A transparent willingness by the seller to opt for full disclosure of the condition of the home creates credibility for the seller and often helps facilitate the sales process, says John Graham CEO of HouseCheck.
“House inspections are necessary for both the sellers and the buyer,” says Graham. “Sellers benefit from an inspection before putting the house up for sale. A home survey inspection report helps the seller to understand the issues early. The seller can then work proactively to fix up the house.
Buyers, on the other hand, need to know the condition of the house – especially if they are buying voetstoots (‘as is’).”
Graham says that the objective for both seller and buyer is not a perfect house, but rather a factual understanding of the true condition of the property.
“Once the home inspection report has been done, the seller need not fix everything”, says Graham. “But with an inspection, both the seller and the buyer are able to make informed decisions. The seller will know what they are selling, and buyers will know what they are buying.”
Home inspection services in South Africa cost in a range roughly R2000 to R5000, depending on the size of the house,
Graham says that if the seller has not done a pre-listing inspection, then the best time for the buyer to have a house inspected is right after a conditional offer to purchase has been signed. Graham says that the buyer’s offer should always be contingent on a satisfactory home inspection. “The buyer should have the right to ‘walk away’ or renegotiate if the home inspection report reveals conditions which make the buyer unhappy.” Usually the buyer’s offer should include a 5-7 day period during which the inspection occurs.
If the inspection report reveals significant defects then the buyer and seller are able to negotiate about who would pay for repairs. The seller could also opt not to do the needed repairs and to rather sell “as is” – albeit at a different price.
If no agreement can be reached, a contingent offer gives the buyer the buyer the right to terminate the purchase contract and receive back any deposit paid, Graham said.
He added that with a good home inspection report, the post-inspection negotiation process usually works smoothly because both buyer and seller have access to the same factual information on the condition of the house.
Of course, conditional sales which are dependent on a satisfactory home inspection report, can usually be avoided if the seller is able to present potential buyers upfront with a credible and independent report, commissioned and paid for by the seller.
In the case of a repossessed house, or a house sold as part of an estate, an inspection should be conducted before a purchase contract is signed, because banks usually won’t agree to repairs or changes after the inspection. Such houses normally are sold voetstoots..