Buyers’ blues

Private Property South Africa
The Roosting Venus

We all know that the world of shopping isn’t for the fainthearted. Ladies who know their stuff can get almost anything at a better price, and those who really know their stuff can take almost anything back too.

While many may feign horror when they stand in a Woolies queue behind a lady successfully returning something that clearly shouldn’t be returned, there’s also another part of many of us that listens with a fascinated ear, subconsciously pressing “save” and filing the act in her memory bank. But that’s just generally the small stuff. The top you forgot to return months ago. The skirt that you woke up in a sweat about realising it actually will never fit. I even know a lady who took back a pair of shoes after they’d given her blisters.

Make sure it fits!

What about the larger things? Yes, there’s the instant markdown that comes with driving a car out of a showroom. And what about a house? We have a lovely Consumer Protection Act that now covers ladies who change their minds about most things, but can you chop and change when you wake up in the night and realize the house will never fit?

Sellers, they say, feel remorse on occasions too. Sometimes it happens when they realise there’s the possibility of a higher offer just a signature away. Can a seller shuffle out of a deal? Only with great difficulty, we’re told.

But what about the buyer? For properties where the purchase price is under R250 000 there is a five-day cooling off period but, as most properties cost rather more than that, this doesn’t help many sweating shoppers. Some buyers who change their minds have been known to use bond finance as an excuse. But sellers are able to question this too. So it’s best of course to be prepared, and know what you’re after before you start shopping. And besides all the cyber shopping, there needs to be physical groundwork too.

Drive the distance

And physical we got last week. It’s been years since the Other Half and I have had such a moment. It happened in the traffic. We’d seen a property in one of our newly chosen dream spots. A fuzzy-round-the-edge location that would have made beautiful pics. So we drove there and back. And we saw all the other people that were driving there and back too. Our 10-minute trip turned into an odyssey. An odyssey we were not prepared to embark on every day, or even regularly. We looked at each other and there was that moment! Complete accord! NO!

A home is not a pair of shoes that can be returned – with a little effort – should it not prove roadworthy. Before you commit to a purchase, travel the road, in rush hour, and do it again, until you really know.

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