With the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) now law, property sellers (and their agents, if they are not selling privately) are exposed to the perils of collapsing sales and even litigation if full disclosure of all material information is not made upfront to potential buyers.
Buyers now have the right to know everything material about the properties that they are purchasing. More and more, buyers are going to be insisting on this right and demanding full disclosure up-front – which is best achieved through comprehensive and objective third-party property inspections.
Most sellers are not qualified to document all defects in their homes. It is quite possible that sellers are not even aware of some defects, which would be easily spotted by the experienced eye of a qualified home inspector.
Estate agents generally know more about property that their sellers, but they are also not experts in building matters. Yet the CPA places an obligation on the seller and agent to declare all defects and other material issues (such as zoning and unapproved structures) to the buyer. A good home inspection report, which is used as an annexure to the deed of sale, releases the seller and agent from the threat of potential litigation.
A home inspection report is also very reassuring to buyers, and the transparency of the process engenders trust and goodwill – thereby facilitating the sale process.
There is every indication that, with the advent of the CPA, SA banks will soon start insisting on a home inspection report before finalising bond finance. The last thing a bank wants is to attempt to unscramble an omlette should a disgruntled buyer use the CPA to try and cancel a sale after transfer has gone through.
*Written by John Graham, CEO of HouseCheck