liked and choosing between them at the polls is going to be solely “an act of duty to vote” for about half of everyone that votes. How scary is that? Never in history, two such un-liked candidates! But, they have a massive influence on what happens in our economy. What the winner does to our Rand is speculative at this stage. Some commentators indicate that Donald will collapse the US$ at least until America becomes “great” again. Hilary represents the status quo so probably little will change. So, I guess, if she wins we will be more “business as usual” and I sense she will be less likely to press The Big Red Button so that is comforting. However, I do sense that Donald would do some deals that put America in control of certain things again. Politicians do certainly drive the economy.

So how do politicians influence the economy? They drive the economic imperatives of a country. Heard of the National Development Plan [NDP]? For better or worse, it was the gift of Trevor Manual to SA Inc when he decided to spectate, I think, for a while. The NDP is a serious plan agreed to by all parties on- and off-shore for the manner in which we rally business, government, labour and even, societies in order to bring about Growth and alleviate Inequity in our country. Unfortunately, it is only referred to at the odd time when the international Press and role-players may be listening as the ANC is fighting battles completely introspectively. In all the “shenanigans”, [not my word], unfortunately, the Poor come off second-best and the rich go to Court. The tragedy in SA Inc is that we have a backlog of Inequity and every quarter we fail to make an economic difference, we pile the troubles on the heap. So now we have overtaken the Lost Generation of the 80/90’s with the Missing Middle of the 2000’s. Many willing people, side-lined by economic history, by the politicians, to the heaps of financial despair. Not your problem, you may say, but you are wrong. Your taxes are supposed to be raising the per-capita GDP [read Singapore above] by educating, keeping healthy and employing the peoples of this fair Land. When politicians are corrupted, populous and immoral, the Poor become poorer and the Rich, well, they just try to keep up with the declining Rand by investing offshore or not at all. I am a blue-dyed capitalist in case you wondered but in a fairy tale world, benevolent politicians and businessmen could make a huge difference. Singapore was a fishing village with a Centre of Trade mentality in the minds of its leaders – as a result, everybody won and many leaders became revered in their lifetimes.

For those of us confused by Economics, I often refer to it as E-comics or the Study of Graphs. Then, all you have to do is decide if the direction of the line on the graph is good or bad. Cost line rising = Bad; Profit line rising = Good, and so on. As I have said in a previous blog, I am not fazed by the current Real decline in housing prices. Affordability improvement will result if the Banks agree to keep lending on their current criteria. Some of the messaging coming from leading economists about the Rand after Pravin was charged by the NPA, I found very encouraging. It would seem that even a downgrade, would not radically affect the Rand. As much as S&P has warned that the “noise” of South African politics is very concerning, it would seem that if we can retain Treasury and the SARB as definitely independent, we could even ride that storm for the Rand. Heaven knows, that set of decisions rests squarely in the hands of Jacob Zuma. A reshuffle that affects those two men will be shocking; but, on the other hand, if he keeps things the way they are, we may be spared a downgrade [from 25 November 2016 onwards], just because we are seen to be a stable democracy. Knife edge stuff so just keep watching the graphs.

You may think I’m rambling, but I’m not. Facts are what they are but what you do with them is your world. There is a simple assertion called Locus of Control [LOC, for short]. An External LOC simply means that you see the world from outside in. An Internal LOC means that you see the world from inside out. Neither is right in the sense of personal morals or strengths but they have a fundamental effect on how you see and create your world. An external LOC deems that your circumstances influence your success. Bad circumstances – the economy, politicians, graphs going in the wrong directions, interest rates, relationships – influence you negatively. You are a product of your circumstances and you can do little about it. “Hou Moed” [Stay Strong”] is your mantra until things blow over and you are free to be successful again. And internal LOC takes the view that your circumstances need to be challenged. “I Can and Do” is your mantra as you keep your feet on the ground and reach for the stars. I mean, let’s face it in any given economic or political environment, there are those who prosper and those who fall. When the property market rises, estate agent numbers swell in pursuit of the “easy buck” and then, when things quieten, the numbers decline and the stalwarts remain. Not as strong financially as before but strong nonetheless. Hard work, positive self-expectancy and enthusiasm are energies. They define who we are in every circumstance and give meaning to:

  •          The fact that my hard work is habitual and necessary for success in anything, at any time.
  •           I expect that from what I sow, I will reap and that any Cause I pursue will have an Effect; the law is universal.
  •          The saying, “If you’re happy tell your face” drives enthusiasm.

To the last point, the Nobel Peace Laureates, Desmond Tutu and Dalai Lama, per Carte Blanche last night, have written a book called Joy. It simply speaks to how, despite the circumstances, you can remain Joyful. I can’t wait to read it as a supplement to the other Great Book from which I draw inspiration daily.

