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Your Property Questions Answered

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Selling
How do I make my house look more inviting to buyers?

Cleaning:

  • Spring clean your home            
  • Ensure that your home has entrance appeal by making the entrance look attractive, clean and tidy
  • Try and keep hidden areas clean e.g. Behind furniture, Light fittings, Ceilings, Pelmets, Skirting’s, Under Cupboards, Beds, etc.
  • Clear out clutter or place clutter into stylish containers
  • Clear your kitchen work surface of extra items
  • Dust and Polish wood including the floors if applicable
  • Ensure all tiles and grouting is shiny, clean and mould free
  • Clean all windows inside and out including skylights and mirrors
  • Polish all silver and brass ornaments and handles
  • Shine all showers, taps and hand-held showers
  • Clean the carpets, curtains and upholstery and
  • Dust the blinds
  • Tidy up Shelves and Cupboards
  • Place Clean Linen on the Beds
  • Clean out storage spaces showing that your home is light and airy
  • Clean up the garage by hanging up sporting goods, ladders and put tools away
  • Clean the roof, gutters, down pipes, drains, etc.
  • Tidy the outside grounds by sweeping away leaves, pruning dead branches, mowing the lawn and watering the garden
  • Ensure the Pool is full and sparkling clean with the pool filter on
  • Make sure all the water features are switched on and working 

Instant Appeal:

  • Repaint your home wherever necessary both inside and out in neutral colours
  • Replace any broken  items e.g. Doorknobs, Door Handles, Handrails or Windows
  • Turn on any necessary lights to create an atmosphere
  • Ensure all towels in bathrooms are clean and not tattered
  • Bring in clothes from off the washing line
  • Display all garden furniture with cushions
  • Rather secure all pets away
  • Light a fire or use heaters to keep your home warm during colder periods
  • Place fresh biscuits or fruit on display on the kitchen counter or table
  • Spray all rooms with aromatic air freshener
  • Put out fresh flowers
  • Place some vanilla essence in a bowl of water in a low temperature oven
  • Get professional home styling tips from home improvement and interior decorating magazines
  • Most buyers prefer light and neutral colours for painting, tiling and carpeting  
I am selling my property. What are my responsibilities as a seller and how does the “ Voetstoots” clause protect me? Regards. Warren
Dear Warren,

I am responding to your question directly from the manual prepared by Marius van Rensburg of Schindlers Attorneys.

WHAT ARE THE SELLER''S RESPONSIBILITIES: THE DUTY TO DISCLOSE
The Seller has certain responsibilities. Whilst this clause will protect a Seller, the protection only goes so far. The Seller has the “duty to disclose” any defects which are latent, in other words any defects which are not obvious. If the Seller hides defects in the property on purpose, the Seller will not be protected. In other words the voetstoots clause will not protect a Seller who knows of a defect in the property but does not tell the Purchaser about the defect. Sellers should also be aware that the law goes even further than a simple failure to tell the Purchaser about a defect in that the voetsoots clause will also not protect a Seller who tells a half truth.

It is good advice to fix as many of the defects as possible before selling the property. An added advantage of this is that the property becomes more marketable as a result of these efforts.

Hope the above assists.
Please feel free to email any further questions.
Dear Denese I am thinking of auctioning my residential property that I?m living in. What are your thoughts on it. Regards, James Brown.
Dear Mr Brown

My concern s with auctioning one’s property, especially your - residence are as follows:
Should it not sell on auction, there could be a stigma attached to the property as to why it never sold.
As it is not a “forced”sale, you would put a reserve price on it i.e. The minimum amount you would be prepared to accept, anyway.

The purchaser is in for approximately 10 percent of the costs for commission, perhaps giving him less buying power.
If auctions on residential properties were so successful then all the real estate companies would be doing it.
Please understand that I am not slandering auctions by no means, but deal with an agent who is active in your area. “ Why re-invent the wheel”, if it works ??

Good Luck
Warmest property regards
Denese
Dear Denese, I have recently had waterproofing attended to at my property as I am intending to sell. The waterproofing company has given me a 2 year warranty on the work completed. Do I need to disclose this to the agent/s when meeting them? Maria Tobias
Dear Maria,

The answer is yes you do. When selling one has to take into account the condition of the property.
If certain items are damaged, eg. a hole in the door, or a broken window which can quite clearly be seen
they are considered “patent defects”. On the other hand, if there is damp in a cupboard which could only be seen by opening the cupboard and moving the clothing/items to see the damp, it would be considered a “latent defect”.

In your situation, if you did not disclose this to the agent who would have no way of knowing that there had been a problem it would be interpreted as if you had intentionally not told the agent/purchaser about the problem. In terms of the law and now the CPA (Consumer Protection Act) you could be held liable for future repairs as the buyer was not informed prior to purchasing the property.

If you had disclosed this to the Agent/Buyer prior to selling, the buyer would then have the choice to have the “problem” checked and if any problems arose after registration of the property you would not be held accountable and repairs would be for the buyers account.

If you have any further queries, send without hesitation to askdenese@firzt.co.za.

Always striving to give Firzt class service.
Dear Denese, I am selling my property and the Agent I am dealing with has told me that I am responsible for the Electrical Compliance Certificate. I do not have the money to obtain one, prior to the sale, what must I do. Regards, Johan Cloete
Dear Johan,

You would have to discuss this with the Agent as there are a few ways to handle the matter.

