Don’t sign a purchase offer when you’re stressed

Private Property South Africa
RE/MAX

While some property deals may look good at the outset, there are some scenarios that buyers should avoid to protect themselves from situations that could cost them dearly in the long run.

Sometimes, sellers can be desperate for reasons that are not financial – for example, where they need to relocate for work and the children must start a new school term in the new city. Here are a few scenarios in which sellers sometimes make the wrong decisions during pressured property sales.

The buyer offers more than your asking price – in cash

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is – and there is a good chance that you’re being conned. Should a buyer offer more than your asking price, proceed with caution. Before pursuing a deal under these circumstances, insist on banker’s guarantees for the full purchase price and the payment of the transfer costs, prior to occupation.

You’re offered your price or more, and the buyer needs to move in immediately

“No guarantees, no keys” – it’s as simple as that. A seller should never allow occupation of his property prior to the transfer or, at the very earliest, until guarantees for the full purchase price have been delivered and all the transfer and bond costs have been paid. Once a buyer has occupation, it can be tricky to evict him should the deal turn sour.

The buyer offers to pays the purchase price in installments

Many buyers in the current market think that sellers are in financial trouble, and invent creative ways to assist sellers get rid of their properties – while the truth is that these buyers more often than not don’t qualify for bank bonds. Although paying in installments is a perfectly legal way to buy and sell property, if the buyer is not able to keep his side of the bargain the deal will fall through and the property will be off the market for a long time.

The buyer insists on using his own transferring attorney

In SA, the seller appoints the transferring attorney and the buyer pays the fee. But some buyers try to insist that an attorney of their choice attend to the matter – normally to save money. The truth is that if this attorney – who is normally known to the buyer – is in another jurisdiction, it could result in delays in getting clearance figures from city councils, lodging deeds in the Deeds Office, and so on.

Written with the assistance of Martin Potgieter, of RE/MAX Jacaranda (Pretoria East)

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