In­spec­tions vi­tal for buy­ers, sellers

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

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.

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