HLJ stands by to work with you, encourage you, assist you and build your business. It is not easy but for more than 13 years we have been doing it in every possible economy and under every kind of political leadership you can think of. We have survived and prospered in many circumstances and stand by to share our experiences with you.

Yours in Property.


I have a daughter who is retarded. A combination of Downes Syndrome and Autism has made her different. She is beautiful, but can be unpredictable and hardly ever talks. We love her, plain and simple.

She lives for three weeks a month, in a private home in Vredenburg that cares for 52 other children [read: fully grown but retarded adults].

[Just a complete aside, it always interests me that we now have our daughter in a private facility. Many of us have private health care/security/creches/schools/hospitals/road accident insurance etc but to have a non-government subsidized, private home for the mentally challenged is quite new to me. This train of thought makes me wonder when Curro will launch its first private university. It currently has pre-primary, primary, secondary and A-levels so why wouldn’t it build a university? Monash from Melbourne, situated in Roodepoort, is fully private already so the idea is not new. And with some donor funds, Curro could do the unthinkable and house want-to-go-offshore university staff in a practically non-profit organisation. Very interesting thought even if I say so myself J]

Back to the train of thought…..

In her village is a man called Martin. He and I have got to talk and I must say, after leaving there, you realise Martin could be doing work anywhere and qualifying as “disadvantaged” from a BBBEE point of view. He is handsome, mature and smart but probably has a less obvious mental challenge somewhere. His Mom made an arrangement with the owner that she would build on a wing that she and her family would bequeath to the owner of the property upon their deaths. She has passed away already and left Martin to help care for his badly mentally and physically retarded sister who is wheelchair bound. Martin does that with care and concern, dedicated to seeing that his sister is clean and well fed every day. The story deepens as you look through his collages of photographs on the cupboards and walls of his bedroom. His Mom, sister and himself in happier times; his uncle, a Professor of things technological in Vancouver, Canada of whom he speaks with high praise and admiration; pets who have joined their journey from time to time. And little sayings……..one of which, on an old, worn plaque, that really caught my eye:

I may not be perfect but Jesus thinks I’m to die for!

If it resonates with your theology, mentalize it for future use. We all need encouragement sometimes. If it is contrary to your theology or absence thereof, please just bear with me so that I may make some points.

My first one is this: So what’s your problem? Martin doesn’t even see his situation as regrettable. He’s just too busy honoring the memory of his Mother by caring for his sister. And that mother, spare a thought for her – two children and both challenged. Her only consolation is that she could spend her last days in their home with them. Wow, how blessed are we to not be her! – so, what’s your problem? A little fat roll here or there, a tough business environment where Business Confidence has just dropped to its lowest in 30 years [1986 or thereabouts would have been the famous Rubicon Speech era], sales slowing, banks tightening, aches and pains of older age? What is it that so easily besets you and I? Martin has a view that in his imperfection he still has a higher cause, a reason to be and a job to do and I can tell you, he just does it unmurmuringly every time I see him. I marvel at him frankly, and he is certainly no spring chicken himself any more.

My second one: I unashamedly watch America’s Got Talent. Every season, every show, as much as I can. I see the epitome of human achievement. Like art, some of it I find unappealing but, also like art, some of it appeals to me in no uncertain terms. As a coach, I love to experience those, who in the beginning of the show, really believe “they have it” but really don’t. Old wrinkled people who feel stardom as the judges sensitively allow them their place in the sun, braggers who just try to be stars and quickly dim into ignominy. Then there’re those who start small and learn amazingly quickly, growing themselves into potential winners. One of them is Jon Dorenbos, the ex-NFL player now turned magician, who shared a little of his journey one night last week as he held me spellbound on up-close TV making cards rise out of a pack – I mean, HOW does he do it??. He has obviously bravely survived Adversity and found solace and strength in his ability. He said something I have taken to heart: Don’t listen to yourself; talk to yourself. Man that’s powerful! I’ve had the chance to watch some footage of the student protests [which probably gave rise to my Curro University idea[?]] and listened to my thoughts ie in my own head. No need to tell you what I was thinking about the abuse of my alma mater and other centres of tertiary learning. But then in came my son talking on WhatsApp with such sense and sensibility that I listened to a different narrative – indeed, a narrative of someone who seems to understand the long-view, who loves his country, wants to stay here to see it prosper and have his children here. Note, not because he has to, but because he wants to. You see, what he talks to himself is radically different to what I listened to in myself. Get my drift? Martin doesn’t even take the time to listen to negativity and neither does Mark – one challenged and the other completely normal; it makes no difference. The question is only: Are you listening to yourself or talking to yourself?

