By Nigel Aitken – Professional Home Inspector.
The purchasing of a house regardless of its value is likely to be the most expensive purchase any individual will ever make. Therefore it makes good sense for a buyer to protect his investment by requesting an inspection of the property prior to committing to the sale.
By simply adding a clause to the Offer to Purchase making the offer subject to satisfactory inspection the buyer can enter the sale agreement with peace of mind or, where significant remedial work is required, he will have the opportunity to renegotiate.
Many sellers are also choosing to protect themselves by availing themselves of this service. By doing so, the seller is more likely to make a quick sale at a reasonable price.
Estate agents are beginning to understand this and some routinely recommend property inspections. Some even offer sellers a free inspection in return for a sole mandate.
Remember, the Consumer Protection Act obliges the seller and his agent to make full disclosure regarding defects. However, in fairness few sellers are qualified to properly assess the condition of their property and may be completely unaware of hidden problems, particularly those that are not obvious to the untrained eye.
The most common amongst these would be problems with the roof and roof cavity areas where, for example, routine maintenance is overdue or a geyser may be incorrectly installed. Structural damage which may have occurred for a variety of reasons needs professional diagnosis. A nice fresh coat of paint can very efficiently mask problems such as damp and plaster cracking which will soon reappear.
When asking for a quotation, it is advisable to ask to see an example report. This way the client knows exactly what to expect from the inspection service he chooses to go with.
Increasingly as the service has become more widely accepted, first time buyers have been insisting on property inspections before committing themselves to a sale. Some inspection companies have been operating for nearly thirty years in South Africa and the industry has been steadily building a credible reputation as a “must have” in the property market.