A home inspection is a useful tool to guide buyers, sellers and agents involved in property transactions. Each professional will use their own checklist to assess the areas of a home where problems may (or may not) arise and which might have to be dealt with either before a property goes on the market or before a sale can be concluded.
“Professional home inspections are a way of making sure that no expensive and stressful surprises jump out at either the seller or the buyer,” explains Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa. “The first compulsory set of home inspections occurs after an Offer To Purchase has been signed. The seller needs to acquire the necessary certificates of compliance (CoCs) to show that the home meets the minimum standard for safety. This includes an electrical, plumbing, gas (if your property has any gas installations), and beetle compliance certificates that will need to be issued before the sale can go through,” Goslett explains.
In addition to this, buyers might want to arrange an additional home inspection where a certified property assessment practitioner inspects the property for any major structural defects including and not limited to the roof, foundations, plumbing, sewerage, interior exterior including the pool.
According to RE/MAX of Southern Africa, the general defects, faults or failings to check for include:
- The roof for leaks or cracks or structural issues
- All electrical systems and wiring
- The plumbing system for water pressure issues or leaks, including the swimming pool (if you have one)
- The sewage system on your property, septic, conservancy tank (or whatever sewerage disposal system applies) to make sure there are no blockages or leaks
- The foundations for cracks, bulges, flooding, and dampness
- Wet walls and any mould or problems with tiling
- If your house has excess water that needs to be pumped away, you will need to declare this and appropriate information about your pump/drainage system.
- Check for structural defects associated with the property boundary. Is there a disagreement between you (or anyone else) about the boundary lines of your property? Does anything encroach on the property? If so, what?
- If you have made alterations, extended or built more structures on your property, were these properly approved by the council?
- Has the property or any part of it been declared a historic monument or a heritage site?
“Good real estate professionals will also go the extra mile for all their clients,” says Goslett. “They want everybody involved in the transaction to be happy, and for everything to go as smoothly as possible. This means that they’ll do their own home checks before handing over the keys to ensure that their clients do not walk into any surprises.”
Before listing a home, Goslett says that a good agent should do the following:
- Walk through the property and open all doors, windows and cupboards to check for faults
- Flush toilets and run taps to check the water pressure
- Switch on all lights and lamps to check for blown bulbs
- Check that there are working keys for all doors and / or locks
“If faults are found, they’ll list them and discuss them with the seller. If the seller chooses not to repair the faults or sort out problems, they will make sure that they are listed on the property defects disclosure form before all parties sign an OTP. Before handing over the keys to new owners, agents should also visit the property to double-check that all repairs were taken care of and to ensure that the home was cleaned and is ready for its new owners. Doing this will help ensure that all clients have a positive experience and will be more likely to work with you the next time they buy or sell,” says Goslett.