Advice and Opinion

Sectional Titles vs. Free Standing Property investments

Estate Agency generic

“The safety aspect and shared costs are just two of the reasons that sectional title units have growth massively in popularity since they were first introduced to the market in South Africa”, says Caron Leslie, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Property Associates in Table View. “Security is a primary concern for many South African property buyers and living within the community of a sectional title development provides just that,” she says.

Another aspect that is making this option popular among buyers is that sectional title units are often more affordable than full title cluster homes, but offer similar security and lifestyle benefits. Leslie notes that aside from the fact that the prices of sectional title units are often lower than full title homes, there are other aspects that bring down the cost to the home owner once they have bought a sectional title unit.  In most cases, home owners are only responsible for the maintenance of the interior of their unit, while maintenance costs for the exterior of the property are generally for the body corporate’s account. Additionally, charges for resources such as water and electricity are shared among the home owners living in a sectional title complex, which means the costs are normally lower than that of a freestanding property.

Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that sectional title units are the ideal start for buyers purchasing their first home. However, it is vital that buyers who purchase within these schemes adhere to the same golden principles that they would buying any property. “Buyers should always do the required research, and buy within the right location,” advises Goslett.

According to Leslie, as part of the research when purchasing a sectional title property, buyers should obtain a copy of the body corporate rules and regulations and go through them. “The estate agent marketing the development will be able to provide potential buyers with a copy of the rules to peruse. These rules govern the owners within the confines of the scheme and deem what the homeowner is allowed to do in the perimeters of that scheme once they purchase the property. Buyers should consider these rules before making their final decision to purchase the property,” says Leslie.

She adds that purchasing a sectional title unit within a good location can provide buyers with good returns on their investment over time, especially if they purchase within a development in its initial phases. “The demand for sectional title property will ensure appreciation in value, provided it is located in a good location. Added to that, purchasing a property within a new development means that the purchaser will not have to pay transfer duty,” says Leslie.

She notes that agents from her office currently have a sole mandate on a new sectional title development located in Parklands North called Tinchley Place. Construction commenced this month with occupation scheduled for September/October this year. The secure gated complex will consist of 32 units, measuring 136m2, all double-storey homes with three bedrooms, two bathroom configurations. Priced at R1.599 million, the units also feature a guest cloakroom, private garden, lock-up garden and parking bay. Leslie says that the seller is registered for VAT, so no transfer duty is payable.

Sectional title units will continue to be popular among security conscious buyers in the future and provide a good return on investment if the principles of buying property are followed, says Leslie. “This type of property provides a low-maintenance, cost-effective opportunity for buyers to live in a secure environment,” she concludes.