Don’t be duped by real estate jargon
"Buyers and sellers should never be afraid to ask questions," says Adrian Goslett, regional director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa. "After all, the main function of an estate agent is to assist buyers and sellers through the processes which are unfamiliar to them."
However, it is understandably intimidating to be in a conversation in which you cannot hold your own. These situations hold the potential to lead you into making less than ideal decisions about things that can have some serious longterm financial implications. To help you guard against this, RE/MAX of Southern Africa sheds some light on some of the terms that could lead you astray if you're unclear on their meaning:
A term used by the Consumer Protection Act to describe the sale of an item 'as is', this clause exists largely to protect sellers. To understand what your rights are in relation to this, you need to understand the difference between two secondary terms:
"These are clearly visible defects that can be discovered on inspection of a property. Because patent defects are visible without a professional inspection, the buyer has no recourse against these types of defects and it is their responsibility to spot patent defects before purchasing the property," explains Goslett. To ensure you're protected, list all patent defects in the offer to purchase and state who is responsible for fixing them. Latent Defect "These defects are not easily picked up by a superficial inspection, such as a leaking roof or faulty geyser. Legally, the seller is responsible for these kinds of defects for a period of up to three years from the date of discovery. But, the voetstoots clause protects the seller against all defects that are unknown to him/her. Unless the seller deliberately concealed a defect from the buyer, and the buyer can prove this, the seller cannot be held liable for the defect," says Goslett.
Despite the somewhat ambiguous term, the difference between a qualified and unqualified buyer is not a degree - but, you'd be closer than you might think in that assumption. A qualified buyer is someone who has been pre-approved by a financial institution for a home loan and is therefore qualified for the position of buyer. These are the best kinds of buyers as the seller has less risk of the deal falling through after the initial offer has been accepted. So be sure to spruce up your home even more than usual if your agent says they're bringing around a qualified buyer. Conditions of
If you don't know what this is, you're unlikely to ask about it. The conditions of title are the restrictive measures that limit the owner's rights over the property. These conditions can affect whether or not you'll be allowed to make the alterations you had in mind, so it's worth finding out about before making a purchase. "If you are ever in a situation in which your estate agent happens to mention a phrase with which you're unfamiliar, don't pass on the opportunity to ask for clarification.
“You might not realise the importance that phrase can have on the transaction. And, even if the word turns out to be unimportant, you'll still walk away from the conversation having gained a piece of knowledge which would have otherwise have remained unknown to you," Goslett concludes. Web ref: 2044