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Your offer to purchase should contain this clause

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Finding your dream home is a tough old slog, which is why this potential buyer is battling with what should be common practice.

A potential home buyer wrote to HouseCheck to ask:

“I’ve read many times that if you are a buyer, you should get the new home inspected by an approved home inspector to check if the house is ‘structurally sound’. I agree. You normally advise to have the home inspected before you sign the Offer to Purchase, but I’ve also read somewhere that if you decide to sign an Offer to Purchase (without the home inspection being done) to include a clause in the document stating that ‘upon a  satisfactory home inspection the offer will be honoured’ (or something  along those lines) and to make mention of repairs should there be problems found. In this latter case, which one of these two options is better (to protect  myself as a buyer)?

I also don’t want to lose a potential home to another buyer by simply not signing anything, so I feel if I sign the document, but ensure it has the clause, I’m ‘committing’ to the seller AND protecting myself  at the same time. Your thoughts please?

What HouseCheck says

Some buyers (not the majority) prefer to pay for an inspection before they make the offer. This way they can tailor their offer after gaining insight into the actual condition of the property and what it will cost to fix. This has obvious advantages as regards pricing the offer and also imposing conditions on the seller (in the offer) regarding the repair or replacement of defective components documented in the inspection report.

Most buyers are, however, opting to make their offer conditional on a satisfactory home inspection report.

The wording of the contingency clause suggested by HouseCheck (and found in our written quotes) means that the buyer is the sole judge of what is “satisfactory”. This means that after receiving the report, the buyer has three options:

  1. Stick with the offer,
  2. Re-negotiate with the seller,
  3. Walk away from the deal and look for another property.

In the last instance, HouseCheck will usually offer buyers a discount on a second or even third inspection (of other properties).

Here is the wording of our suggested contingency clause, for insertion in the special conditions section of the OTP:

“This offer is subject to the purchaser obtaining a report on the property from HouseCheck within 7 days of the final signature on this offer and is also subject to the purchaser being satisfied with the condition of the property as detailed in the HouseCheck report – specifically with regard to patent or latent defects documented in the HouseCheck report.”

In our experience very few sellers reject an offer because of this contingency clause, and if they do then it indicates that the seller may have something to hide and the alarm bells should ring!

HouseCheck operates throughout SA, our rates are based on R350 per room plus a basic fee of R700. Please visit HouseCheck to get a written quotation for our two standard inspection products – Comprehensive and Vital. Our quotes, which are emailed to the client usually within the hour, contain a wealth of information on our service.

All HouseCheck inspectors are SAHITA certified.

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