Advice for Foreigners

Advice Foreign Real Estate Buyers South Africa. Kruger2Canyon Properties, a small honest real estate agent in Hoedspruit offers advice to real estate buyers.

Overview

South Africa is often known as “A World in One Country”. Joan at Kruger2Canyon Properties likes to take this a step further and say that “Hoedspruit is a world of its own”. Within the close surrounds, visitors and real estate investors experience indigenous bushveld, riverine forests, mountain vistas, waterfalls, places of interests like God’s Window, The Pinnacle, small quaint smaller towns, go shopping in the bigger cities and still return home to the peace and tranquility of your own bush home at the end of the day. Hoedspruit falls within the Greater Kruger National Park area and the Kruger2Canyon Biosphere Reserve (a UNESCO recognised initiative), and enjoyes spectacular views of the Northern Drakensberg Range. The Kruger National Park is on the doorstep. For our real estate foreign investors, we want to make sure you are comfortable with any important decision to investment your heard earned money.

Foreign investors

A permanent or temporary resident’s permit is not required to purchase South African Real Estate if there is no intention to reside permanently on the property.

Title Deeds Registry System

South African has one of the best systems in the world, which makes it very safe to purchase and sell real estate in our country. Property can be owned individually, through shares, or as a close corporation, company or trust, registered outside of South Africa as well.

Real Estate Agent or Brokers

Real estate is usually purchased through a broker or real estate agent.

Commission charged by South African Real Estate Agents

Commission is not stipulated and open to negotiation. However the Estate Agency Affairs Board recommends 7.5% (plus VAT ~ currently 14% ~ provided the Real Estate agency is registered for VAT. Kruger2Canyon Properties never charges the recommended tariff which means all real estate investors get a much better deal.

Process

Once a real estate investor has decided to purchase a property, an Offer to Purchase is drawn up by the agent and has the validity of the offer prescribed therein. The purchaser is not allowed to withdraw during the period ‘open for acceptance’ by the seller. Offers must be in writing and with any important additional points carefully noted. For example “the borehole is equipped but not in working order”. Once the Offer to Purchase has been signed by both the Purchaser and the Seller, it becomes a legal, binding document.

Deposit

A deposit, entered on an Offer to Purchase is payable within the stipulated period of time and really shows good faith. It is invested in the chosen transfer attorney’s trust account (Kruger2Canyon Properties never holds deposits), where it is quite safe and attracts interest for the benefit of the Purchaser. It is also quite common, if the real estate agent is happy that the Purchaser has the money available for the full purchase price, for the deposit clause to be waivered. The deposit is refundable in the event of the required bank or similar guarantees for the full purchase price not being presented.

Occupation, Possession, Transfer and Occupational Rent

“Occupation” is the physical occupation of the property. “Possession” is the date of actual transfer of the real estate property in to the name of the new owner. “Transfer” refers to the actual date that the property is registered at the Deeds Office. “Occupatoinal Rental” is a rental agreed to, through the real estate agent, between the buyer and the seller should the buyer decide he would like to take early occupation of the real estate property. This request is usually made to plan either the building of a home in the case of vacant stands, or to plan renovations or additions in the case of larger guest or game lodges.

“Voetstoets”

Is an word of Afrikaans origin and means “you take it as it is”. If this clause is added, it means the purchaser has inspected the property, has been advised of the functioning of boreholes, Eskom power availability, and so on. A good real estate agent would make sure, as mentioned above, that anything that could ever be in contention later, that it is noted in the Offer to Purchase.

Electrical and gas installation certificates

South African Law dictates that when a real estate property is tranferred, that a valid Electrical Compliance Certificate is issued to the new purchaser prior to transfer. Recently, the same requirement has been stipulated for Gas installations in relevant. Either or both of these clauses can be waivered by a Purchaser but the responsiblity then falls to him to ensure that they are done on completion of any renovations or additions.

Fixtures and fittings

All fixtures such as built in cupboards, swimming pool motors, light fittings, airconditioners, etc of a permanent nature, are to be listed in the Offer to Purchase and may not be removed after the Offer has been completed.

FICA

South Africa, as part of the international watchdog on “money laundering”, adheres to the principles and insists that a transfer attorney works on a ‘know your client’ principle and that certain documention is acquired. Passport details and proof of residence are a definite requirement.

Foreign funds coming in to South Africa.

Funds can be paid in to any bank in South Africa. Usually funds are deposited in to the chosen transfer attorney’s trust account. Some real estate agents elect to accept funds in to their own trust accounts. Funds are only paid over to the seller on registration of transfer of the real estate property. When a non resident transfers funds from a foreign source, a “Deal Receipt” is issued by the South African bank. This is an important document that needs to be submitted to the Reserve Bank in South Africa. In future, when the real estate property is sold, and the buyer wishes to repatriate funds, he is then protected. Kruger2Canyon Properties has further details on the repatiation of funds. Do not hesitate to contact Joan.

Funds being Repatriated

Provided proof can be provided of purchase having taken place with foreign funds, the funds ~ together with any gains thereon ! and after Capital Gains Tax has been deducted, may be repatriated.

Bank loans to foreign buyers

Banks will grant a 50% loan to a foreign real estate investor only. The balance of the purchase price ~as well as costs to transfer ~ must be brought in to South Africa by the purchaser.

Conveyancing/Transfer attorney

They are registered professionals, regulated by professional legal bodies and who have their own trust accounts in to which purchase deposits are paid. Transfer can take approximtely 2-3 months. Transfer costs are regulated and calculated on a sliding scale which is between 1% – 2% of the agreed Purchase price.

Kruger2Canyon Properties has decided that this is enough information to set any foreign purchaser’s mind at rest. However, if there is anything else you require, please don’t hesitate to contact us for further details.