Con­sider the pros and cons of the deal be­fore in­vest­ing in an his­toric home

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

CAPE Town is the old­est city in South Africa and the ar­chi­tec­ture is a tes­ta­ment to its many and var­ied in­flu­ences.

Buy­ers in search of a home re­flect­ing a past era can choose from thatched and gabled Cape Dutch houses to the cen­tral city’s or­nate, or­ganic forms of Art Nou­veau and the stark, geo­met­ric lines of the Mod­ernist Move­ment.

Whether you buy a ren­o­vated home or one still in need of some love and care, the romance and emo­tional pull of an older home holds enor­mous ap­peal for many, says Richard Day, Pam Gold­ing Prop­er­ties’ na­tional gen­eral man­ager.

How­ever, he says po­ten­tial in­vestors should do their re­search to en­sure they are fully in­formed of the pos­si­ble prop­erty re­quire­ments – from coun­cil pa­per­work to spe­cial­ist build­ing con­trac­tors.

Many his­toric homes were built in prime cen­tral lo­ca­tions, or close to at­trac­tive nat­u­ral fea­tures such as rivers and moun­tain back­drops. They may still oc­cupy sig­nif­i­cantly larger erfs and have more and larger rooms than the average modern home. They also tend to be well-built struc­tures, with thick walls, wooden floors and old-school at­ten­tion to de­tail and crafts­man­ship.

“It is of­ten such fea­tures, and the fact that they form part of a well- main­tained, ren­o­vated his­toric prop­erty, that may com­mand pre­mium prices, rather than any in­trin­sic her­itage value or sig­nif­i­cance,” says Day.

“An ill-main­tained his­toric prop­erty, or with insen­si­tive ren­o­va­tions, can of­ten fetch a lower price than an equiv­a­lent modern home, given the cost of restor­ing it to its for­mer glory.

“Buy­ers who dream of ren­o­vat­ing old homes should also be aware that they can­not just move in and start build­ing. Although such projects can be re­ward­ing and achieve out­stand­ing re­sults, many as­pects are care­fully con­trolled by her­itage au­thor­i­ties.”

In South Africa, all struc­tures over 60 years old – in­clud­ing their fix­tures and fit­tings – are pro­tected in terms of the Na­tional Her­itage Re­sources Act, 25 of 1999. All prop­er­ties in a con­ser­va­tion area or her­itage area are also pro­tected. En­tire ar­eas of Cape Town are de­mar­cated as be­ing of broader her­itage value, for ex­am­ple Wyn­berg Vil­lage, Ob­ser­va­tory, Lit­tle Mow­bray, St James and the city cen­tre.

One of the prime Cape Town neigh­bour­hood for his­toric homes, says Pam Gold­ing Prop­er­ties agent Sue Rosen­berg, is the area be­tween Muizen­berg and Kalk Bay. Many Rand­lord min­ing mag­nates built their hol­i­day man­sions along this coast­line.

“Main Road be­tween Muizen­berg and Fish Hoek is un­der­go­ing ma­jor re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion. Although traf­fic con­ges­tion dur­ing the ex­ten­sive re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion may cause com­muters headaches at present, the project prom­ises to de­liver at­trac­tive side­walks on both sides of Main Road, and park­ing fa­cil­i­ties on the sea-fac­ing side. This project, which is due for com­ple­tion in Oc­to­ber 2017, has been the cat­a­lyst for many of the abut­ting private prop­er­ties be­ing up­graded or re­de­vel­oped.”

Rosen­berg says this area ap­peals to all ages, from re­tired peo­ple to fam­i­lies with young chil­dren. Many buy­ers have moved to Cape Town from up­coun­try and want easy sea­side ac­cess. The prox­im­ity of lo­cal schools such as Sun Val­ley Pri­mary, Star of the Sea Con­vent, Fish Hoek Ju­nior and High School and Red­dam House, makes the area a con­sid­er­a­tion for fam­i­lies with school-go­ing chil­dren too.

“Be­fore tak­ing on an his­tor­i­cal prop­erty, make sure that it is gen­er­ally suit­able for your re­quire­ments,” says Day.

“Some­times peo­ple buy build­ings be­cause of their his­tor­i­cal charm, only to com­pletely al­ter them or re­move all patina or sense of his­tory. Find a house you like, and con­sider its pros and cons ob­jec­tively, as well as emo­tion­ally. The more log­i­cally you ap­proach buy­ing the house, the more you’re go­ing to love liv­ing in it.”

This his­tor­i­cal land­mark home in Oran­jezicht is for sale at R29.995 mil­lion.

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