Political uncertainty and economic instability have limited growth in the South African property market, but it remains one of the safest investments a person can undertake in times like these.  And according to experts, now is a very good time to make such an investment in the Garden Route area.

However, to buy a property (especially for the first time) can turn into a very complicated and intimidating process.  Herewith a handy list of questions that you should ask when you consider buying a property.

Before you start house hunting:

• Have yourself pre-qualified at your bank in order to determine the bond amount for which you qualify.  It will save you a lot of time if you disregard all the properties you can’t afford.

• Take rates, taxes and levies (if applicable), as well as maintenance on the property into consideration when you look at affordability.

• Get a quote from an attorney for transfer and bond registration fees.  Remember that these funds are required prior to the registration of the property into your name.

When you have found the ‘perfect’ property:

• Does the agent/agency have a Fidelity Fund Certificate from the EAAB?  Does this agency have a good reputation?

• Is the Purchase Price market related? Request the Municipal Valuation and comparative market analysis to see how the price was determined.

• How long has the property been in the market and is the price negotiable?

• Has any major work or renovations been done on the property?  Were the plans updated afterwards?

• Are there approved plans for all structures on the property?  Make sure that this is specifically mentioned in the sale agreement.

• What exactly is included in the transaction (think of stoves, light fittings, pool pumps) – insist that everything being removed is documented in the sales agreement.

• Are there any defects?  If the seller is aware of such defects, it must be disclosed in the sales agreement.

• Does the seller have any objections to a home inspection by a qualified building inspector?  If not, why?  This may have cost implications for the Purchaser, but in the long run might save you a lot of money.  Any flaws discovered at this stage, may affect the asking price.

• When do the sellers intend to vacate the property?  Make sure the occupational rental is market related.

• Ask specifically if there are problems with noise pollution or with the neighbours.

• Insist on a fresh electrical and beetle certificate, as well as gas certificate, if applicable.

• Make sure you understand the entire Offer to Purchase.  Rather get professional help if you have concerns or if there are uncertainties.

For further information on this or any other property related issues, please contact Maryke Landman at Rauch Gertenbach Ing in George or Jaco Fourie and Paul Delport in Mossel Bay at 044 601 9900.


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