Tel: +27 (0)11 955 9100
E-mail: info@cyberagent.co.za
Web: www.cyberagent.co.za
www.cyberprop.com
 
Newsletter - 29 September 2008
Word from the editor

Dear CyberAgent user,

Cyberprop newsletter, 26 September 2008;

Wikipedia Encyclopedia refers to politic as the process by which groups of people make decisions. The term is generally applied to behavior within civil governments, but politics has been observed in all human group interactions, including corporate, academic and religious institutions.

If the US property market can affect foreign market can politics in South Africa have an affect on the property market?

My answer is yes. Both social economic and political influence are significant factors that can have an affect on the property market. The insecurity of property rights slows growth in unequal or otherwise polarized societies. Furthermore, if a government commits over the long run to redistributive and secure policies it definitely incur less risk of slowing economic growth which on the other hand plays a major role in the property market.

However in my opinion it is not these factors that plays a role directly but it is the media. The media have a tremendous impact not only on the prices of property but also on prospective buyers. What people read in the newspaper and hear on the television often becomes the focus point and does influence their decisions. A negative headline can for sure influence a persons willingness to buy. As an estate agency/agent let us know of your view point, mail@cyberprop.com

We often received emails from our CyberAgent users asking for information on Sectional Titles. A free Sectional Title website, Sectional Forum has just been launched. The purpose of Sectional Forum is to serve as a helpline and on-line resource centre, catering for the sectional title community. Various industry experts including Rob Mc Williams the editor of BCN and Specialist Sectional Title attorney Mr. Tertius Maree, contributes to the site by answering your questions on-line www.sectionalforum.co.za

Letter from our Managing Director, Mr. Willie van Schalkwyk, USP Designs & Sunday Times Property Site.

Greetings!
The editor

USP Designs & Sunday Times Property Site

Dear valued customers

It is with regret that we have to inform you that we lost the Sunday Times Property website and only this site, to Propertygenie. We still have an exclusive partnership with another subsidiary of Avusa.

The success of the Sunday Times property site was 100% linked to our technology. We built and maintained the website, and our expertise in the area of Search Engine Optimization is what drove all the website visitors to the site. The bulk of the content on the Propertygenie website can be attributed to the 100,000 properties we supplied them with on a daily basis.

As from 01 October 2008, this site will be like a brand new website with NO recognition from the search engines, thus a zero page rank! It can take up to 12 months before any significant traffic will be seen on this website. If Propertygenie tells you that your properties will be listed on the Sunday Times property website that receives over 36,000 unique visitors and 450,000 impressions every month it is no longer the truth, these were the statistics while we were still in control of the site! Look carefully at their choice of words in their marketing blurbs : "…SHOULD significantly increase the exposure of your properties…" and not WILL?

Furthermore the statement, "Propertygenie is the country's largest property portal with over 174,000 listings", is also incorrect. This may have been true until 31 August 2008 as we were the largest data feed provider to them but as from 1 September 2008 we no longer update the total data feed to Propertygenie as the service is no longer for free - we're only sending the data of those clients who have opted to pay for the service. Why do you think - are they not displaying a property counter on their portal? We do.

I can also not understand how they can say, "The combined readership of these websites is over 1 million unique users, making Propertygenie the leading property portal in the country". Where do they get this from? We current update to 30+ website where just three out of the 30 websites have a readership of over 1,200,00 unique visitors.

We, as USP Designs, are always doing our utmost to get the best possible deal for our clients. We did the same with Propertygenie. We were by far the "Biggest" group / data provider to them and therefore approached them for a group discount that we again could pass down to our users. The current "advertised" price to be on the Propertygenie website is R280 excluding VAT per month. PropertyGenie offered us a 10% discount which we declined as there is no real financial advantage to you the client and secondly because we could not see the benefit in spending that type of money for the type of impressions (exposure) they receive monthly. Ananzi Property with comparable exposure is at a cost of R100 per month - so they're asking almost three times as much!

We were assured that R285 less 10% will be the maximum discount offered to anybody, no matter how big or if they were shareholders in Ooba or not. Subsequently it was brought under our attention that there are agencies that pay as low as R 210.00 per month to "In terms of pricing, the average price per office may be different depending on the size of the group. Our pricing is still worked at R280 per office. Sometimes the average across the group may be lower due to the shop fronts which vary"

Is this fair? Why should the smaller agencies pay more?

