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Real advice from the experts: Part 5

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Get the low-down on technology’s impact on the real estate industry and the draw of the South Peninsula from Jeremy Barnes, Greeff Properties South Peninsula regional manager.

Q: What does managing such an expansive landscape of the South Peninsula consist of?

My primary responsibility is to take the strategy and objectives of the brand to the agents to see how we can best implement those. I also take into account the realities and idiosyncrasies of the many different areas we are operating in so that marketing, finance and the equity holders have a better understanding of what’s happening.

Q: What keeps you motivated in this industry?

Where else do you get the opportunity to run your own business within a business? Your partner, the agency, carries all the costs, other than smaller operating things like petrol, and you as the agent get 50% of the revenue that you generate.

I used to think that the real estate industry was a place for washed up retirees to land. And I must tell you that I’ve had 180 degree change of opinion—there is a career path and quite frankly, I think a brilliant career path.

The youngsters are coming in and industry is changing quite rapidly.

Q: What are some of these changes in the industry?

The whole transformation is being driven by technology. 20 years ago, you had a grainy little picture in the newspaper and you had to go check it out in person to get a real sense of it.

Now, you can pretty much draw up a shortlist sitting on the bus with your phone.

The pace at which technology is accelerating, I think we will soon have virtual tours down to a fine art, which will in turn park the traditional show house or open house on the sidelines. Why shouldn’t I be able to show you an array of properties in my office by putting on a set of goggles?

Hear more on how Barnes’ virtual reality vision and the possibility of a cryptotype currency.
Video: Abbie Wolf

Q: Is technology reducing the need for an agent at all?

I don’t think so, because the emotion between buyer and seller will always be there. For the buyers, it’s probably one of the biggest purchases they will make in their life. The seller is not only disposing of their single biggest asset, but also the span of memories that go with it.

The online portals that advocate selling property without a broker or an agent have had varying degrees of success. Some of them are in fact going away in our market, where the difference between the asking price and the selling process can be as high as 10 or 12%. I think it’s naïve to expect those two parties to come together without a facilitator.

Q: How do prices compare to the Atlantic Seaboard?

Let’s talk about Simon’s town for. In some instances, it is 10% of what you would pay for an equivalent property on the Atlantic Seaboard. That’s a huge disconnect. It’s huge. I’ve always been of the opinion that something has to give here because they both have magnificent views. And Simon’s Town has the advantage of being north facing for sunlight hours.

From a simple economics perspective, either the Atlantic Seaboard’s prices need to come down quite dramatically, or the False Bay prices need to increase quite dramatically. There’s little to suggest that the Atlantic seaboard prices are going to come down anytime soon, which would lead one to the conclusion that the False Bay are coming up.

The most common objection, ‘it’s too far’ and our commentary was from what? Yes, if one is working in the City Bowl, it is too far to battle traffic. But if one is working in the Southern Suburbs, it’s not really that far.

The other thing was that there was very little in terms of retail or medical in Simon’s town. But with the new development in Harbor Bay, that has all changed—convenient shopping, chains, optometrists, hairdressers, restaurants, and most importantly a medical center.

So it’s becoming more of a residents destination than a holiday town.

Q: How is foreign investment in this post-election economy?

It is surprisingly robust. In general, our currency makes all sorts of things a lot more affordable for them in comparison to other places they might look in Europe. The South Peninsula gets some of the best sunlight, and golf is a strong draw card because we are spoiled with some of the most magnificent golf courses on our doorstep in Simon’s Town. All of that leads to, to an attraction for great value. 

Q: What could you get for between R1 and 1.5 million?

The range of pricing in Simon’s Town can go from sectional title apartments at the bottom end close to R1 million to top end properties on the water’s edge, the most magnificent homes, at around R20 million. There’s a huge spread in variety of accommodation available that would fit everyone’s budgets.

For early two’s you can get a two bedroom penthouse with garaging, magnificent views and north facing. It’s unheard of.

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