Townships good investment option

Sandile Mchunu

RETRENCHMENT opened a new door for consultant Sandra Jarvis of BetterBond. Jarvis worked at a financial institution for 21 years before she was retrenched in 2000 when the bank’s specialised division was centralised to Cape Town.

Born in Kathu in the Northern Cape, Jarvis now works as a home-loan consultant in Newton Park, Port Elizabeth.

“I joined PA Home Loans, a subsidiary of the PA Group. The name was changed to BetterBond later, with nine branches nationally as well as sub-branches,” she says.

“We do mortgage finance for all the major financial institutions at no cost or obligation to the client. With the experience we have, we can serve the client’s needs better and save him money in the long run.

“There is little that gives me more satisfaction than assisting a client to obtain his or her dream home and afterwards saying it was painless.”

Sandra met her husband in Port Elizabeth. He works for the Land and Agricultural Bank. They have a son in his third year at The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

In January two-thirds of home loan applications made through BetterBond were approved by the bank. Does this mean property has turned the corner?The fact that more bonds are being approved as compared to the past has a knock-on effect in the market. However, bond-approval increase shows that the public are far more aware of keeping their credit record in good standing than in the past.

What advice would you give to first-time buyers to ensure that they don’t lose their property when the interest rates go up? Always try and pay as much as possible off on your bond, as you could be saving yourself substantial interest.

How was your business affected by the 2008 recession? The 2008 recession, together with the introduction of the National Credit Act (NCA) had a devastating effect on business as banks had to ensure there was no contravention of this act.

How is the property industry in PE, as compared to the rest of the province?In the metropolitan areas of the province business is steadily picking up more than in the non-metro (rural and holiday day towns) but business is slow.

What is the average price for property in the city? Average price is more suburb and market driven than by a city as a whole.

Which area can one find bargains when looking for options to buy?If you have the necessary skills to do a fixer-upper in an area where the demand is high, the return on investment will be favourable. People need to keep in mind that every area has a ceiling price, and you should consider renovation not to overcapitalise.

How difficult is it to obtain a bond?Clients have become far more aware that their payment profile and credit record have to be updated and sorted prior to purchase. This has an impact on the percentage lending the banks will consider. We have a fairly good success rate with obtaining approvals for the clients and believe strongly that, if there is merit to fight for the deal, we will do it to the bitter end. We also assist agents in the market to get their clients pre-qualified on affordability as well as credit worthiness prior to purchase and by doing this we can eliminate the decline ratio.

Are buyers considering owning property in the townships?The demand for accommodation in the township areas remains under pressure and a lot of suburban owners are looking at property in the townships as a good investment.

How long have you been in the property industry and what other careers were you interested in when growing up?I always wanted to be an air hostess and was accepted in my matric year. However, my parents were not happy with me moving to Johannesburg and I had to change my career path as a result. I have been in the financial industry for the past 32 years and my passion has always been client satisfaction and building lasting relationships. I see my clients as friends. I cannot be happier to see clients coming back to me for assistance again.

Buying or renting, which is the better option at present and why?Buying – right now properties are more market- related and when the property prices turn and you are renting, you might not be able to afford the house or enter the property market.

How many requests do you get from people looking for second bonds? What kind of improvements are they using the money on?We see a lot of people taking second bonds for the extended family, bringing in parents/grandparents to live with them and extending the property, which also adds value to their asset.

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