Get real about your dream home

Private Property South Africa
Private Property Reporter

When you’re looking for your dream home you can research the market, narrow down your options, speak to industry professionals and thoroughly look over the property, but you can’t be sure to spot every possible defect yourself. That’s where a home inspector will be able to do you a great service.

Home inspections in South Africa aren’t as prevalent as in the rest of the world but it is a growing industry, and with good reason.

Major issues and deal breakers

The most obvious reason to have a home inspection done before you close the deal is that it will uncover any major issues while you still have the chance to back out of the sale. Major issues could be undisclosed structural damage that would cost a fortune to fix, illegal additions or alterations that don’t follow code, or safety hazards like radon, carbon monoxide and mould.

For negotiating

The home inspection report is an opportunity for you to negotiate with the seller. If there is more work that needs to be done than you previously realised, you can either request a reduction in price, or ask that repairs first be taken care of by the seller.

Protect your investment

Buying a home is probably the biggest investment you’re ever going to make. So of course you want to not only be sure what you’re getting yourself into, but know how to maintain your investment. A home inspector can be a valuable educational resource and a provider of good, tailored advice on how to maintain your home.

Understand future costs

Even if there aren’t any major defects found that would cause the entire sale to fall through, there might still be some repairs needed. In that case, a home inspection will be able to give you an idea of what costs you’d be looking at in the near future.

Know the Consumer Protection Act

You might think that you don’t need a home inspection because as a buyer you are protected by the Consumer Protection Act (CPA). If you are an aggrieved home buyer, you can take complaints to the consumer protection commissioner, and seek retribution without paying for expensive legal bills.

However, if you buy from a private seller, you might not be as protected as if you’d bought from a developer or estate agent. If you’re thinking of buying property through a private sale, it is imperative that you have a home inspection done.

If you want to buy a home (or commercial property) it should first be thoroughly inspected by an experienced and unbiased professional inspector, preferably before you even begin the home loan applications process. You’ll probably only see the surface situation of the property, and even the real estate agent might not have in-depth insight into everything that’s going on in your potential home. A professional home inspection will either give you peace of mind about the buying decision, or get you out of a deal you would have later regretted.

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