Get your compliance certificates in order before you sell

If you’re planning to put your property on the market, a number of areas require your attention before a sale can be made, according to Mike Greeff, chief executive of Greeff Properties, an affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate.

“Apart from mending cracks, freshening up paintwork, cleaning the garden and decluttering the interiors, certain electrical components must be compliant. By law, a change of ownership cannot take place until a valid certificate of electrical compliance (COC) is produced. However, the cost of obtaining an electrical certificate can escalate dramatically if defects are discovered, since these must be rectified before a valid certificate can be issued for the property,” says Greeff.

“If you have the inspection done before putting the home on the market, and defects are discovered, you may decide to remove defective installations rather than incur the cost of repair or rewiring. If the compliance check is performed after an offer to purchase has been received, then the sellers are obliged to reinstate or repair, or even rewire all the electrical areas of the property that fall foul of the regulation requirement list for a COC at the time of the offer.”

According to Tyron Vomberg of Inspecto Property Inspections, sellers can save on the cost of COCs by being aware of the following possibilities:

Garden lights are often incorrectly wired and can be costly to rectify. These can be removed rather than reinstated.

Extension cables, which are usually installed as temporary solutions, can be removed.

Additional exterior lighting is often incorrectly installed and can also be removed.

“Sellers should also take note of redundant TV antennae as most households use satellite dishes. Unused TV antennae are seen as fixtures and will need to be bonded,” says Greeff.

“Upon inspection, we often find that items such as water features that require isolators are a source of defects, and we advises sellers to remove the electrical supply to these features to save the costs of rewiring. Another installation that is regularly found to be non-compliant is the wiring of wendy houses or garden sheds. Removing this wiring will further cut down the cost of the COC,” says Vomberg.

“It may seem obvious that all light bulbs should be in working order at the time of the COC inspection, but some sellers just assume that the electrical inspector will sort things out. This is a waste of time and makes the inspection more costly, as it takes time to verify whether it is the light fitting that is faulty, or just the bulb that needs to be replaced,” says Greeff.

Sellers should be aware that for the purposes of transfer of ownership, a COC may not be older than two years, and a new certificate is required if any electrical work was done after the certificate was issued.

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