Consumers and the Property Practitioners Bill

Has the Property Practitioners Bill missed the point?

consumers

Are consumers offered more protection?

Parliament passed the new Property Practitioners Bill on Tuesday 4th December 2018. This bill has been on the cards before 2011!

The Bill was supposed to finally provide buyers (consumers) more protection in the secondary housing market.

However, it appears the Minister of Human Settlements and his staff and the National Assembly totally missed the point!

Here is that portion of the Bill:

CHAPTER 10

CONSUMER PROTECTION

Mandatory disclosure form

  1. A property practitioner –
    1. may not accept a mandate unless the seller or lessor of the property has provided him or her with a fully completed and signed mandatory disclosure in the prescribed form; and
    2. must provide a copy of the completed mandatory disclosure form to a prospective purchaser or lessee who intends to make an offer for the purchase or lease of a property.
  2. The completed mandatory disclosure form signed by all relevant parties must be attached to any agreement for the sale or lease of property and forms an integral part of that agreement, but if such a disclosure form was not completed, signed or attached, the agreement must be interpreted as if no defects or deficiencies of the property were disclosed to the purchaser.
  3. A property practitioner who fails to comply with subsection (1) may be held liable by any affected consumer.
  4. Nothing in this section prevents the Authority from taking action against a property practitioner or imposing an appropriate sanction.
  5. Nothing in this section prevents a consumer, for his or her own account, from undertaking a private property inspection to confirm the state of the property before finalising the transaction.

This is the protection this Bill offers to buyers (consumers) who buy properties from sellers.

So what has changed? Continue reading “Consumers and the Property Practitioners Bill”

About Property Inspection

property inspection and maintenance issues

About Home and Property Inspection In Gauteng

Property inspection and maintenance issues

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Having a property inspection advises you of the condition of the property before you buy it. In addition, an inspection makes you aware of the present maintenance problems and defects that may result in future maintenance problems. In other words, a property inspection helps you avoid problems and extra costs you have not budgeted for.

Different categories of a home inspection are available:

The most popular category of inspection is a Comprehensive Property Inspection or Comprehensive Home Inspection.

The following information explains what you need to know about the different types of property inspection that I can offer you.

A Home Inspection or Comprehensive Property Inspection

It’s one category of home inspection you can have done. Six different variations of comprehensive inspections are available.

  1. Home Buyers Inspection
  2. Snag Inspection
  3. Home Sellers Inspection
  4. Homeowner’s Maintenance Inspection
  5. Rental Inspection
  6. Commercial Property Inspection

Note: A property inspection report is different from a “pest inspection report”. A home inspection report will identify any visual damage caused by termites or wood borer. However, it usually won’t include a full report on the existence of termites or other timber destroying pests.

1) Home Buyers Inspection

Why do you need one?

A home inspection is your protection against the ‘voetstoots’ clause. Consequently, when you have made your purchase subject to a home inspection contingency, with a contingency period, you have this inspection done. Furthermore, a Buyer’s Property Inspection report is a written account, with photos, of the condition of the property. It will tell you about any significant building defects or problems such as rising damp, movement in the walls (cracking), safety hazards or a faulty roof to name a few. Accordingly, you would have this done as part of your condition of the sale so you can identify any problems with the property which, if left unchecked, could prove costly to repair.

Four good reasons why you need a buyer’s home inspection done:

  1. Protection against the voetstoots clause in your Offer to Purchase.
  2. You will know in advance what the problems are.
  3. This allows you to negotiate a lower price for the property i.e. you may have to pay to repair some of the problems.
  4. You can get specialist advice about any major problems and maintenance issues, and how they will affect the property over time.

Of course, the home inspection will be one of many things you will need to consider before buying a property.

2) New Property Inspection (snag inspection)

A snag or new property inspection and report cover the same items as a comprehensive property inspection report but it also includes more detail:

  1. A list of minor problems
  2. Recommendation of the repairs and replacement work needed.

What is a snag?

A snag is a small defect or problem that remains on your property after the building work has been completed. Therefore, it is typically something that is damaged or broken, not fitted properly or looks unfinished. Some examples are a scratch on a window, a missing screw in a hinge on a door or a chipped tile.

Most snags are cosmetic. However, more serious defects can arise from poor workmanship such as cracks, hollow floor tiles, kitchen, cupboard, plumbing and electrical fixtures that are not fitted properly.

When’s the best time to make a snagging list?

When the property is completely finished and ready to move into. At this stage, you have not moved in so that there is no furniture or stored items that may hide or cover defects.

