Disclosure aids sale agreement

Posted On Thursday, 12 July 2012 10:36 Published by
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In terms of the Consumer Protection Act it is very important for a seller of a house to make sure he is covered effectively and for the agent to make sure that everything has been disclosed.  A good agent will communicate all the relevant information pertaining to a property to the prospective purchaser.


Lanice StewardLanice Steward, MD of Anne Porter Knight Frank says that if all the relevant information is given to the buyer upfront it protects the seller and it obviously protects the purchaser; more particularly if, after signing, it is discovered that there is something faulty and has not been disclosed.  

“It is advisable to attach a “condition report” document to an agreement of sale which lists various items that might need attention.  The agent should go through this checklist with the seller and it should be signed by the seller and the purchaser.  The document has such questions as “Are you aware of any defects in the roof?”; “Are you aware of any defects in the septic system or other sanitary disposal systems?”  It could also cover things such as boundary line disputes, the condition of the swimming pool, constructions on the property which might have been done without building plans or whether there might be any urban planning policies which might impact significantly on the area later,” said Steward.  “This report would usually be attached along with the listing sheet to the sales agreement.”

The bottom line is that full disclosure in well documented addendums added to the agreements of sale can make the sales process easier and, because nothing is hidden, less stressful for all involved.

“However,” said Steward, “buyers must realise that unfurnished homes never look as good as a furnished home and that sometimes even a seller can be unaware of damp in the corner of a room and only realise it is there when they remove the furniture or curtains.”

“The same applies to properties in the Rosebank and Mowbray areas of Cape Town, for example, where the houses are built on clay.  The cracks in homes here,” said Steward, “expand and contract (sometimes as much as a centimetre) with the weather conditions and, if not disclosed, could lead to the buyer thinking that it would lead to serious structural damage.  This is not the case but sellers of property here must add this to their checklist.

“Another example we came across recently was a property that leads to a small river.  The property was bought in summer but when the winter rains came, the river level rose and reduced the size of the garden,” said Steward. 

“Sellers must remember that they cannot hide things, everything will come out eventually,” said Steward.  “While it is no guarantee that nothing will go wrong, it is better to go through a comprehensive list upfront of what the buyer might need to know than have to go through a lengthy process of rectifying matters later.” 

Last modified on Monday, 10 March 2014 09:44

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