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Property buyers and sellers, don’t just sign any document

03 Jun 2019

The process of buying and selling property, involves the signing of legal and binding documents. All parties directly involved need to be fully aware of the contracts they are signing and exactly what those contracts entail.

If there are any aspects you are unsure about, speak to your agent immediately about this so that he or she is aware of the uncertainties you may have. Your agent will do their best to not only allay your fears, but also clarify things you are finding difficult to understand.

This is according to Mike Greeff, CEO of Greeff Christie’s International Real Estate, who says whether you are a buyer or seller, during the property transaction process you will have to go through the document signing process.

This requires assiduous attention to detail when reading and understanding the document. During this time, Greeff says it is important to enlist the service of a qualified and experienced agent who will assist you during the property selling or buying process, and who will be able to explain these documents to you. At the behest of the agent, should he or she not be able to explain all aspects to you satisfactorily, they should put you in touch with an attorney who will.

Greeff says to keep the following three things in mind before crossing all the t’s and dotting all the i’s:

1. Unpacking technical industry jargon

Understanding technical jargon need not be daunting. Once you sit down with your agent, he or she will take you through the documents and explain to you what each and every term, clause or addendum means. Should you lose sight of what he or she is saying, ask your agent to explain these terms to you again, or until you are completely comfortable with what they mean.

In most cases, terms such as offer to purchase and Capital Gains Tax, for example, are used as abbreviations OTP and CGT, and any confusion can easily be cleared up.

Also read: Buyers and sellers: Real estate terms demystified

If there are any aspects you are unsure about, speak to your agent immediately, so he or she is aware of the uncertainties you may have. Your agent will do their best to not only allay your fears, but also clarify things you are finding difficult to understand.

2. Understanding all clauses

Understanding clauses can be just as tricky. In some cases, documentation will refer to a clause by its technical name or by an alphanumeric pairing e.g. Clause 2b or 5d, and move on to the rest of the information. It is therefore vital that you are informed of what each clause entails and just exactly how you are affected by these.

Clauses pertain to anything from the contents of the house, to the financial aspects of the sale and even the suspensive conditions. Be sure to read through all clauses thoroughly and ask as many questions as you need to.

3. Receiving legal input where possible

During the sale of a property, legal input is always important. Signing any documents during a property sale means a legal and binding commitment, and as such it would be a wise decision on your part to seek legal advice before putting pen to paper at any point in the transaction.

It is important to note that once these documents have been signed, you are liable for money due or property handover by a predetermined date.

Finally

Above all else, remember to maintain open lines of communication at all times with your appointed real estate agent throughout the process. It is the agent’s job to make you feel comfortable and dispel any concerns you may have.

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