If you leave it until you have moved in, it becomes harder as your housebuilder could argue that you have caused the damage when you moved in. In addition, it is also easier for contractors to work in an empty property for obvious reasons.

However, the builder/developer can refuse to give you access to the property before completion, which they are legally allowed to do because they still own the property.

Leaving your snag list to be rectified after you have taken occupation of your unit or home can be problematic. This may cause the disruption of your time if you have to be present while the builder rectifies the defects. Furthermore, the builder may have moved on to the next phase of housing or to another completely new development.

However, you do have 3 months from your occupation date to report any defects and maintenance problems to your builder/developer which they are legally obliged to fix as part of your NHBRC warranty.

3) Home Seller’s Inspection

A seller’s inspection (sometimes referred to as a pre-listing inspection) is becoming more popular because it virtually eliminates all the pitfalls and hassles associated with having the buyer do the home inspection.

This is an effective marketing tool allowing your estate agent and prospective buyers to access the report on the internet.

You share multiple copies of the report with potential buyers who tour the home for sale. Alternatively, the report can be hosted at  www.FetchReport.com. A sellers inspection is a benefit to all parties in a real estate transaction. It is a win-win-win-win situation.

A sellers inspection doesn’t kill deals by forcing you to disclose defects you otherwise wouldn’t have known about. Any defect that is serious enough to kill a real estate transaction is likely going to be uncovered eventually anyway. It is best to discover the problem ahead of time before it can kill the deal.

The inspection report becomes a great marketing piece if your property is truly in great shape. In addition, I provide you with a banner to place at the entrance to your home which certifies that your home is “Move-In Ready”.

A Seller’s Inspection reveals problems ahead of time, which:

  1. Might make the home show better.
  2. Gives you time to make repairs and shop for competitive contractors.
  3. Permits you to attach repair estimates or paid invoices to the inspection report.
  4. Removes over-inflated buyer-procured estimates from the negotiation table.
  5. The report might alert you to any immediate safety issues found, before agents and visitors tour the home.
  6. The report provides a third-party, unbiased opinion to offer to potential buyers.
  7. Your estate agent can use a clean seller inspection report as a marketing tool.
  8. A sellers inspection is the ultimate gesture in forthrightness on your part.
  9. The report might relieve a prospective buyer’s unfounded suspicions before they walk away.
  10. A sellers inspection lightens negotiations and 11th-hour re-negotiations.
  11. The report might encourage the buyer to waive the inspection contingency.
  12. The deal is less likely to fall apart, the way they often do, when a buyer’s inspection unexpectedly reveals a last-minute problem.

The report also provides full-disclosure protection from future legal claims.

4) Home Owners Maintenance Inspection

A maintenance inspection is an ideal inspection for newer homeowners and busy homeowners who don’t have the experience or the time to maintain their homes themselves. Furthermore, this type of inspection is especially suited for older or physically handicapped homeowners who, nevertheless, want to know what their home’s condition is. It’s the home’s equivalent of a medical checkup.

A Home Maintenance Inspection gives you a full picture of any below-the-radar repairs that need to be completed before they become major repairs.

What is a home maintenance inspection?

A Home Maintenance Inspection is a comprehensive inspection just like home buyers or sellers inspection.

I will uncover problems you have not noticed. Furthermore, I will detect the little signs that something is starting to go wrong. This may be small cracks, spots, uneven wear, or fixtures such as a faulty geyser installation. In addition, I will also make you aware of the regular maintenance you should be doing in your house.

Like an annual physical, my maintenance inspection catches maintenance issues early on. Therefore, a maintenance inspection can give you the peace of mind of a clean bill of health. Moreover, it’s a practical way to keep little problems from turning into big problems.

What happens during a home maintenance inspection?

I will inspect your home with you, showing you what I find and explaining what it means. You will have a chance to ask questions or get clarifications. Moreover, I will point out things you should be doing regularly to keep all of your home’s systems functioning properly.

Furthermore, you’ll get a written report detailing everything I have found. It will be an itemized punch list to address whenever you choose or have the finances available to do maintenance.

What are the advantages of having a home maintenance inspection?

Once every three to five years, you should have me come out and do a maintenance inspection.

  1. I detect minor defects can be repaired before they become major issues.
  2. You receive an unbiased opinion. I have no gain out of the evaluation of things that need repair (e.g., your roof or foundation).
  3. If you do suspect something is in disrepair, it’s wise to call me before you call a repair company. Repair companies have a vested interest in getting work. As a result, you have to careful in accepting what they say requires repair or replacement.

