Swemmer & Levin

Vredenburg & Velddrif: 022 713 2221
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Saldanha & Langebaan: 022 714 2244

The upfront investment is high, which you’ll want to recover when you sell

Stage 6 loadshedding is now firmly in effect, many South Africans are without power for up to 12 hours each day, and the threat of Stage 8 blackouts looms large on the horizon. It’s no wonder then that many households are turning to ‘off-grid’ power sources to keep the lights on and return to some semblance of normality. Solar power has emerged as the most popular alternative energy option due to its relatively quick installation, soundless efficiency (unlike a noisy generator), environmental benefits, and the prospect of lower future energy bills. However, the upfront costs associated with a solar installation may be prohibitive for the average middle-class homeowner—with options ranging between R59 000 to R289 000, according to the pricing from solar provider Solana Energy. Luckily, the increased popularity of solar power has given rise to a variety of innovative financing options to make solar more accessible and affordable.

These include:

Outright purchase: Buying the system outright using one’s own funds.

Financing the system through a home loan provider: Some of the major banks now offer the ability to add the cost of solar installation to one’s home loan.

Rent-to-own: Various solar financing companies have popped up in recent years, offering consumers the option to pay a monthly fee for solar—with the understanding that you will own the equipment after a certain period of time, usually five to seven years.

A subscription service: Solar providers such as GoSolr offer a fixed-monthly subscription to solar power using their equipment. Prices generally start at R1 580 per month.

What’s also important is to take into account whether the significant initial financial investment is justified by considering the value it will add to your home in the long term. According to South African home loan experts, ooba Home Loans, solar panels can increase the value of a property by around 3 to 4%. However, taking into account the current electricity crisis in South Africa—and with no long-term solution in sight—this estimate is actually rather conservative.

Ability to sell the buyer long-term peace of mind:

The majority of the country is still experiencing a buyer’s market, meaning that many well-priced and well-designed homes are sitting on the market for far longer than they usually would, due to an oversupply of homes. Solar power is definitely a Unique Selling Point (USP) and a way for sellers to distinguish themselves from the competition. Homeowners are thus encouraged to make the transition now while they can afford it, as it can be a lifeline should they become financially distressed in the future and need to make a quick sale. By investing in solar power, owners are also able to market the ‘peace of mind’ that their property will offer prospective buyers, both in the short- and long term. The buyer has the assurance that they will be able to work from home and perform daily household tasks such as cooking without interruption. Another positive selling point is the prospect of lower electricity bills and resilience against unforeseen tariff increases.

Eskom was recently approved to implement an 18.65% tariff hike come April 2023, which is yet another blow to South Africans dealing with interest rate hikes and the rising cost of living. In contrast, most solar providers’ annual price increases are in line with annual inflation, giving consumers the ability to plan and budget accordingly.

Five factors to maximise your solar investment:

Choose your financing option wisely: If you’re investing in solar power with the goal of adding to the value of your home, make sure that you own the equipment outright. If you’ve opted for the ‘rent-to-own’ (and haven’t completed the contract) or solar subscription option, the new owner will have to carry the costs of the contract.

Take the size of the installation into account: The more solar panels on your roof, the more electricity can be generated.

Make sure that you purchase a hybrid solution: A hybrid system consists of solar panels, a smart invertor, and a battery. The battery is what keeps your electricity running during loadshedding, using the power generated from the solar panels during non-loadshedding periods.

Choose a reputable service provider: Make sure that your provider is accredited, uses the highest quality materials to increase their lifespan, and that they offer a warranty should something go wrong.

Finally, remember that location is key: If your roof is constantly in shade, the solar panels will receive very little sunlight to generate electricity, making a costly installation essentially useless.

Solar power has the potential to greatly increase the selling potential of your home, but all factors must be considered to maximise your return on investment—including whether you can recoup the investment costs in your eventual selling price.

WRITTEN BY GRANT SMEE

Grant Smee is a property entrepreneur and the managing director of Only Realty Property Group.

 

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.

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Jan Fourie

Director |  Attorney, Notary & Conveyancer | BA. LLB

Jan graduated in 1974 with a five-year BA LLB degree from the University of Stellenbosch, whereafter he was admitted as an advocate and prosecuted as such in the Cape Town and Wynberg Courts. In 1974, he joined Swemmer & Levin as the Candidate Attorney of Mr Levin (founding member) and was admitted as an attorney on 7 April 1976, as a conveyancer on 11 January 1978, and as a Notary on 19 December 1984. Since 1974, he has served in various committees, including the West Coast Chamber of Commerce, the Vredenburg School Committee, and the Malgas Lions Club. 

