FAQ's ON THE OFFER TO PURCHASE

When does the sale become finalized?

As soon as the seller signs the offer to purchase, acceptance of your offer formally takes place. The document now becomes a valid agreement of sale and no further formalities are needed to finalise the deal. Until the seller actually signs the offer, no contract exists.
 
Can I withdraw my offer after signing it?

The offer will have a period of time for acceptance by the seller, usually a few days after you have signed it. Offers are normally  irrevocable. Until this period expires you cannot withdraw it. The seller may accept the offer at any time during the specified period.
 
How long does the seller have to respond?                                                                                                   Deirdre Remax Top

This will depend on the time period you are prepared to allow him to do so. Your agent will guide you on this, but you should not allow the seller more than a few days to accept or revoke the offer. If nothing happens during this period your offer will lapse.
 
Can the seller accept the offer conditionally?

Yes, he may, but he is effectively making a counter-offer to you and the sale will only be finalised if and when you are prepared to accept his terms. These can be negotiated through your agent. No sale will actually exist until you both agree on all its terms.
 
Can the estate agent withhold the offer?

No. Once you have signed an offer to purchase which has been drawn up by an estate agent, the agent is compelled to submit it to the seller forthwith. Your agent may not withhold it if he/she gets a better offer immediately after yours or present that offer first.
 
What if the seller receives two offers simultaneously?                                                                                  
Deirdre Remax Top

If two different agents bring offers from two different prospective purchasers at the same time, the seller has complete freedom either to reject both offers or to accept the one he prefers and reject the other. He does not have to give either of them preferent attention.
 
Must he sell to me if I offer his asking price?

No. Even if the seller has given a mandated selling price to an agent he is not obliged to accept an offer at this price. You are the one making the offer, not him. If he rejects it he may still be liable to the agent for commission as the agent will have completed his/her mandate.
 
Is a verbal acceptance by the seller enforceable?                                                                                       
Deirdre Remax Top

No. Even if he phones you and says he is accepting your offer but then changes his mind and does not sign, no contract will exist. By law all property sales must be reduced to writing and signed by both parties before a valid agreement of sale takes place.
 
Can the seller accept the offer after the expiry date?

Not unless you are still willing to buy his property and you are willing to sign an addendum extending the acceptance date. Otherwise the offer will lapse automatically once the stipulated period expires and the seller has not formally accepted the offer.
 
Can the seller reject the offer and then change his mind?                                                                            
Deirdre Remax Top

No, definitely not. If he advises you or the estate agent, before the expiry date, that he is not willing to accept your offer, then he is deemed to have formally rejected it. He may not thereafter change his mind and accept it – unless it is with your consent.
 
On what date should occupation be given and what is occupational rental?

Occupation should be agreed on a date mutually suited to both parties. It will often occur, however, that one of the parties is in occupation of the property while it is registered in the other's name, thus requiring the occupier (who may be either a buyer or seller) to pay a rental to the owner. Entitlement to such rent is not automatic and should be specified in the Agreement of Sale. The rental amount is usually agreed at a level commensurate with rentals available in the market.
 
What if a tenant has a lease that overlaps the transfer date?

Upon taking occupation of the property, the tenant acquires a real right thereto for the duration of the lease and will be protected by the "huurgaat voor koop" principle. The new landlord takes over the role of his predecessor, who in turn is relieved of obligations towards the tenant.
 
Is the Purchaser ever liable for commission?                                                                                              
Deirdre Remax Top

Strictly speaking, commission is payable by the party who conferred upon the Estate Agent the mandate to act on his/her behalf. In reality, however, it seldom happens that South African buyers pay commission (unless the Purchaser defaults on the sale).


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