I am not trying to sell you anything.  Furthermore, I’m not getting commissions out of repairs that need to be done. All I sell is the truth!

Rental Inspection

A home inspection is vital to ensure that the interests of both the landlord and tenant are protected.

The property inspection can be used to check the condition of the property to identify new issues. Furthermore, rental inspections will provide useful evidence if problems or disputes arise later on.

Initial, midterm and follow-up inspections when tenants are leaving and new tenants are occupying the premises are very affordable.

Commercial Property Inspection

Whether you are considering buying or renting a commercial property it advisable to have a Commercial Property Inspection. As part of your “due diligence”, I can provide you with a detailed evaluation of the building and its components. Furthermore, I will advise you of the overall condition and make recommendations regarding maintenance and improvements.

Choosing the right inspector to inspect the property

You should always use a suitably certified home inspector. A Certified Professional Inspector and a member of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) is the best choice. An InterNACHI certified inspector will see through any cosmetic improvements covering up faults that might otherwise be missed by an untrained eye. I am your local Certified Professional Inspector in Gauteng.

Contents of my property inspection reports

The format and amount of detail in my report will depend on your property type, its size, age and condition. As a result, these factors will also influence the cost of my inspection and report.

My home inspection reports adopt a standard format recommended by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. In addition, all my reports include marked-up photographs.

My home inspection report will include the information to make you aware of the property’s condition and identify any significant problems.

However, a home inspection report is generally a visual inspection only. Therefore, problems that are hidden inside walls and inaccessible areas may not be identified. Also, most deliberately disguised or hidden defects leave clues which can be detected.

General information

I inspect all accessible parts of the property. These include the following areas:

  • all the interior of the building
  • the exterior of the building
  • roof space and roof structure
  • under-floor space (if it exists)
  • roof exterior
  • the site.

The site

My home inspection report includes the following:

  • garage, carport and garden shed
  • separate laundry or toilet
  • small retaining walls (ie. non-structural)
  • steps
  • fencing and boundary walls
  • surface water drainage
  • stormwater run-off
  • paving and driveways.

Make sure you specify any particular items or areas on the site that you want to have inspected.

Other details in the inspection report

The report includes the following information:

  • your name
  • the address of the inspected property
  • the reason for the inspection
  • date of the inspection
  • the scope of the inspection
  • a summary of the overall condition of the property
  • a list of any significant problems that need fixing
  • if necessary, a recommendation that a further inspection or assessment be carried out by a suitably qualified specialist. This can be a suitably qualified electrician, plumber, roofing contractor, structural engineer etc.

The inspection report summary

The summary is possibly the most important part of the report. It lists the major faults found in the property and its condition considering its age and type.

Things not included in a property inspection

A home inspection report usually will not include:

  • parts of the property that were not or could not be inspected
  • matters outside my expertise
  • an estimate of repair costs
  • minor defects (chipped paint, corners or tiles unless they are structural issues)
  • termite detection.

A home inspection report is not an all-encompassing report dealing with every aspect of the property. Therefore, it’s a report to identify any major and minor problems that are visible at the time of the inspection. In addition, the extent of any problem will depend to a large extent upon the age and type of property.

While the report will give you valuable expert advice, it will not cover everything. To clarify, this is explained by the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors’ Standards of Practice.

I normally would not check things such as:

  • foundation footings (below the ground, cannot be inspected visually)
  • hidden damp-proofing
  • concealed electrical wiring. However, I do inspect lights, switches, plug points and distribution boards
  • concealed plumbing, drainage and gas installations
  • watering systems
  • alarm and intercom systems
  • appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, tumble dryers, ducted vacuum systems or hot plates (stoves, hobs and extractors are inspected)
  • television reception

Sectional title properties

With sectional title properties, I inspect and assess the condition of the interior and immediate exterior of the unit. I also include the exclusive use areas in my report. If you want me to inspect other common property areas you will need to request a ‘special-purpose’ or ‘single component’ property inspection report.

Minor defects

Most older properties will have minor defects such as blemishes and physical damage to materials and finishes. Therefore, with older houses, I would not normally report on minor defects, minor wear and tear, and minor imperfections. I will only report minor defects if the property is a new home or building.

Factors affecting the inspection report

There are certain conditions you should be aware of that will affect the final report.

