Give beetles the brush-off before you list your home

You may think that borer beetles are boring, but if you want to sell a house at the coast, you’ll need to pay them some attention.
In the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, and increasingly in the Eastern Cape too, home sellers are generally required to produce a “beetle certificate” stating that the property is free of woodborer beetles such as Oxypleurus nodieri and Hylotrupes bajulus, which can destroy woodwork such as roof trusses, floorboards, skirtings and staircases.
In these provinces, notes Harcourts Africa CEO Richard Gray, the requirement for the home to be inspected and certified “beetle-free” is now contained in most sale agreements as a condition of purchase, and the attorney handling the transfer of the property is obliged to see that it is fulfilled before the sale can be finalised.
“In other words, any delay in getting a beetle certificate will slow down the transaction, so our advice to owners who are thinking of selling homes in these regions is to have their properties inspected and obtain a certificate before they put their properties on the market.”
And the same goes, he says, for electrical and gas Certificates of Compliance (COCs) which home sellers must provide to buyers in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
“The Act stipulates that a valid COC for the electrical system (including the wiring, plugs and distribution board) must be provided before a property can be transferred, and this certificate should be issued by a reputable electrical company registered with the Electrical Contractors’ Board.”
As for gas installations, Gray notes, whether these are in the main house, granny flat, staff quarters or entertainment area, an amendment to the Occupational Health and Safety Act in July 2009 stipulates that anyone selling a home in which there is such an installation must also have it certified by an accredited gas authority, and give a copy of this certificate to the buyer.
“And besides the legal requirements, we find that it is to the sellers’ advantage to have all the necessary inspections done and certificates available to show potential buyers as a ‘selling point’ - as well as a safeguard against any future claims by a buyer for faulty wiring, gas leaks or beetle damage.”

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