Decoding The Contract

Private Property South Africa
Andre Fiore

Why was it taking so long? They had me checking my phone, my mailbox and even the lights on the router like a teenager on a Blackberry. Oh for some response. And just when I thought I could wait no longer, then there it was. A real offer – in writing!

Did I tell him now, or did I wait until it was all tied up? As he was probably duffing a chip somewhere there wasn’t really much to debate, so I had another read through, and left him out for the time being.

Strange how contracts can become so convoluted while you’re not watching. Something that had seemed so simple a week ago was suddenly full of points that I had to think about.

The fittings. Of course I had every intention of selling our home with all the existing fittings and fixtures, and the fact that the purchasers had listed a few specific ones had me raising an eyebrow – until I remembered a certain dear aunt of mine who’d run off with the chandeliers after a sale – only to take them back years later when her conscience got the better of her. No, I had no intention of playing games with the chandeliers, or anything else. They could have it all – down to the gargoyle in the garden. I happily initialed that. Let them have their peace of mind.

The electrical and the beetle certificates. Yes, I would get them done. I knew they were my responsibility. Pleasant times ahead, I thought. Would it be the electrician, Telkom or the municipality who would eventually take home the Invisible Service Award?

Failure to disclose. Here we’d breathe easily. The truth always comes out in the end, but as we had no intention of being anything but honest, there would be no unpleasant surprises awaiting any buyer, and no comeback or conscience for us.

The price. A smart buyer will always negotiate in a situation like this and they of course had. They’d come in under our asking price, and given me two days to decide. I gave it some thought. Interesting that their offer was now legally binding, on their side, while I, for example, could debate it up until those 48 hours expired. If however, I decided not to accept it within that time, I couldn’t come running a few days later and expect them honour the offer.

A smart seller, though, will also negotiate, and generally to complete a sale one has to give or take a little. So I gave. I countersigned it to a price somewhere in between, gave them 48 hours, and pressed “send” again.

There’d be more waiting on the cards, but I was becoming an old hand at that.

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