My third one: How would you feel if you were Pravin Gordhan? On 4 October, FIN24 quoted the Minister of Finance as saying to Bloomberg TV in New York, “ the police investigation against him is nothing but political mischief and will be resolved soon. Yesterday he gets informed on public TV, by the Director: NPA, that he is being charged with other co-accused for Fraud. In hearing it, he tells a Breakfast Meeting he can’t understand why this happens just before a most important mini-Budget.

Bravado? Challenging of the NPA? Or, simply the truth as best he wishes to understand it?

I’m reading a book in which CS Lewis is quoted as saying: Reason is the natural organ of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning. Premised in his thinking is that stories can align reason with imagination and mind with emotions. If I’ve lost you, please forgive me but here is what I’m saying. As you think and give reason to matters and issues, you create truth which is your own truth. But that narrative in your head, does not become meaningful unless you begin to imagine it. You’re walking down an alley in the dark and suddenly, you hear a noise [Reason gives Truth]. Someone is following you, goose-flesh rises on your skin as your heart races and Adrenalin injects into action [Reason intersects Imagination]. You know you’re being followed and consider fight or flight [Imagination results in Emotion]……..and then the cat appears from the rubbish bin……….and you go on your way, sheepishly.

What is the narrative that is becoming your Reason? And how is your Reason fueling your Imagination? Is your imagination tending to Catastrophe? The psychologists have a term for this: Catastrophization [read: the tendency to believe and always express the very worst outcome from a particular set of circumstances]. You see, my son has the ability, even better than my own to be very honest, to not allow his Reason to develop a truth which leads his Imagination to drive his emotions; he’s not insensitive, just reasonably less emotional. You could say, he has high Emotional Intelligence in many areas. And what about Martin?

How’s yours today? If you were Pravin Gordhan in front of cameras, would you be sweating or just referring to what even moves the Rand, as “political mischief”. In doing so, would you have eased the tensions of thousands of Investors in SA Inc? What “mischief” is playing with your mind as you make it “your truth”, perhaps, in complete error?

There are so many stories you and I could tell. Stories of great courage in the face of insurmountable odds. Stories of people, teams, animals, and businesses, all of which have survived against the odds because of impeccable leadership, sometimes, your own leadership. You see, leaders “trade in Hope”. They reason their truth, imagine it through and despite that edge of goose-flesh, begin to lead with hope, care and confidence. More times than not, they overcome and live to tell the tale. Self-leadership is the genesis of all leadership so become and be the leader you wish to see in your circumstances. Nothing can take away your dignity; it is and will always only be yours to give away.

Homeloan Junction may not always get it right. But to the best of our ability, we commit ourselves to overcoming any odds, talking instead of listening to ourselves, and controlling our reasoned truth with a good dose of emotional maturity.

So, I ask in conclusion, what’s your problem? Lift your head and your eyes will follow to Hope.

Yours in Property.


I have a friend who uses the term: The Next Big Thing,  quite often. It intrigues me as a concept.

However, the Last Big Thing is what I’d like to discuss quite briefly today.

In our previous blog I surmised the possibility that rates, both here and in the USA would remain the same. They did. I wrote:

So we have Interest rates stable or well managed, Inflation hopefully will peak and decline a little and Employment will remain soft but stable. If that is true, then Affordability comes into play. You see, cost prices of houses are declining. Therefore loans-to-values will increase. Therefore there will be a few happier credit managers around the place prepared to take a better view of your customers’ mortgage application. Affordability will kick into play – all of the positive, easy-to-feel effects of a Consumer more capable of paying for houses whose prices have decreased. Now that’s good news.

I was correct on the rates so the question now remains whether affordability will improve over the medium-term. That we shall see.

But this matter of stable interest rates is certainly “the last big thing”. In the USA, it means that the Federal Reserve is concerned that should they raise the rates they may snuff out the growth they are enjoying. This is double-edged – on the one hand the cost of debt remains stable and historically low. But, on the other hand, it implies that the FED is concerned that growth is not vibrant and could be nipped in the bud.

As a result, the stock markets react quite negatively to the news. In fact, they rise when the oil price rises as historically, this has meant higher demand from industrialized nations. In the old economies, prior to Sub-Prime 2008-10, a rise in oil prices predicated a rise in interest rates as economies were growing and inflation needed to be tempered. These days, the oil price is driven more by Saudi Arabia deciding on production levels – at the moment these are creating an oversupply.

As regards rates, Quantitative Easing [QE] [read: printing money] is driving the interest rate discussion. In a recent article I read, in the USA $3trillion of QE has occurred and still the economy is sluggish. This is a quandary for the FED and hence the reticence to raise rates. Bear in mind that whilst we talk about America, there is hardly a leading nation that has not QE’d their way out of Sub-Prime. Some described Sub-Prime as a seismic shift at the time [as they have recently also described Brexit]. Fact is, it was, and the hangover still remains. One good thing for us is that the US$ is a little weak and so that helps us in our imported inflation, especially the cost of Oil.