Furthermore, Jan was the author of the first bilingual law book, The New Debt Collecting Procedures (Die Nuwe Skuldinvorderingsprosedures), which was used by all the Magistrate Courts throughout South Africa. With the founding of the Small Claims Court in Vredenburg, Jan served as one of the first Commissioners. He is currently based at Swemmer & Levin’s Vredenburg office and has been with our firm for more than 47 years.

Pieter Smit

Director | Attorney & Conveyancer | BA. LLB

Pieter obtained his BA Law degree from Stellenbosch University in 1995 and his LLB degree from the North-West University in Potchefstroom in 1998. He served his articles at Marais Muller Attorneys from 1998 to 1999 and was admitted as an attorney in 2000 and as a conveyancer in 2002. Pieter is the founder of PP Smit Attorneys, which opened its doors in 2004. He also became a director of Swemmer & Levin in 2006. Pieter loves the outdoors and participating in all forms of sport, including tennis, golf, fishing, spearfishing, scuba diving, and hiking. 

Johann Maree

Director | Attorney | BA. LLB

Johann matriculated at Oudtshoorn High School and attended Stellenbosch University, where he obtained his BA Law and LLB degrees. Following his studies, he worked for three years as State Prosecutor at the Magistrate’s Court in Cape Town. Johann completed his legal training with the State Attorney in Pretoria and then moved to his hometown, Oudtshoorn, where he worked as a lawyer for a year. In 1983, he finally moved to Vredenburg and joined Swemmer & Levin, where he is still practising as a director. When he is not in the office, Johann enjoys cycling and in his earlier days, he used to be a long-distance junkie.

Richard Phillips

Director | Attorney | Bcom & BProc

After matriculating at Paarl Boys’ High School, Richard completed his BCom and BProc degrees at the University of Port Elizabeth. He served his articles with Van Wyk Fouchee in Paarl and quickly developed an affinity for litigation. Richard has always had a deep love for the ocean and when he was presented with an opportunity to join Swemmer & Levin on the West Coast, he agreed without hesitation and has been with our firm since 1997. Richard specialises in general litigation and divorces. When he is not in the office or with his family, he tries to spend as much time as possible in or on the water.

Jandré Smith

Director | Attorney | LLB

Jandré grew up and matriculated in the small Klein Karoo town of Oudtshoorn. He furthered his studies at the North-West University in Potchefstroom, obtaining his LLB degree during 2015. He completed his articles at Swemmer & Levin in 2017 and was subsequently appointed as a professional assistant. In 2020, Jandré was promoted to the position of director at the firm, where he practises in the Litigation department at our Langebaan office. When not practising law, Jandré is an avid sports fan. He has a passion for nature and enjoys camping, trail running, and mountain biking with his family.

Andre van der Walt

Director | Attorney | LLB

Andre graduated in 2015 with an LLB degree from the University of Pretoria. He later went on to obtain his NQF 7 Certificate in the Administration of Deceased Estates from the University of South Africa, which allowed him to further his career in deceased estates and the drafting of wills and trusts. Andre served his articles at Barnard & Patel Attorneys under the supervision of Mr YAS Patel. After being admitted as an attorney in 2016, he continued working at Barnard & Patel Attorneys as a professional assistant in the deceased estates department.

Andre joined Van Rensburg Attorneys in 2019 and was head of the deceased estates department until 2021. He then received the opportunity to move to the West Coast, where he joined Swemmer & Levin Attorneys. Andre loves travelling and enjoys the beauty that our country has to offer with his friends, family, and loved ones.

Harmann Potgieter

Attorney | LLB

Harmann graduated in 2018 with an LLB degree from the North-West University’s Potchefstroom Campus. He went on to study and grow in various fields, including doing a course on the Consumer Protection Act and a course at the University of South Africa where he obtained his NQF 7 Certificate in the Administration of Deceased Estates.

Harmann completed his articles of clerkship at Swemmer & Levin under the supervision of Mr Richard Phillips. After being admitted as an attorney in 2020, Harmann continued with Swemmer & Levin as a professional assistant in the deceased estates department as well as the litigation department. He loves to study, possesses a deep curiosity about the world, and is dedicated to giving back to the community.

Carla Cloete

Attorney, Conveyancer & Notary | LLB

Carla obtained her LLB at the North West University, Potchefstroom Campus in 2015. She completed her articles in 2017 with Brits Dreyer Inc in Bellville. She is an admitted Attorney, Notary and Conveyancer. After her articles she relocated to Kimberley where she worked as a professional assistant in the Conveyancing department of Van de Wall Inc. Coming back to her Western Cape roots, she now joins the Swemmer & Levin team as a professional assistant.