Check­list for sell­ers to fol­low to be safe

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

TO AVOID pos­si­ble delays in sales, sell­ers need to en­sure they com­ply with all reg­u­la­tions be­fore putting their homes on the mar­ket, says Lan­ice Stew­ard, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Knight Frank.

Zon­ing laws and build­ing reg­u­la­tions have changed and more peo­ple are con­sid­er­ing the im­pli­ca­tions of the Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Act, so sell­ers should en­sure that all al­ter­ations have ap­proved build­ing plans, she says.

“Own­ers some­times make cer­tain changes to their homes, such as en­clos­ing a pa­tio, with­out hav­ing plans ap­proved. I would ad­vise any­one who is in this sit­u­a­tion to dig out the old plans and, if nec­es­sary, get the changes drawn up pro­fes­sion­ally and sub­mit them to the lo­cal au­thor­ity for ap­proval. The de­lay in wait­ing for plans to be ap­proved in ret­ro­spect is of­ten avoid­able and buy­ers can lose in­ter­est in properties if they have to wait a few months for com­pli­ca­tions with plans to be sorted out.

“Bear in mind that mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties can de­mand that il­le­gal build­ings of any kind be de­mol­ished,” she says.

Be­fore call­ing in an in­spec­tor to is­sue a plumb­ing cer­tifi­cate, check that there are no wa­ter leaks. Turn off the wa­ter sup­ply to the prop­erty and check if the me­ter is still tick- ing over. If it does move then there is a leak some­where and this needs to be fixed. Sell­ers must also en­sure that all pool waste wa­ter and storm wa­ter is not go­ing into the sew­er­age sys­tem.

If the roof leaks, get it re­paired and get a guar­an­tee from the con­trac­tor. Be sure the guar­an­tee is prop­erly com­pleted, and ap­plies to the house and not the owner of the house.

If you are or­der­ing new gas cylin­ders for win­ter, be aware that the 48kg cylin­ders are il­le­gal for res­i­den­tial properties. Th­ese should be swopped for smaller ones, says Stew­ard.

Any plumbers or elec­tri­cians who have worked on the house in get­ting it ready for sale should give the seller proof that their work com­plies with re gu­la­tions and t he seller should try to get a guar­an­tee for this work if pos­si­ble.

“Some­times home own­ers don’t know about al­ter­ations that have been car­ried out, such as a case we came across where a ten­ant built a braai and a shed at the back of the prop­erty. Th­ese still needed plans and get­ting th­ese done af­ter the trans­fer is com­pli­cated. The seller of the prop­erty had to get th­ese ad­di­tions drawn up and ap­proved, at his ex­pense,” she says.

The most im­por­tant thing is to dis­close to the buyer and the agent any­thing that is amiss, so that prob­lems can be rec­ti­fied. Is­sues must be listed in the sales agree­ment or the con­di­tion re­port so that a full dis­clo­sure is at­tached to the of­fer to pur­chase.

“The var­i­ous steps to get­ting a home ready for sell­ing are there to pro­tect the seller against later claims and a pro­fes­sional agent will make sure that this is done.

“Gone are the days where you could put your house on the mar­ket and hide be­hind the voet­stoots clause. It is in the in­ter­est of sell­ers to take time to en­sure the properties they are sell­ing com­ply with all re­quire­ments.”

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