Property buying can be a nervous experience, especially because the devil is in the details. We would like to highlight some areas where you need to double check the facts, to give yourself peace of mind when buying a property.
When negotiating your purchase (Property Buying Tip #5), make sure you include a due diligence period, or a condition allowing you to inspect the property first before the deal is binding. This will allow you to go over every detail in more time and with a more careful eye. We highly recommend that you make use of a property inspector. They have the experience and know what to look for. They will give you a report on the property, with suggestions on how to handle any issues. You might find their list to be very extensive and quite daunting, but keep in mind they look at the property with an overcritical eye. Evaluate every issue on its own merit, most of them should be easy fixes. Don’t consider every snag a deal breaker, properties are living things.
A good company to use is Gauteng Property Inspectors (www.gautenginspect.co.za).
(Fees starting from about R2 000 upwards for an inspection – definitely worth the money!)
Very few of us have electrical experience, and wouldn’t see a fault or incorrect installation even if it was right in front of you. That is why you have to make sure your agreement includes an electrical CoC (Certificate of Compliance). Most banks will insist on this in any case.
A registered electrician will come and inspect all electrical work, ensuring it is according to standard and regulation. Make sure any CoC issued is by a reputable electrician who is registered with the ECASA (Electrical Contractors Association of South Africa). You can visit their website for contact details or find a member (www.ecasa.co.za).
Double check and ensure that the property has approved plans. Over the years, and especially with older properties, changed and alterations were made without approvals or plan submissions. You need to make sure everything is legal before you inherit someone else’s old problems.
There are more and more instances where the banks are requiring approved plans prior to registration, to ensure there are no future liability issues. Make sure the correct plans are on file with the local authorities (you can seek assistance from architects and town planners), and if not, include it as a condition on the Agreement that it is the Sellers responsibility (and at their cost) to draw up and submit as-built plans.
It might seem tedious and delay the transaction, but if it is not dealt with now, you could possibly be the one liable for it when you want to sell your property.
We hope this article pointed out some overlooked areas when buying a property. Be patient and don’t compromise on the facts. Rather know what you are getting yourself into, that way you can be better prepared.
*Although every effort was made to ensure the accuracy of our calculations, Foce Property Investments and its subsidiaries accept no liability in respect to any errors contained herein. Under no circumstances will Foce Property Investments be liable for any loss or damage arising from these examples