Through our channels your properties are on more than 30 websites and the list is growing. We offer data imports to bigger groups at much more acceptable pricing for far more value and we will continue looking for the best deal for our clients.

Since you, our clients are more important than our own "ego" we will keep on supporting the Propertygenie data dump. Unfortunately we will not be able to do this free of charge. From the end of September 2008 there will be a fee of R35 per office charge for uploading to cover our bandwidth costs.

CyberAgent Greetings

Willie van Schalkwyk
Managing Director

Website Marketing - NEW


Click Here for printable .pdf file

What's new

New Marketing Tool: Your Own Custom Blog

  • The latest buzz work on the internet today is “BLOG”.

    A blog (a contraction of the term "Web log") is a Web site, usually maintained by an individual or company, with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. "Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

    However, a lot of websites don’t really benefit from using a free blog. These “free” blogs are often branded with the host company’s branding, consists of unwanted advertising and most important, the hosting company can start charging for the service at their own discretion.

    Our blog application will enable you to manage your own content, This includes the formatting of pictures and hyperlinks back to your own website. It is also configured behind your own website. In other words, if your website address is www.myownwebsite.co.za, your blog will be configured to be blog.myownwebsite.co.za. This will be hosted on a separate IP address and will contain your look and feel of your website.

    What is more, when someone posts a comment on an article you have published in your blog, an email is sent directly to you. You then have the choice to keep or to remove this posting, should you wish to do so. You can even earn money by having Google ads on your blog.

    As a CyberAgent user, where we host your website, it will cost R1250 (excl VAT) to setup your blog site and only R110 per month for the hosting of your blog.

    Please contact support should you need more information regarding the blog

Two new additions to the website admin interface:

  • Keep Me Informed details: Those who have registered for the Keep Me Informed facility on your website - can now view the details of the visitors who have created search profiles on your website.

  • Have you ever wondered how many times a Property has been Viewed - well now you can! Simply log on to the admin interface and click on Property Views. Guaranteed to provide a lot of insight into the markets' response to your marketing of the property

 

Backups – why do you need them?

In today’s information age, losing critical data can be very damaging to any business. A loss of productivity, the inability to trade, lost important documents and contracts are all consequences of not backing up, and yet it’s a task that doesn’t take place nearly as regularly as it should. Read on to find out how you can simplify this task

What is backing-up?
Your data is considered backed up when it has been saved to another place, other than your computer’s hard drive. The aim of a backup is to prevent the total loss of data in the event of a hard drive ‘crash’, theft of the physical machine or system failure. There are a number of ways to backup your data:

One is to buy an external hard drive and do the backups manually. This is suitable only if you have the time and discipline to do regular backups. Once you have saved your data to this external drive, you should then store this hard-drive in a safe place, away from your primary drive.

Storage media, like rewritable CD’s or DVD’s is another option, especially if the amount of data to be stored is small. However, it becomes difficult to manage if the amount of data stored is large.

In essence, these traditional backup methods are not ideal because we get busy or simply forget. If your business doesn’t have a dedicated staff member or IT provider to do daily or weekly backups, inconsistent backup procedures result. Traditional backup tasks can also be time consuming and keep valuable staff from performing other critical tasks that benefit your business.

But the good news is there is a way to handle the backup of large amounts of data on a regular basis to a safe place, automatically and reliably – online backups.

What is online backup?
Online backup is a simple, time efficient way of ensuring that your information is safely housed off-site, away from fires, floods or theft. It is an automatic, pre-scheduled way of backing up and storing critical data files, reliably.

How it works…
The first time you backup, your files are automatically copied, compressed and sent via a secure Internet connection to a remote server where they are stored. At a scheduled time every day thereafter, these files are searched for changes and the updated document is encrypted, compressed and transferred to the same remote server. In this way your daily backups run very quickly and seldom take longer than 5 to 10 minutes.

Why get online backup?

1. Separate location: In the event of a disaster at your office or home your data will be stored somewhere safe and will be available to you. This is the greatest advantage of online backups.