These include:

  • problems that are difficult to detect due to weather or other conditions. These conditions can be rising damp or leaks if there has not been any rain
  • the information you provide to the home inspector
  • defects that are deliberately covered up to make an area appear problem-free.

It may be difficult to detect leaks and other problems if services have not been used for some time. For example, if the shower has not been used recently or if it has not rained recently, leaks or dampness may not be obvious. However, even under these conditions, there are normally many clues of such defects that I will detect and report.

Using the inspection report for other purposes

Your property inspection is carried out specifically for your information. It gives you an expert’s view of the condition of the property you are interested in buying.

It is not a certificate of compliance with any law, warranty or insurance policy against future problems. Nor is it intended to estimate the cost of fixing problems. However, with my report, you will be able to get a rough estimate of the repair cost.

Ordering an inspection

Depending on my workload I will need a minimum of 1½ days notice to do a property inspection.

When ordering your home inspection, make sure you give yourself enough time to make a purchase decision. Also, you should get the seller’s permission to have the property inspected as early in the sale negotiations as possible. This will help you decide if the property is worth buying. There may be little point in spending money on conveyancing until you know the condition of the property.

Other types of inspection reports

Different types of property inspections and property inspection reports  are  available depending on your requirements:

Walkthrough Inspections

Walkthrough inspections are for you if you don’t, at this point, want a full home or commercial property inspection.  This type of inspection can be performed with you, or for you, if you live elsewhere, and you need nothing more than subjective observations. 

Therefore, a walk-through is less formal and does not require me to adhere to a Standards of Practice or to generate a written report.  I will perform a visual walk-through of the home and provide you with oral or written comments summarizing my observations.

This type of inspection costs far less than a Comprehensive or Critical Home Inspection and about half (50%) the cost of a comprehensive inspection and report. Again, the cost depends on where the property is in my inspection area.

Single Component or Itemised Limited Inspection

I often receive calls from clients who are looking for a home inspection for a single component in the home. For instance, this can be a roof leak, a bulging ceiling, or damp problems and so on.

My itemised limited inspection and report is also the cheapest inspection. This inspection costs R1500.00 depending on where you are in my inspection area. Moreover, if you want adittional components inspected at the same time, this will only cost an additional R750.00 per component.

However, if I need to travel further than 5 kilometres to the inspection an additional charge may be applicable.

Critical Property Inspection

This is the home inspection for the budget-conscious!  Comparatively, Critical Home Inspections costs about ¾ of the price of a Comprehensive Property Inspection.

A critical home inspection covers the major components which are the roof, structure, windows and doors, electrical and plumbing.

Damp and Mould Inspection

You should have a mould inspection when you suspect you might have a mould problem in your property. Furthermore, have your property inspected when you experience breathing difficulties (shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, or respiratory irritation). In addition, you may also experience neurological difficulties (headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, sleep loss, nausea).

If your house has obvious mould contamination such as parts of the wall or ceiling, an inspection is essential. My mould inspection will identify and confirm the true extent of the problem. Furthermore, I will provide recommendations on how to rectify it.

Building Progress Inspection

When you are building your own home or alterations and extensions are being constructed you need progress inspections.

No matter how big or small I can help you.

Give yourself that extra peace of mind by contacting me to supervise your project.

I inspect each step during the construction process step to ensure that there is no sub-standard building. Furthermore, I will check whether the correct ratios of the different mixes are used. I will ensure that levels and depths of foundations are correct, walls are built straight, plumb and square according to the construction drawings.

My services are not limited to building construction. I can assist in ensuring the correct standard of electrical SABS installations and plumbing regulations are followed

I can inspect the building site on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis or on a call-out basis, where I check only on key points of your building project so that you have peace of mind that your investment is getting built to the standards required by the South African Building Regulations.

Furthermore, pricing is negotiable depending on the number of inspections you require.

Pest inspection report

My Pest Home Inspection report identifies any visual damage caused by termite activity. However, it won’t include the detection of whether termites and other timber destroying pests still exist.

You should have a pest inspection done as well as the property inspection.  A pest inspection is necessary where termites are a problem.

Fixing problems after having a home inspection

If you end up buying the property you may need to organise repairs or renovations before you move in. If this is the case, there are some important things you should know.

When using a builder or tradesperson for work where the value is over R1,000 the builder or tradesperson must:

  • be correctly licensed for the work they are doing.
  • provide you with a written contract where the value of work (labour and materials) is over R1,000.00.
  • issue or provide you with certificates of compliance or conformity for electrical, electric fencing, plumbing and gas installations. This applies to any repair or change made to the installation. Furthermore, you must obtain an occupation certificate from the builder for extensions and renovations.

