Get to the ‘real deal’ by asking the right questions

If you’ve just been through a home on show and are keen to buy it, there are some questions you should definitely ask before you sign any offer to purchase.

“Don’t worry too much about the paint colours or who’s going to move the junk in the garage,” says Jan Davel, MD of the RealNet estate agency group. “That can come later when and if you actually decide to buy. First you need clarity on a few more basic issues, starting with the condition of the property.

“And you should never be shy to ask whether there are any known problems. No home is perfect and since most properties in SA are sold “as is”, you have a right to know what to expect. The agent who is marketing the property should be able to give you a disclosure document listing any faults that the seller is aware of, and you should take pictures of the problem areas and factor the price of any needed repairs or renovations into your offer.”

Next, he says, you should ask about the age of the property. Some homes have been updated with new appliances, flooring or paint that’s clearly visible, but it’s a good idea to establish the age of the roof, for example, or the plumbing and wiring which can’t easily be seen.

“Then third, we suggest you ask some questions about ownership costs such as local rates and taxes, and what the current owners pay for municipal services such as electricity and water every month. These costs may make a difference as to whether you can afford this property or not.”

In addition, says Davel, you should ask the agent and / or the sellers all about the local amenities such as shops, restaurants, schools and public transport, and about the security of the area. “This can tell you a lot about the neighbourhood. If the residents are genuinely proud of what it offers and how safe it is, the chances are good that you will like it too.

“However, you shouldn’t forget to also ask about the neighbours, because whether they are youngsters who throw parties nearly every weekend, families who generally just mind their own business or senior citizens who are nearly all retired, it’s going to have an impact on your lifestyle. People are usually happier if they’re surrounded by others that they get along with and are at a similar stage in life.

“Besides, this may also be your cue to find out why the current owners are selling the property – and what difference that might make to the price they are willing to accept. For example, they might be sad about leaving a great community but have to move for work reasons, and be under some pressure to conclude a sale within a certain time.”

On the other hand, he says, they may have retirement in mind but be in no immediate hurry to move, in which case they will probably be less keen to negotiate. “Which brings us to the last questions you need to ask the agent on show day – that is, how long the property has been on the market already, and whether any other offers have been made?  

“If a property has been listed for a long time, or the price has already been reduced, or a previous offer has fallen through, you probably have room for some further negotiation. But if it was only recently listed and has already attracted other offers, you will probably need to act fast and not argue too much if you really feel it’s the home you want.”

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 24 May 2018
      Most real estate professionals agree that 2017 was one the toughest years to date; an eminently challenging 12 months that subdued even the strongest markets - including the country’s economic powerhouse of Sandton.
    • 24 May 2018
      These are uncertain and challenging times for the real estate industry, but the non-profit organisation Rebosa is fighting for their interests and finding pragmatic solutions to industry issues such as the urgent need to fast-track transformation says Richard Gray, Rebosa chairman.
    • 24 May 2018
      The decision to invest in property isn’t one that’s taken lightly, or dealt with flippantly. The same should ring true when deciding on an estate agent partner to handle the letting out of your property.
    • 23 May 2018
      Homeowners who are thinking of selling and “trading up” to a bigger or a better home had better be quick now if they want to get the best deal.
    • 23 May 2018
      The new Loftus Park development in Arcadia is really going to boost the demand for homes and rental accommodation close by and the neighbouring suburb of Sunnyside, says Gerhard Kotzé, MD of estate agency group RealNet Holdings.
    • 23 May 2018
      The importance of correctly pricing a property for sale is more imperative than ever. This is according to Debbie Justus-Ferns, divisional manager of Renprop Residential Sales, who says that despite this crucial selling fact being emphasised so often, in the current market, many sellers are still expecting unrealistic prices for their homes which is having a negative impact on the ultimate sale price.
    • 22 May 2018
      Extreme weather appears to be the new normal, evident by the volume of insurance-related disputes reaching the industry watchdog’s desk. To avoid a situation in which your insurer refuses to pay up, you should proactively ensure that your home is well-maintained and ready for whatever winter has in store.
    • 22 May 2018
      As the impact of technology on the real estate industry becomes more significant, it is clear that there is a need for an objective look at not only traditional real estate models but also online and other alternative low-commission real estate agencies, to examine what they offer and what their impact might be.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us