2: Requires no input: Once the backup is configured, you will rarely have to provide any input to the process. Backups will occur automatically without your having to remember to do them.

3: Backup and access your files from anywhere: If you are often on the move, then using traditional backup techniques may be physically impossible. With online backups, your files are always just an Internet connection away and you can backup data from your computer, and restore it to any PC from anywhere in the world.

4: Incremental backups of important files: After the initial data transfer has taken place, only the changes that you make to a document will be sent to the online backup server. This way of doing things saves a huge amount of time.

5: File encryption: When you backup online, your files are encrypted as they are transferred over the Internet to prevent prying eyes examining your data. This ensures their safety

6: No equipment or consumable costs: Using online backups means you are using hardware owned, maintained and operated by someone else to store your data, so no need to buy backup consumables like CDs or DVDs, or hardware to perform the backups.

Issues to consider
Online backup is an excellent, time- and cost-efficient service. However, if you are still using a dial-up connection, then online backups are probably not for you. The slowness of the line speed makes backing up over a narrowband connection very cumbersome and time-intensive.

Also bear in mind that if your Internet access is down for any reason, you obviously won’t be able to backup or retrieve data while you’re not connected.

MWEB Business Online Backup Service
MWEB Business offers an easy to use online backup service which encrypts your data and backs it up to a secure server in our state-of-the-art Data Centre.

The backup system is programmed to run everyday at a predefined time, and through an easy-to-use Web interface, you are assured of immediate access to restore your data anytime and from any PC.

CyberAgent Anywhere

Here at USP Designs, through our CyberAgent Anywhere application we offer an online backup service. Backup takes place everytime that you update your data and it happens automatically. For more information call 011 955 9100 or email support@cyberprop.com

 

USA Property Market - existing-home sales slide on tight mortgage availability

WASHINGTON (September 25) US existing-home sales were down in August following a healthy gain in July as tight mortgage credit curtailed activity, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Sales rose in the Midwest and South but fell in the Northeast and West.

Nationally, existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops –declined 2,2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate1 of 4,91 million units in August from an upwardly revised pace of 5,02 million in July, but are 10,7 percent below the 5,50 million-unit pace in August 2007...

>> Read More

 

SA Property market - A recovery could occur by December

A recovery could occur by December, says Steward.
by Anne Porter Properties

Lanice Steward, MD of the Claremont based agency, Anne Porter Knight Frank, has already said in a public release that there is surprising resilience in the SA residential property market, that sellers are showing a greater sense of realism and are coming round to accepting the 15 to 20% price falls of the last year.

Asked recently when, if ever, an upturn in home sales could become evident, Steward said that, despite the economic fallout worldwide (“the worst since 1929”) and Mboweni’s warning that a credit crunch now seems inevitable, property marketers are still hopeful that there will be no further interest rate rises...

>> Read More

 

CyberAgent Training and Info Sessions

We now provide you with FREE training session in the following areas;

  • Gauteng
  • Kwazulu Natal
  • Western Cape
  • and the Garden Route

During these training sessions more information will also be provided on:

  • CyberAgent Anywhere
  • Keep me Informed Function
  • New developments in CyberAgent
  • New Update Manager
  • REEP (Real Estate Evaluation Portal)
Gauteng
Western Cape
Gauteng Training Sessions

Date: Daily
Time:
09h30 to 12h30 - Beginners
14h00 to 17h00 - Advanced
Cost: FREE!
Venue: 22 Ackerman Street, Witpoortjie, Roodepoort, 1724

R.S.V.P

Contact:
Sandy
Tel: (011) 955-9100
Email sandy@cyberprop.com

Contact us to book your CyberAgent Anywhere training session today

Western Cape Training Sessions

Date: 7 October and 21 October 2008
Time:
09h00 to 12h00 - Beginners
12h00 to 16h00 - Advanced
Cost: FREE!
Venue: 65 Balfour Street, Parow, Cape Town

R.S.V.P

Before:
3 October and 17 October respectively

Contact:
Chris Niemandt
Cell 082 432 6963
Email chris@cyberprop.com

Contact us to book your CyberAgent Anywhere training session today

PropertyTrader

Property trader is a free real estate magazine, targeting all sectors of the South African residential property community. The publications provide compelling local market editorial with informative national features and columns delivering a truly unique perspective for those of you interested in the property market. As a group we currently publish in excess of 60 million pages of advertising per month via more than 400 000 issues weekly in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Kwazulu Natal and Mpumalanga.

