Buying Property

home purchase

Buying a house, townhouse or flat?

Imagine what could go wrong with your home purchase! Houses are made up of hundreds of different parts and materials from a nail to a roof tile and more!

New or used, the home purchase will most likely be one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make! Therefore, with this type of investment, it only makes sense to have a professional home inspection done beforehand.

If you’re thinking, “Why do I need to spend the time and money on a home inspection?”

My question to you is “Why take any unnecessary chances with your hard-earned money?

Protecting your home purchase

An inspection and report will give you a clear, concise picture of the important components and systems of the home. Therefore, you can make an informed decision on the purchase of the home. In doing so, you avoid buying a new home only to spend thousands of rand on unexpected or unforeseen problems.

My thorough, impartial inspection will let you identify any minor or major repairs or maintenance issues. Furthermore, the inspection report is a valuable tool in the bargaining stage to address any issues before finalising your home purchase.

Moreover, you will have a highly trained, experienced and dedicated professional on your side. My report will help you make the right decision with your property purchase.

Don’t make the mistake so many other home buyers are making over and over again!

Protect your investment by having a home inspection!

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THE HOME DETECTIVE » Home buyer

Home Inspection Contingencies

inspection contingency

Put a Home Inspection Contingency in Your “Offer to Purchase”

inspection contingency
Waiving the home inspection contingency may cost you much more than the cost of a home inspection

Home Inspection Contingencies

If you don’t believe in having a home inspection you should realise that your investment is at risk.  In reality, a home inspection contingency is your safeguard where the voetstoots clause forms part of the sales contract.

In South Africa, the voetstoots clause is part of the purchase contract in most of the property sales. But, unfortunately, you will not find any home inspection contingencies in any purchase contracts.

A home inspection contingency should be added as part of the purchase contract when you have a home inspection. It means you can cancel the sale or try to negotiate repairs based on the results of the inspection.

However, you may not consider that a home inspection contingency is a big deal! In that case, ask yourself why a seller will refuse to consider your offer that contains a home inspection contingency. It has occurred to some of my clients! I told them to consider it a lucky escape!  

In addition, a seller selling a house below market value most probably has serious defects. Don’t fall for reasons like the seller is leaving for overseas or retiring to the coast.

In most instances, you should negotiate for at least a week to conduct a home inspection. The time can be shortened or increased during offer negotiations.

Types of Home Inspections

A home inspection involves many components, which are primarily structural and visual. However, if I discover defects beyond my area of expertise I will recommend that you consult an expert

For example, if the home’s water pressure is low, I will recommend an inspection by a licensed plumber. There could be a blockage the water supply system, or the plumbing pipes could be corroded. I may not be able to identify such defects by noticing the low water pressure. If I recommend further inspections in the report, you may wish to call a specialist for advice.

Specialist inspections include any of the following:

  • Pest and termites
  • Serious structural cracks
  • Electrical wiring
  • Heating and air conditioning
  • Lead-based paint
  • Foundation and basement
  • Roof inspection
  • Sewer or septic system
  • Soil stability
  • Trees and vegetation
  • Water systems and plumbing
  • Mould
  • Asbestos

The home inspection contingency expiry date

Setting the date that a home inspection contingency should be released depends on the contingency you negotiate with the seller. It may not automatically expire unless you take a specific action such as signing a contingency release. That is if a release is part of the contingency agreement. Therefore, if it expires before you have it inspected, you lose the right to have the home inspected.

When your sales contract has a home inspection contingency, it is important to conduct the inspection as soon as possible. I may recommend that you call an electrician to do further investigation of the wiring in the ceiling space. However, for example, you might have to contact several electricians before finding someone available in the time frame you need.

Therefore, it is very important to keep the seller and agent in the picture of what is happening. You should advise the seller on your decision to continue or withdraw from the purchase contract before the expiry date. If you don’t you may have to honour the conditions of the sale.

An example of a home inspection contingency

“The Buyers’ offer is contingent upon a satisfactory inspection within  7 (or _____ ) days. Upon receipt of the results of such inspection, the Buyers may request in writing at any time within the agreed period that the Sellers make certain repairs or that the Sellers reduce the sales price to compensate for such defect(s). Such a request to repair or reduce the price does not terminate the contract and the Sellers shall have _____ days from receipt of such request to agree to make such repairs or reduce the sales price. If the Sellers do not agree, the Buyers shall have _____ days to waive the contingency and accept the property “as-is” or to declare the contract null and void. “

Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Real estate procedures and documents may vary. Consult a real estate professional in your area if you have specific questions about this subject.

