Most property transactions progress from sale to registration without a hitch. A smooth and uncomplicated transaction, with all parties walking away happy, is a Conveyancer’s dream! For the most part, situations which arise between Seller and Purchaser are easily resolved. By managing expectations of both parties and by applying the law, the ‘issues’ may be quickly finalised. However, there are the few gremlins that arise, causing havoc and a complete stall in the entire transaction. The difficulty faced by Conveyancer’s and Agents in resolving the issues after an Offer to Purchase has been signed, is that there is now a legal binding contract. An Agreement of Sale which does not account for specific issues can cause many headaches and lengthy delays.
All is not gloom and doom however, and as a Seller, one can prepare for a smooth and problem free sale by attending to the below matters prior to signing an Offer to Purchase.
Inspect your property thoroughly – It is highly advisable to thoroughly inspect your own property prior to placing it on the market. A few things to do: go into the roof or have it inspected, note any cracks in the foundation or walls, check for any leaks and mould, and make sure that the plumbing works correctly. Prepare a comprehensive list of both patent (obvious) and latent (not necessarily seen by the naked eye) defects to be handed to the Agent and potential buyers. This will help avoid any disputes later on as to whether a crack was present in the wall, or whether a window pane was broken prior to viewing. Property inspectors may save you a lot of time, effort and money in the long run with their reports which can be used in the sale process.
Fixtures and Fittings – It is always a good idea to make a list of everything you intend to take with you once you move, and things that will not be included in the sale. A fixture or fitting is something that has been affixed to the property, with the intention being that it remains there in perpetuity. A Seller may not consider their mirror, which has been affixed to a wall, to be considered a fixture. However Purchaser’s may see it as a lovely feature, and expect it to be there when they move in. If a Purchaser is made aware of what will remain on the property, and what will be removed, disputes regarding fixtures and fittings could be avoided.
Repairs – Any repairs attended to should be disclosed, as a potential relapse could be seen a latent defect. It may be a good idea to repaint the exterior of your house to make it more aesthetically appealing to potential buyers, but the cause to paint should not be to cover up any damp or cracks in the foundation. These defects should still be disclosed.
Certificates – It is essential to ensure that the municipal account with the Municipality is up to date, so as to avoid unreasonable delays with issuing the RCC. Any disputes with an account, or water readings should be taken up with the Municipality prior to selling, as if it is not done, the Municipality will not issue the required certificate.
An Electrical Wiring Certificate (or EWC) will be required, with borer, gas, and electric fence certificates possibly being required. These certificates, however, are often required to not be older than 3 months from date of sale. It is advisable to then not attend to these certificates too early. However inspections may be attended to, which will give the Seller an indication of what work will be required, and the costs associated therein. Please note that an inspection fee will be payable to every service provider for each and every inspection conducted, regardless of whether the specific service provider attends to the repairs or not.
It is also not common knowledge that certain appliances are not covered by the EWC. Stoves, ovens and even Jacuzzi’s are not covered by the EWC. A Seller should take steps to determine what will be covered by the EWC, and what they will need to ensure is in good and working order by other means.
Sectional Titles and Home Owners Associations – Any special levies should be disclosed to the Purchaser, who may then wish that all special levies be settled by the Seller prior to registration. The rules of the scheme/association should be handed to the Purchaser, so that they are fully aware of the rules of the scheme/association.
Municipal approved plans – It has become increasingly imperative that Seller’s have approved plans for their property. A Seller must ensure that all structures and outbuildings are on updated municipal approved plans. These can be obtained directly from the Municipality, and can be handed to the Agent prior to any Purchaser’s placing offers.
Title Deed conditions – A Seller must ensure that they have knowledge of, or a Conveyancer’s Certificate detailing all potential restrictive conditions which may apply to the property. Please take note that there are pivot deeds containing restrictive conditions, which may date back as far as one hundred years prior, and may still apply to the property.
The above is a summary of the common problems which arise in an average conveyancing transaction. To adequately ensure that the items are dealt with, one would need to insert and deal with same in the actual Offer to Purchase. For any queries, or more information regarding the above, please feel free to contact Sarah at Lawrence Masiza Vorster Inc on firstname.lastname@example.org.