PART 2: What you need to know when buying a house

Last week in Part 1 we looked at the importance of location; access to amenities; safety and security; and costs and hidden costs.

Here are a few more things you need to know when buying a house.

No nasty surprises

Have the property inspected by a professional home inspection company to ensure that it’s in good condition.

Putting in an offer

Before you sign anything, visit the property several times. Ask the estate agent  as many questions as you like.

Once you are sure that you have found the property that is right for you, the estate agent will draw up an Offer to Purchase document, which contains the:

  • Terms and conditions of the sale
  • Purchase price
  • Payment terms
  • Date of occupation

It also includes the occupational rent terms, which is a monthly amount paid by the seller to the purchaser, should they wish to stay longer on the property, after the registration of the sale.

If you are taking out a home loan, the Offer to Purchase must include a condition that the sale is subject to bond approval being obtained within a realistic amount of time i.e. 7 – 10 working days. Once you have confirmation that your loan has been approved, you must notify the estate agent immediately to ensure that your offer becomes unconditional.

Sign on the dotted line

Once all the conditions of the contract have been met and the deposit has been paid, the property must be transferred into your name and the bond must be registered at the Deeds Office. The conveyancing attorneys handle this part of the process. They will contact you when you have to sign the documents.

The seller appoints the conveyancing attorneys to deal with the legal aspects of the transaction, the buyer pays their fees.

The seller must provide you with an Electrical Clearance Certificate, as well as a document stating that the property is pest-free. These conditions may vary depending on which province your property is situated in.

This process can take up to 10 weeks without delays.

Municipal Rates and Taxes

Payments of outstanding municipal rates and levies are the responsibility of the seller until the property has been transferred. The seller will be liable to pay these rates during the transfer and registration process until the property is lodged and registered at the deeds office. Thereafter, those fees will fall to the new owner.

In the case where a property is bought at a public auction, the buyer will be accountable for all outstanding municipal fees owed by the property. Many first time buyers fail to make provision for these fees when buying at an auction and end up spending more money than they initially planned on.

Moving to your new home

Have you made provision for your relocation costs? The costs of moving from one home to another can be high and these expenses are often not taken into consideration when planning to buy a new house.

Whether packing up your belongings and transporting them on your own or with the help of friends and family; or hiring professionals, there are costs involved.

The cost of hiring movers differs depending on whether you intend using packing and unpacking services; on the amount of furniture you have; and the distance involved.

Make sure that you research both options and get more than one quote.

Remember to pack a box with essentials like a kettle and coffee, toiletries, cleaning stuff, eating utensils, remote controls, bedding and a change of clothes. Think of your normal routine and the things you use every day.

Happy stress-free moving!

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