Selling your home to overseas buyers

By Veruska De Vita

When it comes to selling property to overseas buyers, the world is quite literally your shiny oyster. South Africa is a sought after destination for various reasons. It has natural beauty that includes stretches of pristine beaches along the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans, the semi desert of the Karoo, the savanna of the Highveld and the Mediterranean climate of the western Cape. Yes, the Rand is volatile because the country is classified as an emerging market, but this also means that foreigners get excellent value for their Pounds, Euros and Dollars.

When sellers try to list it themselves on the internet, more often than not it is a hit and miss. Buyers and sellers must also be aware of scams. The best approach in terms of putting your property on the international market is to list it with a reputable, trusted multi-national real estate company such as Engel & Völkers. “E&V has a firm presence in 33 countries, over four continents, which gives a seller the ability to be in a potential buyer’s back yard, so to speak. The listing is in their language, they are viewing the property through a trusted real estate company and person” says Craig Hutchison, CEO Engel & Völkers Southern Africa.

In terms of buying trends the market has cooled down dramatically. With the political upheaval, the volatility of the Rand compared to other currencies and general political uncertainty has resulted in people being more cautious, especially where it concerns the Western Cape and other regions that may be affected by land expropriation.

“Foreign investors are taking a wait and see approach, especially if it’s their first foray into the country. Those who have already invested in property in South Africa are less concerned as they have visited the country, they’ve experienced the process and realised the worth of property ownership in this market,” explains Gerrit Disbergen, Director Engel & Völkers Financial Services.

Foreign investors who are buying their second property are a lot more accustomed to what is happening on the ground as opposed to relying on a variety of news sources, which currently tend to paint South Africa in a negative light.

The investment trend is directly related to the instability of the Rand. When it goes through a period of significant volatility, buyers may be more reluctant as they want to see which way it is going to go.

However, if foreign investors are willing to take a long-term view of the situation, politically and in terms of currency fluctuations, the benefits are enormous. “If you have a long-term view you get bang for your Dollar, especially if you will utilise the property and live in South Africa on a semi-permanent or permanent basis. That’s still a definite,” concludes Disbergen.

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