select
|

Advice for property buyers - understand the steps

If you’re making your first – or any – investment in property, it’s important to understand all the steps, so that you don’t get tripped up by any hurdles along the way.

It’s all too easy to focus on finding your dream home and securing finance, without paying much attention to all the other steps in the process. But there are many steps, and it’s important to know your rights and responsibilities when making the biggest financial commitment of your life.

“A property is such a vast and variable investment that there is always potential for unpleasant surprises,” says Jenny Rushin, provincial sales manager at ooba, Western Cape. “If you know what problems could potentially surface, and what to do if one does, you’ll be better prepared to deal with it than someone who plans only for plain sailing.”

When you buy a property, the most important thing for you to know is that the property is purchased “voetstoots” or as is. This means that any patent defects (visible problems) and latent defects (problems you can’t see) are the buyer’s concern – unless the seller hides or does not disclose the problem before the sale.

“This is why it’s always a good idea to inspect a property carefully before you make an offer,” says Rushin. “Check that everything is in working order, that nothing is broken and that there is no rising damp or damaged flooring or roofing. These sorts of things are all visible, so the seller doesn’t have to list every cracked tile or dripping tap. If it is necessary, or you are concerned, have a professional do an investigation and provide a report.”

Required certifications

However, there are some assurances for the buyer. According to Maryna Botha, a Senior Associate at Smith Tabata Buchanan Boyes, the law requires that the seller must provide the following certificates:

  • An electric compliance certificate
  • A gas compliance certificate (if there is gas on the property)
  • A plumbing certificate (for properties in the City of Cape Town municipality)
  • An electrical fence certificate (if there is an electric fence)
  • A beetle-free certificate (this is usually only provided in coastal areas, and may be left off by agreement between the buyer and the seller).
These certificates will have to be signed off by a registered or certified contractor who is authorized to issue them, to be valid. Botha also explains that for transfer to take place, the seller has to have obtained a clearance certificate from the municipality confirming that the rates payments are up to date. Both the seller and the buyer, and will have to show that their tax affairs are in order for SARS to issue the transfer duty or exemption receipt.

The seller is responsible for the costs of obtaining the necessary certificates as well as any repairs that are required for the certificates to be issued. The seller will also be liable for the estate agent’s commission. The buyer will have to pay transfer duty and the legal fees involved.

Conflict and resolution

A common area of contention between buyers and sellers is the fixtures. “Items like fitted cupboards and curtain rails are obviously fittings and are included in the sale, but there is often some confusion around other items that may be attached, but can be removed, like satellite dishes or pool pumps,” says Rushin. Because of this, she advises that the seller list the items that are included – or not included – in the sale of the house.

The contract of sale can stipulate that should any dispute arise before or after registration of transfer the matter can, by agreement, be referred for arbitration or determination. If there is no such clause, the normal rules apply – that the parties should try to resolve it between themselves, before applying to the courts for a resolution. “However, legal costs can quickly outstrip the costs of repairing or replacing the disputed item, and matters that get to this point are often left alone as a result,” says Rushin.

While it is always advisable to be aware of your rights and obligations – especially when the costs are so high and the property will hopefully be in your possession for a long time – Rushin also advises that being informed doesn’t mean you should be intractable. The costs and effort of a small repair needn’t prevent you from owning your dream home.


  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
  
2000
Characters remaining


    Latest Property News
    • 20 Nov 2017
      Since 2012, sectional title complexes have been leading the South African property market, not only in terms of price growth, but sales volumes as well. Remaining relatively strong, even in the face of 2017’s political and economic turmoil, experts say this market segment could offer valuable insight into South Africans’ property purchase priorities.
    • 20 Nov 2017
      Regardless of whether you are purchasing your first start-up home, downsizing or moving in with roommates, finding ways to maximise small spaces can be a big advantage, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
    • 20 Nov 2017
      Property valued at approximately R1 billion is on High Street Auctions’ sales floor during the month of November, including the much-anticipated sale of the Tshwane Mayoral Residence and the land occupied by one of South Africa’s oldest operating gold mines.
    • 17 Nov 2017
      FWJK has announced the launch of its latest residential brand, the Lil’ Apple, which will be launched simultaneously in two developments in Cape Town and Umhlanga totaling 600 apartments. The Lil’ Apple is set to be a brand of FWJK’s New York style apartments which will be rolled out nationally.
    • 17 Nov 2017
      It’s been a tumultuous year on many fronts, with socio-political uncertainty setting the tone for much of South Africa’s economic activity yet despite this and seemingly counter-intuitively, the residential property market has held up well.
    • 17 Nov 2017
      The EAAB (the Estate Agency Affairs Board) recently claimed that around 50,000 illegal estate agents could currently be operating illegally.
    • 16 Nov 2017
      Penthouses are synonymous with New York – characterised by high-rise living that is decidedly luxurious and spacious. While exclusivity comes at a price, you can still create a “penthouse” look and feel in your existing apartment or even the upstairs bedroom of a double storey house with some clever design changes and styling touches.
    • 16 Nov 2017
      The area has long been popular with kite surfers and, with escalating property prices in Cape Town itself, is increasingly in demand with home owners who work in town, but are looking to invest in more affordable properties.
        
    X
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Name  
    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    select
    X
    Share this Page

       
    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    About
    Connect with us
    FEEDBACK