Wise sellers have their property Move In Certified!
You will probably be selling your house with the “Voetstoots Clause” in the Offer to Purchase. But, if you think you are fully protected against any comebacks for latent defects you are wrong!
Under the law, you have a duty to disclose the defects on the property that you are aware of. Your agent may also point out defects that need to be corrected.
If you don’t disclose those defects you may be liable to pay for the correction of the defects after the property has been sold.
As a home seller, you should have your home “Move-in Certified”! Move-in certified homes sell better, faster and for higher prices!
Besides being a great marketing tool, the seller’s home inspection report is also the “Seller’s Disclosure”. This safeguards you against any later legal action that the buyer may want to bring against you for both latent and patent defects!
Do the wise thing, have your home inspected before you sell it!
Put a Home Inspection Contingency in Your “Offer to Purchase”
Home Inspection Contingencies
If you don’t believe in having a home inspection you should realise that your investment is at risk. In reality, a home inspection contingency is your only safeguard where the voetstoots clause forms part of the sales price and contract.
In South Africa, the voetstoots clause is part of the purchase contract in most of the property sales. But, unfortunately, you will not find any home inspection contingencies in any purchase contracts.
You may not consider that a home inspection contingency is a big deal! In that case, ask yourself why a seller will refuse to consider your offer that contains a home inspection contingency. It has occurred to some of my clients! I told them to consider it a lucky escape!
In addition, a seller selling a house below market value most probably has serious defects. Don’t fall for reasons like the seller is leaving for overseas or retiring to the coast.
A home inspection contingency should be added as part of the purchase contract when you have a home inspection. It means you can cancel the sale or try to negotiate repairs based on the results of the inspection.
In most instances, you should negotiate for at least a week to conduct a home inspection. The time can be shortened or increased during offer negotiations.
An example of a home inspection contingency
“The Buyers’ offer is contingent upon a satisfactory inspection within 7 (or _____ ) working days. Upon receipt of the results of such inspection, the Buyers may request in writing at any time within the agreed period that the Sellers make certain repairs or that the Sellers reduce the sales price to compensate for such defect(s). Such a request to repair or reduce the price does not terminate the contract and the Sellers shall have _____ days from receipt of such request to agree to make such repairs or reduce the sales price. If the Sellers do not agree, the Buyers shall have _____ days to waive the contingency and accept the property “as-is” or to declare the contract null and void. “
The contingency expiry date
The minimum time period you should try and negotiate is 7 working days from acceptance of your offer. At a squeeze, 5 working days may be sufficient if there are no serious problems, but it puts a lot of pressure on everyone!
Setting the date that a home inspection contingency should be released depends on the contingency you negotiate with the seller. It may not automatically expire unless you take a specific action such as signing a contingency release. That is if a release is part of the contingency agreement. Therefore, if it expires before you have it inspected, you lose the right to have the home inspected.
When your sales contract has a home inspection contingency, it is important to conduct the inspection as soon as possible. I may recommend that you call a roofing contractor to do further investigation of a problem in the ceiling space. But, for example, you might have to contact several roofing contractors before finding someone available in the time frame you need.
Therefore, it is very important to keep the seller and agent in the picture of what is happening. Furthermore, you should advise the seller on your decision to continue or to negotiate a better sales price or whether you intend to withdraw from the purchase contract before the expiry date. If you don’t, you may have to honour the conditions of the sale.
Types of Home Inspections
A home inspection involves many components, which are primarily structural and visual. However, if I discover defects beyond my area of expertise, I will recommend that you consult an expert.
For example, if the home’s water pressure is low, I will recommend an inspection by a licensed plumber. There could be a blockage the water supply system, or the plumbing pipes could be corroded. I may not be able to identify such defects by noticing the low water pressure. If I recommend further inspections in the report, you may wish to call a specialist for advice.
This is also why an inspection contingency and the time period is so important! It gives you time for specialist inspections if they are required!
Specialist inspections may include any of the following:
Disclaimer: This inspection contingency article is intended for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Real estate procedures and documents may vary. Consult a real estate professional or lawyer in your area if you have specific questions about this subject.
Home sellers should prepare for the likelihood of a home inspection in advance. Moreover, getting ready your house ready for a home inspection helps to prevent delays and can prevent surprises. Also, a seller doesn’t need a home inspector breaking fixtures or cause damage because the seller was ill-prepared.
In South Africa, the seller is required by law to providefull disclosure of the condition of the property. However, the buyer usually pays for his or her home inspection.
Whether you’ve decided to produce a seller’s home inspection report for buyers or expecting the buyer’s home inspector to show up for a buyers inspection, the best thing is to be well prepared.
1) Clean the house and swimming pool
You should always try to create a good first impression. Notably, clean homes and pools are an indication of how you maintain the house and property.
Don’t underestimate the importance of making a good impression. Don’t make the mistake of thinking inspectors see past stuff.
2)The Inspector will be on time
You can expect the home inspector to be on time. Therefore, if an inspector makes an appointment with you for 9:30 am, have the house ready for inspection at 9 am.
I posted on my blog, in November last year, about damp walls that arise as a result not having gutters on your home to control the flow of rainwater off your roof.
On Saturday I inspected a four-year-old property that had a
one tile overhang on the roof, no gutters but had paving surrounding the house.
However, the external walls of the house were in a desperate state because of the three most destructive mistakes architects, developers, builders and homeowners make!
As a result, I’m going to repeat part of the issues mentioned in my blog again!
Damp walls caused by no gutters
Gutters collect the rainwater runoff from the roof, discharging it into downpipes which conveys the rainwater away from the house in a controlled manner. In addition, they also protect the timber roof structure at the eaves of the house. Furthermore, gutters protect the exterior walls, windows and doors of the house and its foundation from damp and potential damage.
The splashing up against the walls was the most serious cause of the penetrating damp on the walls of the house. Moreover, the crazing cracking (spiderweb-like fine cracking) in the plasterwork was the main indicator of the penetrating damp caused splashing up of rainwater. No cracking was observed higher up on the walls.
Even if your house has a reduced overhang at the eaves, gutters will still provide the required protection against heavy rain and wind storms your house may be subjected to.
Insufficient roof overhang at the eaves
Roofs with no gutters which have a two-tile
overhang (600mm in the case of a metal roof) or less will allow water to pour
from the roof close to the walls, windows and doors and the foundation.
Seals that are broken, pulling away, missing or which are damaged as a result of ageing or long-term weather exposure will cause windows and doors to leak. Furthermore, the sealant or window putty used to seal the glazing beads on wooden windows may crack and allow moisture into the gazed areas of your windows. In addition, when the glazing putty on your steel windows cracks or a section falls out moisture will corrode the steel window frame.
These are the most obvious areas where leakages occur!
However, the most undetected area for leaks at windows is the junction between the window frame and the brickwork, plasterwork and window sill. As a matter of fact, it is one of the most common defects that I have found in both new and older homes.
There are multiple ways to detect leaks around your windows and doors: