Critical Home Seller Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
By Kay Pascale.
Selling your home is one of the most important life-changing decisions you’ll make. Moreover, it’s both personal and financial, and the stress of the home sale process can leave you open to some critical, and costly, mistakes. Here are a few common mistakes and how to avoid them.
Choosing the Wrong Real Estate Agents
The second most ill-advised choice, beyond trying to sell your own house, is the wrong choice of estate agents. As a result, properly-vetted estate agents, with proven sales records, can help you with many of the costly legal requirements of property transfer as well as avoiding the myriad of pitfalls of a poorly marketed home. Therefore, consult several local estate agents and ask each how they would market your home. Also, ask for a comparative marketing analysis that would give you the values of homes in your area.
Part of a successful home sale is the attractive staging of the property. In addition, decluttering your home will allow the potential buyer to visualize themselves in the home. Putting your extra clutter from the garage, attic, and even some of the main rooms of your home in storage will make your home feel more spacious to the buyer.
In addition, small upgrades like fresh paint and home repairs are necessary to secure the best price for your home. The basics of home maintenance give the buyer confidence in your home as their choice. Also, keeping your home picture-perfect and ready at a moment’s notice for a showing can greatly improve the likelihood of a successful and quick sale. A well-staged home ready for viewing will get the most potential buyers for your home.
Your House Too High
Pricing your home too high is one of the costliest and time-delaying mistakes. Too high a price can turn off buyers and delay the sale of your home. As a result, each subsequent lowering of your sale price will put you in a more vulnerable position in negotiating an optimum home sale price.
Giving a 90-Day Notice
One of the legal pitfalls that good estate agents can help you avoid is not giving a 90-day notice of cancellation to the bank. This is a costly mistake since it results in a penalty of 1% on the remaining balance on the bond for the full 90 days.
When Estate Agents Should Insist On An Independent Inspection
The EAAB (Estate Agents Affairs Board) encourages buyers to have a home inspection. However, which buyer ever reads the articles on the EAAB’s website? Maybe estate agents read the articles and the EAAB encourages estate agents to advise buyers to have an independent property inspection?
Most estate agents prefer not to have an independent property inspection, mostly because of concerns over defects that may make the sale fall through and because of the cost involved.
Estate agents should know better! Insisting on an independent property inspection may save the agent from strained relationships with both sellers and buyers. Furthermore, an independent inspection will prevent damage to their reputation or possibly even costly liability later on, should problems occur with the condition of the property.
An independent home or property inspection doesn’t kill a deal by forcing sellers to disclose defects that they wouldn’t otherwise have known about. Any defect that is serious enough to kill a real estate transaction is best discovered before it can kill the deal or result in litigation at a later stage.
Buying property is an exciting and significant decision. However, obtaining a home loan also remains one of the biggest financial decisions of your life.
Where to start
When buying property, you must do your homework first. Numerous estate agencies have open houses in various areas every weekend, and some even during the week. You will get a feel for the sizes that suit your needs. You also get insight into your choice of area. Think about accessibility to work, public transport, schooling and other amenities.
Keep in mind that location is of great importance, especially to secure your investment for the future. It may also affect your loan approval.
Viewing a few homes in different areas will help you to know exactly what type of property you can afford. It’s not only the home loan instalment you will be paying. You need to factor into your budget costs such as bond and transfer fees, insurance and municipal costs when buying property.
What costs to factor inbuying property
Make sure that you are aware of the process and all associated costs when buying a home. Ask your estate agent for help if you are uncertain. Get a bank pre-approval, so that you know which bond amount you would qualify for. This will also assist in your home buying.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to forget about the cash funds needed in home buying. On approval of the loan, you will start receiving invoices from the attorneys. This is when you realise that you will need additional funds. This could put a damper on the excitement of owning your property.
A reputable estate agent will provide you with the information you need to prevent any unforeseen costs.
If you qualify, some of the home loan products will allow you a larger loan without paying a deposit. Others require the security of investing by having an upfront amount.
Also, be aware of other once-off costs that you will have to pay, over and above the deposit. These include initiation and administration fees, legal costs, bond registration fees, VAT or transfer duty. And a home inspection!
Making the offerwhen buying property
Consider the sale prices of similar houses in the neighbourhood for the past year, as well as the current market situation. Your estate agent will assist you with this information and advise you to ensure you make the right choice. This will give you a good estimate of what you should expect to pay.
The general condition of the house is also an important pricing factor in buying property.
Take into consideration maintenance in or around the building.
Ask for building plans. If there have been extensions or alterations done, they should be on updated, approved building plans. If they are not up to date, insist that they are updated by the seller!
What should you do once you have made up your mind to sign an offer to purchase with the seller?
At this stage, when buying property, be sure to add an inspection contingency and time frame to the contract. Only then make an offer!
The importance of a home inspection is paramount. How else will you determine the actual condition of the home?
Applying for a home loan
When applying for a home loan, you will need the following documents:
A signed offer to purchase.
Proof of income.
A South African bar-coded or Smart Card identification document.
Proof of current residential address, such as a municipal account, Telkom account or valid TV license.
Salary earners need to include a recent salary slip.
Bank statements for the last six months.
Once you have all your documentation, the approval process begins, and you will receive approval in principle (AIP). This usually takes five to seven working days.
The bank will then arrange an appointment with the seller to do a full valuation of the property. This ensures that your investment is sound and that your home choice is at market value.
The property buying transfer process
Once the seller has signed the sale agreement you need to obtain a home loan. On approval of the home loan, the conveyancer (transferring attorney) to start the administration process. The transfer is processed as follows:
The seller has the choice of appointing a conveyancer, who will obtain FICA (ID and proof of residence) of both parties.
The conveyancer then applies for the seller’s bond cancellation figures. Thereafter, the bank sends the original Title Deed to the bond cancellation attorneys.
After their preparation by the conveyancer, you and the seller sign the transfer documents.
The conveyancer then requests a rates clearance certificate from the local authorities and municipality to ensure that all the seller’s rates and taxes are paid up to date.
The bond attorney contacts the conveyancer and advises the amount available for guarantees.
They then request the draft transfer deed and guarantee requirements. The bond attorney is requested to cancel the seller’s home loan on receipt of a guarantee for the outstanding amount.
When buying property, if the property price is above R1,000,000 you then pay the South African Revenue Services (SARS) transfer duty, a tax levied on property transfers. The conveyancer will request a transfer duty receipt on SARS e-filing and also make the payment of the transfer duty on your behalf.
The conveyancer then lodges all the required documents, together with the new bond and the old bond cancellation, with the Deeds Office.
After 8 to 10 working days for these to be examined and, provided there are no changes, the transaction is registered. You are then the rightful owner of the property!