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THE HOME DETECTIVE » Inspections » Property Inspection

Report Example

inspection reports

Home Inspection Reports

inspection reports are no longer checklists, they are descriptive reports with narratives
A sample of the first page of a comprehensive inspection report produced for clients. The report includes marked-up photos

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What to expect from an inspection report

Home inspection reports have changed to accommodate increased consumer expectations. As a result, reports advanced from being checklists to provide more extensive narratives and photos for the client’s information.

Development of Standards

Prior to the mid-1970s, inspection reports followed no standard guidelines. Without minimum standards to follow, the quality of inspection reports varied widely. As a result, the public viewed the home inspection industry with suspicion.

A Standard of Practice became available with the founding of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) in 1976. This provided home inspection guidelines governing inspection reports. Later, a second trade association, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), was established. InterNACHI developed its own Standards of Practice and a Code of Ethics.

Today InterNACHI dominates the inspection industry worldwide. In addition to its Residential Standards of Practice, it developed the only comprehensive Standards of Practice for Commercial Properties. most types of inspection from mould to fire door use InterNACHI’s Standards of Practice.

Inspection Reports

My inspection reports describe the major home systems, their crucial components, and their operability. This is especially important in those which can result in failure in dangerous or expensive-to-correct conditions. I describe defects effectively and my report includes recommendations.

My inspection reports also disclaim portions of the home hidden from view. These include areas below ground and floors and behind wall and ceiling coverings. Home inspections are visual inspections

I also note conditions that require a specialist inspection.

Home inspections are not technically exhaustive, so I will not dismantle a furnace to examine the heat exchanger.

The Standards of Practice describe the requirements and limitations of a home inspection.

Checklist and Narrative Reports

Originally home inspection reports consisted of a simple checklist, or a one- or a two-page narrative report.

Checklist inspection reports contain almost no writing. The report is a series of boxes with short or abbreviated descriptions. They might consist of only two or three words, such as “peeling paint”. The entire checklist might only be four or five pages long.

Because of the lack of detailed information, checklist inspection reports are open to interpretation. As a result, buyers, sellers, agents, contractors, attorneys, and judges may each interpret the information differently, depending on their experience or motives.

Narratives are phrases that describe conditions found during an inspection. Narrative reports use reporting language that completely describes each condition. In addition, I don’t abbreviate descriptions.

Some inspectors still use checklist inspection reports. Many countries are banning checklist reports because the limited information they offer has resulted in legal problems.

I produce narrative reports because they are safer and superior as they provide clearer information.

Development of Reporting Software

Handwritten reports are no longer the norm. As computers became simpler to operate and more affordable, inspection software began to appear on the market.

With inspection reporting software, I can choose from a large number of organised narratives. I edit or add the narratives in order to accommodate local conditions and the property.

Using narrative software I can produce a very detailed report in a relatively short time.

Standard disclaimers automatically appear in each report.

Narrative Content

Narratives normally consist of three parts:

  • A description of a condition of concern.
  • Sentences or paragraph describing how serious the condition is, and the potential ramifications.
  • A recommendation.

I recommend specific actions or further evaluation necessary. However, recommendations address problems in such a way that you will know how to proceed.

Report Content

Inspection reports often begin with an informational section that gives general information about the home. This includes the client’s name, contact details, weather conditions, and whether the property is occupied and furnished.

Other information listed are disclaimers

My comprehensive inspection reports include a summary report, listing major problems. As a result, you won’t miss important issues. It’s important that you are aware of safety issues or conditions that are expensive to correct. I colour code narrative headings with this in mind.

Furthermore, inspection reports include photographs in the main body of the report, below the narrative that describes them.

A table of contents is also provided.

I break down the systems of the property into sections and areas in the report. These can be “ELECTRICAL,” “PLUMBING”, “HEATING”, “EXTERIOR”, “INTERIOR”, etc., or by area of the home: “KITCHEN”, “BEDROOMS”, etc.

Sample Inspection report

Finally, you can find out more by:

The link below features an example of a comprehensive Home Buyer’s Inspection Report with the buyer’s permission. Every defect in the home was noted with narratives and photographs. Furthermore, acceptable finishes and elements of the home are also included in the report.

805 Kingfisher Road

I inspect properties in most areas of the northern part of Gauteng and part of the North West Province.

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THE HOME DETECTIVE » Inspections » Property Inspection

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