Putting your cards on the table

Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, sheds some light: “Fundamentally, an Offer to Purchase is an agreement that contains the terms and conditions of the property transaction. The terms and conditions must be agreed upon by the buyer and seller of the property on a number of issues before the document is signed. Everything that is agreed upon by both parties must be listed in the Offer to Purchase document.” Goslett adds that the Offer to Purchase must contain in writing all the terms on which the parties have agreed. This should cover things such as the date of occupation, occupational rent, fixtures and fittings and the conditions of sale. Once the Offer to Purchase has been concluded and signed by both parties it will become the Deed of Sale on that property.

According to Goslett, the more specific an Offer to Purchase is, the better. “If all aspects of the sale have been covered and written into the document, there will be very little room for either the buyer or seller to negate anything at a later stage. For example, certain curtains or furniture may have been specifically manufactured for that particular home, so it would make sense for the seller to include those items with the home. However, if those items are not listed in the Offer to Purchase, the seller has no obligation to leave them,” he says. “If the document is particular in its detail, there is less confusion down the line on what was promised and what was not.”

It is important that the both parties agree on what stays in the home and what goes with the previous owner. As a general rule, anything that is nailed, glued or screwed down has to stay and everything else can go.

In some cases buyers may make an Offer to Purchase while they currently own an existing property or it may be made subject to the buyer obtaining the necessary finance.  In these instances, the Offer to Purchase may include a suspensive condition that the sale is subject to the bond approval or the buyer’s current property being sold. While the bond approval condition usually includes a time limit of seven to 10 working days, the time limit for the buyer to sell his home has to be agreed upon. Once the buyer has received confirmation that the mortgage has been approved or that his home has been sold, he must notify the agent immediately to ensure that the offer becomes unconditional. This is a vital part of any property transaction, because if the Offer to Purchase falls through, the entire agreement will become null and void.

According to Goslett an important aspect that should be covered in the Offer to Purchase is the date of occupation. This is the date that the property will be vacated by the seller so that the buyer can take occupation. It is essential to clarify this date so that both parties can make the necessary moving arrangements. The date of occupation will have a bearing on whether the buyer will have to pay occupational rent. This is the rent that is paid to the seller by the buyer if they have taken occupation before the property has been registered in the new buyer’s name. Goslett notes that this works both ways, in that if a seller has to stay in the home after the home has been registered, he would have to then pay occupational rent to the new buyer. This rental price can be agreed on by both parties with the help of an agent.

He says that buyers need to be absolutely happy before they conclude the Offer to Purchase, because once it has been signed and accepted by the seller, they will be contractually obligated to that transaction. Buyers must read each section of the contract carefully and make sure that they fully understand what the document is saying. If they are unsure of any clause in the document they should ask their agent questions to clarify and make sure. If further clarification is necessary, buyers could request that their lawyer read it and give advice where necessary.
Once the document has been signed, all negotiations have been concluded and any relevant cooling-off period has passed, the buyers deposit should be placed into an interest-bearing trust account until transfer of ownership is complete. The interest on this account will be for the benefit of the purchaser.

“The primary objective of an Offer to Purchase is to make the buying and selling of property as transparent as possible. If understood by both parties and used correctly, the Offer to Purchase is an invaluable part of any property transaction,” Goslett concludes.

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 20 Feb 2018
      Owning a home is a milestone that most South Africans aspire to. Becoming a homeowner is a step towards growing personal wealth and owning an asset that appreciates in value over time, provided of course that the correct principles are applied during the buying stage of the process, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
    • 20 Feb 2018
      The suburb of Greenstone in Johannesburg east came to be over the last two decades. “In the beginning, it was literally just a hill with not so much as a shopping centre,” says Michael Levy, Property Consultant at Jawitz Properties Bedfordview. Today it has plenty shopping facilities and is fully built, boasting high-density, upmarket housing and residential estates, though still has a few pockets poised for commercial development.
    • 20 Feb 2018
      A major shift in the ageing paradigm has precipitated an equally dramatic transformation in the retirement sector, with modern accommodation options worlds away from the conventional model.
    • 19 Feb 2018
      Possibly one of the biggest sources of contention between landlords and tenants surrounds the rental deposit. “Most tenants rely on getting their rental deposits back when moving, so that they can use it to pay a deposit on their new home. Having it withheld or even having large amounts deducted can lead to a lot of distress,” explains Bruce Swain, CEO of Leapfrog Property Group.
    • 19 Feb 2018
      Situated approximately halfway between Johannesburg and Pretoria, Midrand was established in 1981 and forms part of the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality. It has become one of the major business hubs in the country with major pharmaceutical, textile, telecommunication and motoring giants situated within its boundaries.
    • 19 Feb 2018
      The PayProp Rental Index Annual Review of 2017 shows that the rental market suffered from much volatility during the year. It kicked off with rental growth spiking in January with weighted year-on-year growth (YoY) growth peaking at 8.3% before dropping to 6.34% in July, dipping down to less than 5% in November and then experiencing a slight uptick at 5.75% in December.
    • 19 Feb 2018
      While most homes in cluster complexes, estates and other gated communities come with at least one garage or carport, residents would often like additional permanent parking or storage areas for things like trailers, bikes, boats and caravans.
    • 16 Feb 2018
      Whether you own a property in a sectional title complex or are looking to invest in one, the financial standing of the body corporate is the single most important thing that can affect your investment or your buying decision.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us