Buying a house is an exciting event and the excitement can lead to a few oversights such as forgetting the part where you need to inspect it to make sure everything’s perfect! Most people are satisfied with a simple glance through the house – they walk around, look at the outer elements and declare, “It’s perfect!”
There is, however, an underlying chance that you might be buying a house with many liabilities. To protect themselves from prosecution, something called a voetstoots or ‘as is’ clause is included in the purchase contract. According to the Law Society of South Africa, almost 98% estate agents include this clause to prevent prospective owners from conducting an inspection of the house before they buy it.
As a home buyer, you need to be aware that you are well within your rights to ask for that clause to be excluded and, thereafter, conduct a thorough house inspection before spending huge sums of money on that home.
The House Inspection Process Demystified
As a buyer, you need to ensure your rights are being taken care of and your buying price is subject to a favourable outcome of the home inspection. The first thing you need to do is find a SASHI (South African Society of Home Inspectors) or an InterNACHI (International Association of Certified Home Inspectors) certified inspector. Ideally someone with a CMI (Certified Master Inspector) South Africa Certification is required. The CMI inspector will have to include, in their detailed report, a list of things that require repairs as well as the estimated repair costs for the buyer in the first year of ownership.
Make sure that when picking the CMI inspector, you have an idea of the kind of report that they provide. Most capable CMI inspectors come with a wide range of equipment like Moisture Analyzers, Infrared Cameras, Inductive Scanners, Paint Thickness Testers and more. The report you get should be quite detailed. Check the sample report to make sure that there is sufficient data being gathered. For the money they charge you, you should be getting a thorough report.
One of the biggest mistakes sellers could make would be to rely on the buyer’s inspection or to hope that the buyer does not ask for the ‘as is’ clause to be removed. The best thing for a seller to do is to make sure that they conduct a thorough investigation themselves, before the buyer gets the chance – so that the buyer’s inspection does not throw up any surprises.
As a buyer, being aware of your rights is one of the first and important steps in the house-buying process. Ensure you are making the right decision by having the house inspected by hiring a competent, qualified inspector to give you a detailed report.
Then buy your dream home with confidence!