November 18, 2020

What to remember when you’re selling your home

You may have picked up on the news that the South African property market is flourishing, despite the economic implications of COVID-19 and the lockdown that followed, while the rental market is taking strain. (You can read our previous blog on it here.) 

If you have some property that you rent out and want to take advantage of a good market by selling it, here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Choose the right agent

While it’s possible to sell property privately, and there are tools to assist you with this, such as the Private Property and Simply Online platforms, it can become time and admin intensive, so you may want to leave this to the experts. If you choose to use an estate agent, look for someone with a good reputation and record in your area. You’ll deal with them often, so make sure it’s someone you think you’ll be able to get along with on a professional level. 

To get the best price, consider giving your agent a sole mandate. If agents are competing with each other, they’ll try get a contract signed before their rivals do – which means they might not spend enough time negotiating a better offer for you from the buyer.  

Once you’ve appointed an agent, get them to do a proper valuation of your property, so you know what price you can ask for.

2. Spruce up

Even though the market is booming, it’s still important that your home is attractive to potential buyers. This might entail a bit of time and money, but it’s all worth it in the end. A fresh coat of paint goes a long way, and you might even consider replacing broken tiles or old carpets. Repair anything that’s faulty and make sure your garden and pool, if you have these, are cleaned up. 

Tidy up before potential buyers visit, and even consider buying fresh flowers (or, if you really want to show off your garden, pick some from there) and using scent diffusers to make your home welcoming and pleasant – somewhere the viewer can happily imagine themselves living.

3. Acknowledge and disclose any remaining defects

If you are aware of any latent defects (defects those that cannot easily be seen, like rising damp that has been scraped off and painted over without addressing the underlying cause or rotten roof timbers), don’t keep quiet and hope no-one notices.  Make sure your agent is aware of these, as you may face claims later.  You are not obliged to point out patent defects (which are easily and immediately identifiable), but if you complete a condition report it must be comprehensive, as the buyer will be entitled to rely on it.

4. Get updated compliance certificates

Buyers will want to see these to make sure all is in order, so the sooner you have them ready, the sooner you can wrap up the sale. 

5. Consider offers

Work with your agent to make sure that the price and clauses in the offer are fair.  Beware of offers that are subject to the sale of the buyer’s existing property.  These must have a continued marketing and escape clause.

6. Appoint a conveyancer 

Once you’ve accepted an offer and conditions like the buyer securing a loan or selling their property, a conveyancer starts work on transferring the property. This includes obtaining a Rates Clearance Certificate, conducting a deed search, and lodging all documents at the Deeds Office.

As a seller, you have the right to appoint the conveyancer of your choice. While this is the last step, it is the culmination of the process, where everything comes together, so it’s important to choose someone you can trust.  The estate may suggest a conveyancer and if you do not have one in mind that is perfectly fine.  But beware of an estate agent who tries to dissuade you from nominating your choice over theirs, or says that the buyer insist on a particular conveyancer.  More often than not, that means that there is a deal between the estate agent and the conveyancer and if there is any conflict, you are not guaranteed that the conveyancer will put your interests first.    

We pride ourselves on the efficiency with which we handle property transfers. To speak to us, call 011 347 0300 or email info@lawmen.co.za.

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