When buying a property, you may have to sign a contract which includes a voetstoots clause. This means that the house is sold “as is”. You may also be asked to sign a “Disclaimer” document from the estate agent.
You should sign neither of these documents as they give away your rights to claim for hidden defects.
Defects – what are they?
A patent defect is normally an easily identified visual defect e.g. broken or cracked windows, broken or cracked wall or floor tiles.
A latent defect is normally a defect not easily identified. For example; damage to roof trusses, rising or weather damp, or structural problems that require expertise to recognize.
However, you may have to sign either or both of the documents to be able to buy the house. In that case, make sure you put the following clause in the offer to purchase: “The sale is dependant on a satisfactory home inspection”
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!
When Estate Agents Should Insist On An Independent Inspection
The EAAB (Estate Agents Affairs Board) encourages buyers to have a home inspection. However, which buyer ever reads the articles on the EAAB’s website? Maybe estate agents read the articles and the EAAB encourages estate agents to advise buyers to have an independent property inspection?
Most estate agents prefer not to have an independent property inspection, mostly because of concerns over defects that may make the sale fall through and because of the cost involved.
Estate agents should know better! Insisting on an independent property inspection may save the agent from strained relationships with both sellers and buyers. Furthermore, an independent inspection will prevent damage to their reputation or possibly even costly liability later on, should problems occur with the condition of the property.
An independent home or property inspection doesn’t kill a deal by forcing sellers to disclose defects that they wouldn’t otherwise have known about. Any defect that is serious enough to kill a real estate transaction is best discovered before it can kill the deal or result in litigation at a later stage.
The Bill was supposed to finally provide buyers (consumers) more protection in the secondary housing market.
However, it appears the Minister of Human Settlements and his staff and the National Assembly totally missed the point!
Here is that portion of the Bill:
Mandatory disclosure form
A property practitioner –
may not accept a mandate unless the seller or lessor of the property has provided him or her with a fully completed and signed mandatory disclosure in the prescribed form; and
must provide a copy of the completed mandatory disclosure form to a prospective purchaser or lessee who intends to make an offer for the purchase or lease of a property.
The completed mandatory disclosure form signed by all relevant parties must be attached to any agreement for the sale or lease of a property and forms an integral part of that agreement, but if such a disclosure form was not completed, signed or attached, the agreement must be interpreted as if no defects or deficiencies of the property were disclosed to the purchaser.
A property practitioner who fails to comply with subsection (1) may be held liable by an affected consumer.
Nothing in this section prevents the Authority from taking action against a property practitioner or imposing an appropriate sanction.
Nothing in this section prevents a consumer, for his or her own account, from undertaking a private property inspection to confirm the state of the property before finalising the transaction.
This is the protection this Bill offers to buyers (consumers) who buy properties from sellers.
Inspection in Savannah Country Estates – Pretoria East
From my first visit to Jurie’s website until the end of his inspection in Pretoria East, I was impressed with the service. He is very professional, prompt and clearly has a vast knowledge of home inspections. As we walked through the house, he explained what was wrong and how best to fix it in the most economical way which was a Bonus! Jurie is sincere and friendly. He obviously enjoys what he is doing. Highly recommended.