Avoid these pitfalls when buying a home without a viewing

Until the threat of COVID-19 is contained, many buyers who want to take advantage of the record low-interest rates or who are serious about buying over this time might prefer to purchase without ever stepping foot into the home.

Though technology makes it possible, Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of REMAX of Southern Africa heed caution to buyers who purchase a property without coming to view it in person and recommends that they be very thorough before signing the legally binding offer to purchase. Below are some pitfalls buyers should avoid when purchasing a property over this time:

Request room dimensions

Photographs and even videos can be deceptive in terms of dimensions. A photograph or video can sometimes make a space appear smaller or larger than it is in actuality. Before you purchase, ask for the dimensions of each room. To get an idea of how large these spaces are, measure your current rooms and compare it to the dimensions of the new home.

Add a COVID-19 Clause

Special addendums addressing coronavirus are being added to real estate contracts to protect buyers and sellers from the various unknown factors of purchasing property over this time. These may cover events such as delays in home inspections because inspectors aren’t able to enter the property or slower repairs because only one contractor is allowed in a building at a time. Clauses also may address what happens if one of the parties has to go into quarantine or allow buyers to exit the contract if they lose their job prior to closing. Speak to your real estate professional and make sure you’re covered. 

Ask the seller about the condition of the home

If you’re serious about buying, make sure to ask the seller about the condition of the home. Under the voetstoots clause, sellers must repair or disclose all defects to buyers if they are aware of them. But, buyers are only protected if they can prove that the defects were deliberately concealed from them by the sellers. This is why it is imperative to ask the sellers as many questions as possible about the condition of the home. These include things as small as broken door hinges and sticky window frames, to larger concerns such as leaking pipes, faulty electrical outlets, and the condition of the roof.

Though it is possible to purchase a home online, Goslett is aware that there is a tiny pool of buyers who would be willing to purchase without ever physically viewing the home. Re-opening real estate services will allow for more sales to be concluded which will release the much-needed flow of liquid capital through our economy. “I commend government for re-opening industries at level 3 of lockdown restrictions and urge all businesses and consumers to comply with the various health and safety regulations so that the situation does not escalate, forcing us to return to level 4 or level 5 restrictions,” Goslett concludes.  

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