BUYING GUIDE STEP 8 - INSPECTING YOUR PROSPECTIVE HOME
buyer, you are entitled to know exactly what you are getting. Don't take for
granted what you see. Even your most professional and diligent agent can get
things wrong. Inspecting your possible future home is an important part of the
Perform the Inspection Yourself Using a Professional Service Electrical Compliance Certificates Beetle Infestations
THE INSPECTION YOURSELF Top Most
buyers are quite happy inspecting their potential home themselves and if the
house is relatively new, this does not pose a problem at all. Where a home is
quite old, there might however just be problem beginning to creep in that a
prospective buyer must look for.
house is probably one of the largest investments you’ll ever make. It is very
important that you properly inspect any house you consider purchasing so that
you know the exact condition of the property. By doing this you will not be
surprised by costly repairs found to be necessary after you’ve purchased the
time to look around properly and do not be embarrassed in opening all
cupboards, peeking under the sink or asking a myriad of questions. Do the
inspection systematically using the Inspection Checklist we have provided and
you should be fine.
feel you just do not have enough knowledge, why not bring a friend or
acquaintance along that can help. It is your right to ensure you are getting
what you pay for.
USING AN PROFESSIONAL
SERVICETop An professional
inspection is an opportunity to have an expert look closely at the property you
are considering purchasing and getting both an oral and written opinion as to
its condition. Professional inspectors will inspect the property and present
you with a detailed report of their findings. Comprehensive inspections will
take 2 to 4 hours. The price of an inspection depends on the size of the
property but is usually in the region of R1000 – R3000.
fast becoming standard practice in South Africa as more and more
buyers insist on a proper investigation as part of the deal. In certain cases,
a professional inspection is payable by the seller and forms part of the conditions
of contract. Remember though, that you have to demand an inspection when you
present your offer. It must be written in as a contingency; if you do not
approve the inspection report, then you don't buy.
For your own safety make sure the report will be done by a business registered
with SASHI (South African Society of Home Inspections). Why not also go along
with the inspector during inspection. This gives you a chance to ask questions
about the property and get answers that are not biased. In addition, the oral
comments are typically more revealing and detailed than what you will find on
the written report. Once the inspection is complete, review the inspection
ELECTRICAL INSPECTIONTop The issue
of an Electrical Compliance Certificate, with effect from from 1 May 2009, is
covered under the Occupational Health and Safety Act No 85 of 1993 which is
administered by the Department of Labour. Initially established for workplace
safety but has been extended to residential dwellings.
before a home is marketed or sold, a complete inspection of all electrical
installations is required by law. In terms of this act, property owners are
ultimately liable to ensure that ECCs are obtained, that they are legal and
that they have been issued by an appropriately qualified electrician. The
Electrical Installation Regulations specify that any owner, user or lessor of a
building with an electrical installation should be in possession of a valid
an ECC, the electrical installation of a property should be tested to determine
whether it is safe and complies with the current regulations. The ECC
assures a consumer or homebuyer that the electrical installations on a property
or work performed on those installations, comply with the current regulations
and that the required technical standards have been verified by an
appropriately qualified and registered electrical worker.
homebuyers are entitled to a valid ECC. The certificate is an important
part of the property transaction process. Failure to ensure that a valid
ECC is available could compromise the safety of individuals and property and
could result in unexpected and costly electrical repairs as well as severe
remains valid, and becomes transferable upon the sale of the property, if there
are no alterations or additions to the electrical installation. The
certificate should be retained by the purchaser to hand to the next purchaser
when the property is again sold. If any alterations were made, a new ECC
would have to be issued for the additional alteration after a re-inspection of
the electrical installations by an accredited person in terms of the Act.
however common practice for the seller to obtain a new ECC even where no
alterations or additions to the existing electrical installations have been
effected since the issue of a previous certificate. Buyers should insist on
this or at the very least, a certificate no older than six months.
your Offer to Purchase includes the necessary clause to accommodate this. Also
ensure that any repairs costs necessary for compliance are for the seller’s
notes for the purchaser:
electrical inspection is not done to check that things work. It is done to
ensure the reasonable safety of the installation.
complaints/disputes can be avoided if a more detailed Offer to Purchase is
important point to note is that, unless specified elsewhere in the Sale
Agreement, fixed appliances, anything off a plug top, extension cord or that
plugs in, falls under the “voetstoets” clause and is not covered by the
Electrical Compliance Certificate.
and other lamps and light bulbs are not covered.
contractor cannot be held responsible for any nuisance tripping which may occur
once a faulty earth leakage unit has been replaced or a new one installed or
when circuits are restored onto the earth leakage system.
to prevent unnecessary problems, ensure that the process of obtaining a C.O.C.
is completed before commencing any alterations to the property.
purchase agreements do not have clauses that deal with borer beetle
because 1) We do not have broad use of timber construction and, 2)
we do not have major problems in South Africa and particularly in
the Port Elizabeth region.
They are however more common in the Western Cape and in KwaZulu Natal.
agreement is ratified, a borer beetle inspection is arranged. Before the
closing can occur, the sellers must be able to produce papers signed by a
licensed exterminator stating that the house is free of infestation and that
any beetle damage has been repaired.
however certain suburbs and areas that are prone to borer beetle and your agent
will be able to advise you on this. The banks too generally have areas tagged
in which they will insist on a borer beetle inspection being done. If your
intended home of course has major timber structural elements then it will be
worth your while to insist.
most beetle certificates only guarantee that the premises are free from certain
types of beetle (e.g. oxypleuris beetle), but exclude other common infestations
such as furniture beetle. It is sometimes wise for the Purchaser to insist on a
certificate guaranteeing the absence of all beetles.
certificates are usually not required where the property is a Sectional Title
unit. In many sectional title properties, the section consists of the inside of
the unit up to the middle of the containing walls, floors and ceilings.
infest the wood in a building especially the roof trusses. The unit, which the
owner is responsible for, therefore excludes the roof trusses and the body
corporate is responsible for beetle damage. But remember, the owner is a member
of the body corporate, and is therefore responsible for a portion of the body
corporate's expenses anyway!
sectional title properties include the roof space in the unit and it would
therefore be wise to consider a beetle certificate for such units in areas
where wood beetles are a problem.
General Before you
sign an agreement to buy or sell a home, you should read the borer beetle
clause and be sure that you understand it. Who selects the exterminator and
pays for the inspection? If bugs are found, who pays for the treatment? Are the
sellers obligated to repair any damage and have they placed a limit of the
amount they will spend on those repairs? If treatment is required, the buyers
may want a chance to discuss the options with the pest control company,
especially if someone in the family is sensitive to the chemicals used to
control the termites. Ask about the exterminator's guarantees or service