Inspections vital for buyers, sellers
WHETHER a first-time buyer or seasoned investor, purchasing a property is a substantial commitment that must be fully considered, says Adrian Goslett, regional director and CEO of Re/Max of Southern Africa.
“Because buying a property is a big decision that can have a massive impact on your financial well-being, it is best to go into each transaction fully aware of what you are getting yourself into. Before putting in an offer on any home, consider having the property inspected by a professional who can provide you with a comprehensive list of all the home’s underlying flaws. While a home might be aesthetically pleasing on the surface, it is important to look past that and check the integrity of the components that make up the property to ensure the purchase won’t end up costing more in the long run,” warns Goslett.
The Consumer Protection Act will not have an effect on the “voetstoets” clause used in agreements of sale in an ordinary property transaction, making the need to thoroughly inspect a property more important. In certain circumstances, you are protected if severe defects are found after transfer, but it is difficult to determine whether the seller deliberately concealed the defect or genuinely wasn’t aware of it.
Sellers are obliged to pro- vide a list of all the defects they are aware of, but what about the defects they are not aware of ? Common law states sellers are responsible for all defects in the property for three years from the date of discovery of the defect. However, the voetstoets clause protects the seller against all defects, including defects he does not know about. In the instance a seller is aware of a defect and conceals it, you will be able to take action against the seller, provided you can prove the seller deliberately hid it – not an easy task.
It is often difficult to identify structural problems in a house if it is not your area of expertise. Having the home inspected will provide you with an estimated cost of repairs necessary before committing to the sale.
Knowing whether or not there are underlying problems will allow you to make a more informed decision.
Home inspections benefit buyers and sellers.
“Having your property inspected by a professional before placing it on the market will provide you with insight into what needs to be done to the home before listing. It also offers potential buyers the peace of mind there are no major issues. A home in good repair will attract a greater number of buyers when listed and will attain a higher sales price than a home in the same area that is in need of repair,” says Goslett.
He says even if you are not selling your home, a professional home inspection can assist you in maintaining your investment to ensure future appreciation. “Inspecting the home at least once a year will ensure minor issues don’t become major problems. An inspector can check for damage to the foundation of the home, faulty or outdated wiring and electrical problems, damaged plumbing or water leaks and anything that, if left unchecked, could lead to a costly repair in the future,” says Goslett.
Having the home inspected is not just about maintaining your investment, but also about the safety of those who live in it. Faulty electrical systems can be dangerous and unstable railings on staircases or balconies are not safe. If these are not maintained, accidents could occur,” says Goslett.