OTP should have home inspection as default

An estate agent called me the other day to say that his buyer was asking for a home inspection report as a condition of sale.  “I hope that this doesn’t cost me the deal” the agent confided anxiously.

“Almost certainly not”, I reassured him.  “HouseCheck takes the view that no house is perfect.”  I explained that HouseCheck documents defects unemotionally and in context without making mountains out of molehills.   I said that in the unlikely event that our inspector found major concerns with the house and the buyer pulled out of the deal as a result, then, at least, the agent’s credibility would not have suffered – he would likely still keep the buyer as a client and he could then show this buyer other options.

I’m going to let you in on a secret that there is a very simple way for estate agencies wanting to do the right thing by both sellers and buyers and at the same time maintain their professional credibility.

Here is the secret – make the voetstoots clause AND a home inspection clause the default positions in the estate agency’s pre-printed offer to purchase (OTP) documentation.

The wording of this default clause should be along these lines: “This property is sold voetstoots but is subject to the buyer being satisfied with a home inspection report arranged for and paid for by the buyer within seven days of acceptance by the seller of the offer to purchase.  Delete and initial if not applicable.”

John Graham is the CEO of national home inspection company HouseCheck.  He campaigns for bringing increased fairness to the South African real estate world by ensuring greater transparency and openness between agents, buyers and sellers.     A large percentage of home buyers in South Africa are first time buyers and Graham believes that the best way to protect the consumer rights of these novice buyers is to encourage the use of professional home inspections to ensure that buyers are properly informed.  Graham can be contacted at 083 3109 766 or at john@housecheck.co.za

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