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THE HOME DETECTIVE » Home buyer

Damp Walls

Damp Walls In Your Home

gutters

I posted on my blog, in November last year, about damp walls that arise as a result not having gutters on your home to control the flow of rainwater off your roof.

On Saturday I inspected a four-year-old property that had a one tile overhang on the roof, no gutters but had paving surrounding the house.

However, the external walls of the house were in a desperate state because of the three most destructive mistakes architects, developers, builders and homeowners make!

As a result, I’m going to repeat part of the issues mentioned in my blog again!

Damp walls caused by no gutters

Gutters collect the rainwater runoff from the roof, discharging it into downpipes which conveys the rainwater away from the house in a controlled manner. In addition, they also protect the timber roof structure at the eaves of the house. Furthermore, gutters protect the exterior walls, windows and doors of the house and its foundation from damp and potential damage.

damp walls

The splashing up against the walls was the most serious cause of the penetrating damp on the walls of the house. Moreover, the crazing cracking (spiderweb-like fine cracking) in the plasterwork was the main indicator of the penetrating damp caused splashing up of rainwater. No cracking was observed higher up on the walls.

Even if your house has a reduced overhang at the eaves, gutters will still provide the required protection against heavy rain and wind storms your house may be subjected to.

Insufficient roof overhang at the eaves

Roofs with no gutters which have a two-tile overhang (600mm in the case of a metal roof) or less will allow water to pour from the roof close to the walls, windows and doors and the foundation.

Continue reading “Damp Walls”

Home Inspectors and Inspections

Home inspections: A must for every home buyer

inspector
Jurie Fourie – Owner of THE HOME DETECTIVE and Certified Home Inspector and Member of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI)

When you’re buying a home, you don’t want to skip the home inspection step. Home inspections are an important part of the home buying process. An inspection by an InterNACHI certified home inspector can prevent you from purchasing a home with serious issues such as mould, structural defects, faulty plumbing and more.

Firstly, you should insert a contingency in the “Offer To Purchase” which states that the sale is dependant on a satisfactory home inspection. In addition, you should also agree on an “Inspection Contingency Period” which will give you time to have a home inspection done. Furthermore, this period should be between four to seven days depending on how soon you can get an appointment with a home inspector.

Based on the results of a home inspection, the contingency will then give you the right to cancel the sales agreement. In addition, you can walk away from the transaction without recourse if you are unsatisfied with the seller’s response to a request for an inspection and inspection contingency.

You lose the right to have the home inspected and to negotiate over defects found in a home once the contingency period ends.

What is a home inspection?

As a home buyer, it is your right to have your future home inspected for potential faults and defects. Therefore, don’t skip this step!

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Boundary Walls

Preventing and Repairing Cracks in Boundary Walls

Damaged boundary walls around your property can spoil the whole look and feel of your property. Furthermore, cracked and leaning walls can also pose a danger to passers-by should the wall fall over.

boundary wall
This was a wall that was butt jointed against the neighbour’s wall. The danger here is that when the wall falls over portions of the wall will be spread over the pavement and possibly into the road. If a pedestrian is close by serious injury could result!

This article explains the correct way to repair boundary walls and install expansion joints!

Firstly, if your walls have ugly cracks and broken plasterwork and brickwork at the expansion joints do not plaster them up as shown in the photos below!

boundary wall
This expansion joint was chopped open and plastered up. The joint will crack at the joint again. This is a waste of time and money and will cause more problems than before!

Furthermore, the work done on these boundary walls will result in more cracking in the walls!

Many boundary walls and retaining walls may fail prematurely due to the lack of provision for movement. However, this is usually not a fault in the materials used, but usually a lack of proper design. Even when the design is correct, the construction of the boundary wall and expansion joints are often faulty.

What is an expansion joint?

It is a separation between two portions of the same structure. A butt joint in a boundary wall is not an expansion joint!

Expansion joints in boundary walls

When building a boundary wall, an expansion joint is a separation designed to relieve stress on building materials caused by movement induced by thermal expansion and contraction. They are therefore specifically provided in boundary walls to avoid cracks occurring in the wall.

Temperature changes and seasonal changes mostly cause the movement in the boundary walls. However, expansion joints also permit movement due to ground settlement, seismic events and expansive soils.

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