Your properties are now advertised online with Property Trader as part of your monthly CyberAgent subscription!

www.propertytrader.co.za

News

A warm welcome to all new Agencies August 2008:

We trust that by now you are well aware of what CyberAgent can do for you. If you need any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us at support@cyberprop.com or phone us at: +27 (0)11 955-9100 or 086 112- 9237

Most Internet enquiries August 2008:

Company Requests
The Rental Giant 408
Wendy Machanik Properties 104
Huizemark Jeffreys Bay 92
NWSE Property Group 87
Proplist - Head Office - Repo List CC 78
Hall Real Estate - Befordview/Edenvale 70
RKD Trading And Projects 67
Hall Real Estate - Alberton 58
Definite Shelter Properties 56
JohnLee Properties CC 55
The Letting Agent 48
Marduk Real Estate CC 44
Rentalproperties.co.za 44
U PROP.com 43
Anne Porter Properties (Pty) Ltd 41

MESSAGE FROM THE CEO

A compulsory examination for all estate agents was first introduced by the Estate Agency Affairs Board during the early 1980’s. During the course of 1995, however, the Board resolved to make the hitherto compulsory examination non-compulsory by introducing the concept of a “candidate” estate agent. A registered candidate estate agent, who would be subject to the active supervision and control of a full status agent, could obtain full status as an estate agent after the expiry of a twelve month period. The Board believed that the practical and theoretical knowledge that would be acquired by a candidate estate agent over a one year period would largely equate to that acquired by an estate agent who had opted, rather, to write the Board examination.

While there can be no doubt that this innovation was introduced with the very best of intentions, it soon became clear, however, that the implementation of the candidate system was fraught with unforeseen practical difficulties. As there was no prescribed method for the monitoring or assessing of the performance of the candidate over the candidature period the system was subject to abuse. It was found to be not uncommon, thus, that persons having gained very little practical knowledge and experience and, in the worst-case scenario, those who had done nothing more than act as, for instance, show house sitters over the full term of their candidacy, would acquire full status as estate agents, including the right to establish and run their own estate agency enterprises as principal estate agents. There was no doubt that the existing education and training system was ripe for review.

The Board, together with industry representatives, took the opportunity to embark upon a unit standards development process when the National Qualification Framework was introduced in 1998. When these unit standards were duly submitted to the South African Qualification Authority for registration, they were returned by SAQA with the indication that only one set standards for the property industry would be accepted. The necessary implication was that the unit standards for both property valuation and property management had also to be included. The process recommenced and the combined unit standards were finally registered by SAQA in 2003.

The Board is presently in the process of aligning its education and training to accommodate the principles of the National Qualifications Framework and Outcomes Based Education as encapsulated in the SA Qualifications Authority Act.

I am positive that the introduction of the new curriculum for education and training will not only professionalize estate agency, and transform it into a career of choice, but also raise the standards of service to consumers and stakeholders alike. It is anticipated, furthermore, that outcomes based education and training will enhance the status of estate agency practitioners and so redound to the benefit of all.

 

Two new vice-presidents for Ieasa

The Institute of Estate Agents (IEASA) has announced the appointment of two new national vice-presidents.

They are Dr Andrew Golding of Pam Golding Properties and Kerry Warburg of Maxprop Westville and their appointments fill the vacant positions created by the institute late last year.

Golding will take co-responsibility with IEASA national president Dr Willie Marais for international affiliations and Warburg will oversee statutory matters, while the third vice-president Ken Ralph, who was appointed in 2006, continues to handle regional matters...

>> Read More

Dr Andrew Golding
Kerry Warburg
Global real estate group signs multimillion deal with SA's Homenet

In a multimillion-rand deal that speaks volumes about international confidence in the SA property market, Australasian real estate group Harcourts International has bought a share of leading local group Homenet.

"This is very different from the entry of other international real estate companies into SA, which generally involved SA companies or entrepreneurs paying those companies for a franchise licence or the use of a brand," says Homenet CEO Martin Schultheiss...

>> Read More