So what does The Last Big Thing mean to us in South Africa?

  1. We can enjoy the respite of, at least, stable interest rates.
  2. We continue to enjoy relatively inexpensive fuel.
  3. Our inflation rate is under control.
  4. We allow ourselves a little headroom to accommodate our poor politics.
  5. We gain from commodity prices wherever these occur and enjoy coming off very low bases.
  6. It helps with further unemployment.

Downgrade risk aside, our real problem is the long-term effect of Zero growth. In my memory, I cannot remember when we have endured such a long period of <1% growth whether the higher rate of growth was organic to our economy or induced by the intervention of Financial Authorities. But in the meantime, volumes of homeloan sales are performing relatively well compared to last year whilst house price increases are slowing. My Affordability theory is therefore still possible. Not a bad place to be under the circumstances.

I guess, all said and done, it’s going to come down to our attitude, commitment and hard work. Homeloan Junction may understand the economic situation but refuses to comply with its rules. It reminds me, many years ago in Nedfin Bank we had a saying in recessionary times: “We have heard there’s a recession. We refuse to take part.” There isn’t a recession in South Africa but even if there was a sniff of it, Homeloan Junction refuses to take part.

Yours in Property


We’re in that time again in the business cycle, when affordability begins to come into question. So, let’s question it.

I want to put the negative on the table first so we can get it off the table quickly. Depending on your measure of doom and gloom,affordability is affected by many factors that work together. For us today, let’s make them Inflation, Interest Rates, and Employment. If you have a job, are assured that it is stable, have low interest rates and live in a low inflationary environment, then you haveaffordability. In our environment, inflation is out the range at 6.3% average this year, rates may be about to rise and jobs are not secure. Therefore, on the negative side, Affordability is in question and therefore fewer houses will be sold as less bonds are financed by ever-risk mitigating banks.


On the positive side, a September 2016 ABSA Property Market Overview, led me to thinking. It said:

– Average nominal house price growth in August 2016 was at its lowest in 4 years, year-on-year.

– Nominal house price growth is to remain under downward pressure in the rest of the year and into 2017.

Against this backdrop, those of us who have been in the property industry for a long time will recognize some interesting signs. The banks are strict lenders of credit but frankly, at this stage are still lending and at significant loans-to-value ratios. The interest rate rise has been managed superbly by the SARB – you can debate if raising rates has been necessary but you can’t debate the intelligence, independence and stability of the SARB. It has really managed a difficult process in the whitewater of the global economy with due diligence and clear communication. So that said, if the rate rises this week, it will continue along similar lines – my premise is that it will not rise and if it does, will not have a negative effect. On the other side of the ocean, strong consensus is that the FED will not raise interest rates given the soggy USA economy. So let’s assume rates stay the same there and here. As regards inflation, we do have it and it must be dealt but if the Rand remains stable below R14.50 and Oil remains <US$50, it will help curb further Rand declines. So let’s assume the Rand trades in this current range with a blip, make that “serious blip”, around a possible downgrade. Then Employment is about as bad as it can get in the formal [read: mortgage borrowing] sector. Certain industries, Steel especially, are under the cosh but generally, Mining, Manufacturing and a few other sectors, like Property, are doing fairly well. [Please believe me, given the stuff of our politics, EU/British politics, Japan’s economy etc, we are doing fairly well.]

So we have Interest rates stable or well managed, Inflation hopefully will peak and decline a little and Employment will remain soft but stable. If that is true, then Affordability comes into play. You see, cost prices of houses are declining. Therefore loans-to-values will increase. Therefore there will be a few happier credit managers around the place prepared to take a better view of your customers’ mortgage application. Affordability will kick into play – all of the positive, easy-to-feel effects of a Consumer more capable of paying for houses whose prices have decreased. Now that’s good news.

As always, I like to stick my neck out on these issues and if you asked me what the biggest risk is, well, it’s the downgrade of our country. Sad but true. However, many experts believe it is factored in and shouldn’t present a major change in the medium-term. In the short-term, it will feel like a blow to the financial Solar Plexis but we will survive and come through it.

There is another fact that is a driving force of much that is our economy – the Middle Class. Here is an article from Business Tech copied which makes good reading:This is what it means to be middle class in South Africa

There is cause for hope! Watch what you read and distinguish the Noise from the Truth. Watch the new municipalities perform as best they can in the next 5 years remembering they account for 60% plus of our GDP. Watch politics play out but don’t let mind-games play you. Focus like your business life depends on it.

I was reading about a Morningside development this morning. Darn good value. I read some innovative Cape Town property deals last week. Very clever and financially effective. At Homeloan Junction we are determined to understand and then remain positive – who knows but that my scenario above, buoyed by the growth of the Middle Class, does not become our experience and we benefit from improved Affordability at this time in our Mortgage cycle?

Yours in Property.