Why home inspections are so important

09 Jan 2013

With so many properties on the market, Sellers need to think out the box to help their property stand out from the rest - and prevent the price being knocked down.  For buyers, who are about to make a significant financial investment, you should know exactly what to expect – both indoors and out – in terms of future repairs and maintenance. 

“We highly recommend our buyers or sellers utilise the services of a reputable home inspection company to give them complete peace of mind – transparency is fundamental to protecting your investment and ensuring you are going into a sales transaction with your eyes wide open,” says Trish Kennedy, Sales Director Zest Property Group, Dullstroom, Mpumalanga.

A seller willing to provide a Home Inspection Certificate (HIC) to prospective buyers will definitely attract the attention of a serious buyer. A HIC removes any doubt about the condition of a property as it is provided by an independent source and gives both parties peace of mind when entering into a sales agreement. Not only can an HIC justify your price, but if there is any repair work to be done, often the cost of most repairs is a lot less than a buyer would estimate on face value. 

Although the ‘Voetstoots’ clause no longer applies - and an Offer to Purchase Contract should always include an ‘Immoveable Property Report’ by the Seller – these are not infallible. Remember, your agent is not a structural engineer and can do no more than point out visible defects such as damp or wall cracks that may be problematic. They also have to go on the word of the seller about any defects which is to the ‘best of their knowledge’.

“We highly recommend our buyers or sellers utilise the services of a reputable home inspection company to give them complete peace of mind – transparency is fundamental to protecting your investment and ensuring you are going into a sales transaction with your eyes wide open,” says Trish Kennedy, Sales Director Zest Property Group, Dullstroom, Mpumalanga.

A HIC provides a totally independent, report as to the condition of every facet of the property including the structure, roof, drainage, water leaks – both incoming and outgoing, pest infestations, walls, windows, doors, visible leaks, water drainage, external walls, pool operations, walkways, stairs and patios. 

Often most problems are not obvious to the naked eye and a home inspector can deduce whether afresh coat of paint could be hiding serious structural problems or if stains on the ceiling indicate a chronic roof leakage problem (or not). The inspector interprets these and other clues, and then presents a professional opinion as to the condition of the property. If you would like to utilise this service your Estate Agent can write a clause into the contract that the HIC is part of the ‘condition of sale’.

A HIC is relatively inexpensive in relation to the value of a home. An average three bedroom home inspection in Mpumalanga costs approximately R3 500.  If the Home Inspection Report finds problems in the building, it does not necessarily mean that you should not buy it, only that you are made aware of what type or repairs to anticipate. As a seller you may choose to undertake any necessary repairs to ensure you give buyers no reason to walk away.  Of course, an inspection will also point out positive aspects of the building, as well as the type of maintenance needed to keep it in good condition.

Ask your estate agent for a recommended service provider in your area, get a quote and take it from there. 

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