Identify the "character" of the node you seek, says Steward

Already, says Lanice Steward, MD of Anne Porter Knight Frank, visitors from overseas (“the swallows”) and from upcountry are filtering into Cape Town - and, she says, as happens every year, some will inevitably start considering buying a home here.

“It would be boring to recount yet again all that the Cape can offer. Suffice it to say that to us Capetonians it seems perfectly natural that other people should want to live here. Most of us would rate Cape Town as one of the three or four most pleasant spots in the world in which to live.”

But, adds Steward, if you are new to Cape Town it is important to identify the character of the area you are looking for.

“Cape Town is divided into unique nodes which, to state the obvious, are very different from one another. The buyer has to ask himself whether he is buying for himself, for tenants or for both categories and, if so, what lifestyle he and those he seeks to serve are likely to favour.

“Constantia and Tokai, Bishopscourt, Upper Claremont and Newlands will be right for the traditionalist, the family man who wants a leafy environment, grassed lawns on which his children can play and access to good schools.

“On the other hand, parts of the Atlantic Seaboard, De Waterkant and the City Bowl will appeal to the urban sophisticate, the type who likes “in” spots, a boulevard lifestyle and the company of other upwardly mobile young people.”

Certain other areas, says Steward, are very much beach, mountain or boat orientated and these factors will also appeal to certain types. Simons Town, for example, is ideal for sea and boat enthusiasts while Oranjezicht is on the doorstep of splendid walks.

Those buying to rent out, says Steward, are on the right track because Cape Town has always given satisfactory rents, usually some 10% or 15% above the national average - but, she says, it has to be accepted that rand-for-rand the lower priced properties have always given a better return than the more expensive properties.

“Once you have made your purchase, the one crucial action to take if you plan to rent out is to find a good agent. I would go so far as to say that I have yet to meet the owner who can select and control a tenant as well as an experienced agent. If you are preoccupied with other matters or live elsewhere you simply must find a reputable, efficient agent capable of going through a complete credit check on any prospective tenants, collecting the rents timeously each month and ensuring that the property is well cared for.”

Tenants, adds Steward, often do not maintain properties, even when the lease clearly states that this is part of their duties but pressure from a good agent will see this is done.

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