The House of Horrors – not just the stuff of movies, lore and legend

Private Property South Africa

Buying a home with a host of undisclosed defects can turn your dream move into a horror movie, starring you. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself.

Pretty much every house-of-horrors movie starts the same way. A young family moves into a new country home, and even though it looks like a relic from the stone-age, they’re unnaturally enchanted with their quaint albeit antiquated find.

Come move-in day, the usually docile family tabby turns into Beelzebub the second her paws meet the paving. The adored Jack Russell pulls a Wade van Niekerk into the undergrowth to chase a rabbit, yelps loudly, and is never seen again. The kids are distraught and start having nightmares - mom and dad put it down to the trauma of their beloved AWOL Fido and possessed kitty. Little Molly starts having conversations with some unsavoury imaginary friends, Norman the teenager gets obsessive about watching Bates Motel re-runs, mom thinks she is going off her rocker because none of her stuff is where she put it, and dad puts it all down to the stress of the move – and that’s about when all hell breaks loose. Sounds like a pretty predictable, low-grade horror movie script, right? Except that horror houses aren’t always the stuff of movies, lore and legend.

Buyer’s remorse is real

“Real homeowners have moved into their new digs only to discover a veritable Pandora’s Box of scary defects that weren’t disclosed by the seller or agent, nor in plain sight when they viewed the property. From discovering a nest of hundreds of snakes living in the ceiling, to illegally built additions that collapsed the drainage system and flooded the garden with sewerage every six months, to defective leaking roofs concealed under false ceilings, termite-infested roof trusses, rising damp, to forged electrical compliance certificates - there’s no end to the cases of unsuspecting buyers being lumbered with property duds that have cost them dearly in the pocket and the sanity department,” explains Lee-Ann Dobrescu, Head of Group Business Development at Hollard and co-founder of Hollard’s Home Warranty.

Even if you’re able to pursue the costly legal route and prove that the seller knew about the defects when they sold to you, you’ll still be stuck with the hefty and unexpected costs to make the property liveable while you’re in it, in addition to your legal fees. And as history proves, cases involving latent defects and alleged seller dishonesty in disclosing such defects can take years to reach conclusion. Not many people have the extra cash and time to throw around to pursue such a case and the seller may not have the cash to right the wrong anyway.
Protect yourself right from the start with a Home Warranty Unless you enjoy costly and protracted court battles and enjoy the rollercoaster commonly known as buyer’s remorse, you should never sign an offer to purchase without making it subject to a professional home inspection linked to a Hollard Home Warranty being conducted first.

All the anxiety of possibly finding some lurking horror after the purchase has gone through can be easily done away with by taking out a Home Warranty from Hollard. Hollard’s Home Warranty addresses the issues around defects with a professional property inspection that is coupled to an insurance policy. You’re protected against the financial ramifications of any hidden defects that may emerge in the property for two years after taking transfer. It also means you don’t have to go through stressful and costly litigation to recoup your losses if you do find something untoward lurking behind a ‘voetstoots’ clause. The best part is that the cost of the warranty is covered by the seller - all you have to do is specify it in your offer to purchase and the premium can be paid from the proceeds of the sale, much like the estate agent’s commission .
What does it cost and how do I get a Home Warranty?

Premiums are determined on an individual basis, but typically you can expect to pay around R12 000 for a warranty on a R1million home, R17 400 for a R2million home and R27 500 for a R5million home.

Peace of mind comes standard with a home warranty When it comes to property transactions, a Hollard home warranty is the best solution for making sure the homework is done by experts who know what to look for. Make sure that the home you are buying has no surprise defects, and if anything unexpected does crop up, you’re protected from the financial implications. It’s a product that should be attached to the ‘for sale’ sign of every well-maintained home, ensuring that your dream home never turns into a house of horrors

To find out more about Hollard’s Home Warranty or get a quote, click here


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