Alternative Ways Of Raising Commercial Property Finance

Posted On Monday, 29 October 2012 09:44 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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According to Jason Lee of Rawson Commercial, installment sale agreement provide a viable solution to sellers  who, because they are in financial difficulties, or for other reasons, enable them to dispose of a property that might otherwise not find a buyer in today’s market. 


Rawson CommercialAlthough they do not get an upfront all-in-one payment for it, they do receive satisfactory monthly installment payments over a specified period.  

"The Alienation of Land Act," he said, "allows sellers and buyers to draw up an agreement in which the buyer is required to pay in at least two or more installments over a period of one year or more. If they comply with certain minimum statutory requirements, the parties can structure the payment of the purchase price anyway they want and over almost any period.

"This method of payment is well suited to deals where a broker is involved because in most cases the deposit, which is payable upfront, is sufficient to cover the broker's commission.

"Such deals are also well suited to those buyers who, although they may have blemished credit records, now have a healthy cash flow.

"From the seller's viewpoint, the arrangement is beneficial because the eventual sales price has been agreed upfront and because the monthly repayments are in most cases usually set at a level that will adequately cover the bond repayments – and the seller's monthly outlays are diminished because the purchaser takes on responsibility for the rates and tax payments."

Furthermore, said Lee, although transfer is delayed until the final payment is made, the seller knows that the property will be well cared for because the current occupant knows that one day it will be his.

A further advantage of this type of deal is that, as the agreement is registered against the title deed, the seller cannot sell the property or take on another bond without the buyer's consent and the current bondholder is required to issue a certificate confirming the amount still to be paid on discharging the bond.

In this type of arrangement, said Lee, transfer duty must be paid by the buyer within six months of the signing. If this is not done, SARS will add 10% per annum to any outstanding amounts.

What happens, however, if the buyer defaults on his payments?

Here, too, said Lee, the arrangement works by-and-large to the seller's advantage because in South African law, non-payment even over a short a period, automatically results in ownership of the property again reverting wholly to the seller, who then, in addition, has the right to evict the defaulting buyer.

Taking all installment arrangement payments to new levels is a refinement of the system known as "WRAP". This system, said Lee, has been particularly popular in Australia and is especially suitable when the seller insists on the full purchase price being paid upfront.

In these cases, an opportunity arises for an independent investor to act as the banker. This means that he will buy the property from the seller (in most cases at a big discount) and then will raise a bond on the property. He then enters into an installment payment agreement with the buyer, the interest on the monthly installments usually being some 2 to 3% higher than the interest on the bond repayments. This system, said Lee, enables the investor to make a profit each month from day one, the investor's interest rate being considerably higher than that of the banks.

A third option open to investors is to enter into a rent-to-buy arrangement. This usually runs from 24 to 36 months, at the end of which the buyer has the option of buying the property at a pre-agreed price. Again the purchaser is responsible for rates, taxes and maintenance during the renting period. In most agreements of this kind, said Lee, the seller also allows a specific percentage of the monthly payments to count towards the building up of a substantial deposit on the sale, thereby enabling the buyer to take out a smaller bond – for which he will probably now qualify. In these deals, transfer duty is not paid until the property is actually sold.

Lee said that although the alternatives all have merit and have saved many a deal, financing a bond through a bank is still the cheapest and most hassle free way of buying a property other than paying for it in cash, provided the buyer can meet the banks credit requirements.

"Whichever route the buyer does eventually take, we at Rawson Commercial can help them to get them the best deal," he said. "We want to encourage investors to take another look at commercial property which, at today's interest rates, is almost always a very good proposition, the returns here being considerably higher than those of residential property."

Last modified on Thursday, 07 November 2013 09:37

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