Firstly, obtain a quote to establish the amount required to have a valid Electrical Compliance Certificate issued.

One possibility is to request that the seller attend to this and reduce the purchase price accordingly, or

to obtain permission from the purchaser (once all suspensive conditions of the Offer have been met), to utilize monies held in trust on
his/her behalf, for the required amount, which will be deducted from the proceeds of the sale (monies due to you) on registration of transfer, or

to obtain bridging finance (the conveyancer would refer you to a company that attends to bridging finance) for the amount required
which will be repaid from the proceeds of the sale on registration of transfer.

If you have any further queries, send without hesitation to askdenese@firzt.co.za.

Always striving to give Firzt class service.

Dear Denese, I have always been of the opinion that if I wanted to purchase a property at a bargain price I should source properties that are being auctioned. Now as a seller, I am still of that opinion, however, there appears to be a lot of hype around various methods of selling. What is your opinion? Ralph Payne
Hi Ralph,
There is a saying in the property industry that when times are tough, ‘go back to basics’. At Firzt, we are doing just that.

Although there are many buyers in the market today, many of them do not meet the
necessary criteria to qualify for the required bond or have the deposit and registration costs available. Our challenge therefore, is not finding buyers or taking offers, it is sourcing and qualifying the buyers who have the means to purchase.

We remain consistent with the tried and tested method of selling, which has proved to be successful. Our Realtors focus on qualifying buyers prior to taking an offer and are thereby able to present sound offers to our Sellers. Yes, we are in trying times and many Sellers may be hard pressed for a sale at any price. This does not mean that a Seller need resort to marketing which could give the impression of a desperate sale or a property at a bargain price.

We firmly believe - and our results bear testament to this - that professional Realtors who work smarter and thoroughly source all the necessary information specific to up-to-date market analyses plus the qualification of buyers needs, results in the best prices being achieved from the market in the current economy.
Why re-invent the wheel?

Denese Zaslansky
askdenese@firzt.co.za - 011 731 0300
Dear Denese... I am thinking of selling my home. Do you have any suggestions regarding what I can do to maximize my profit? Regards, Ms Hoffman

Dear Ms Hoffman

Everyone selling their home has the same goal: to make the most money possible from the sale. Setting up your home for a successful sales process does not necessarily involve making a large investment in terms of renovations. However, because potential buyers typically spend a mere three to four minutes looking at a showhouse, your objective should be to get them back to take a longer look. First impressions count, and you only have one opportunity to catch their attention.

Often small adjustments can make a significant impact on someone viewing a house for the first time. I suggest adhering to the following five principles – regardless of whether your home is 50m2 or 5 000m2.

• Avoid small objections - Fix up, touch up and brighten up in order to overcome the small objections that often result in low offers being submitted. Take the necessary steps to minimise a potential buyer from thinking about "all the things we have to do". Do not give a purchaser the opportunity to find flaws and think there is major work to be done – especially things that are cheap and easy to rectify. Change the light bulbs. Remove mould. Replace the broken mirror. Do not let people be diverted by areas of neglect.

• Create a sense of space - Critically review how you have positioned your furniture. Be mindful of blocking the access to a room. Eliminate pieces that make hallways appear narrow.

• Declutter - Hundreds of bottles in the bathroom are unsightly, as are piles of papers in a study. Keep some family pictures on show, but do remove those covering the fridge door. While tidying up is important, you need to achieve a balance: you do not want to create a "touch me not" experience – viewers need to enter your home and be greeted with the feeling of wanting to stay.

• Lighten up - Open curtains and blinds. Cut back plants that are blocking windows. These may seem like simple steps, but they make a difference – people generally describe their dream home as "light, bright, airy and open". So, if you have a fireplace, light it up in winter. Wash the curtains.

• Your home starts on the pavement - Do not underestimate the importance of the entrance. Does the front door need a coat of paint? Is there dead foliage? Colourful pot plants always make a positive statement. If the entrance is intriguing, buyers will want to see what lies beyond.

Buying a house is about emotion – you are "buying into" the emotions of the home – that is why it is difficult to sell an empty house. Potential buyers will envision themselves there, so try and view it from their perspective.

Good luck

Denese Zaslansky

Dear Denese, I have just decided to sell my property. Why must I disclose any defects in the property? Regards, JAN DU TOIT
An agreement of sale that protects both buyer and seller will contain a ‘voetstoots’ clause, which means that: The Property is sold voetstoots in the condition in which it stands and the Seller gives no warranty with regard thereto, whether express or implied. The seller has the “duty to disclose” any defects which are latent, in other words any defects which are not obvious. A latent defect is one which is hidden and not easily seen. Examples of latent defects are hidden damp, leaking pools and structural problems which can’t be seen with the naked eye. If the seller purposefully hides defects in the property, they will not be protected. This means that the voetstoots clause will not protect a seller who knows of a defect in the property and does not tell the buyer about the defect. Sellers should also be aware that the law goes even further than a simple failure to tell the buyer about a defect in that the voetsoots clause will also not protect a seller who tells a half truth, for example, saying that the oven was in good working condition while in fact the temperature only stays at a medium heat. I would advise that you fix as many of the defects as possible before selling the property, ensuring that the defect is repaired properly and not only covered up to look good. An added advantage of this is that the property becomes more marketable as a result of these efforts. Ensure that you discuss the condition of your property with the Realtor prior to commencement of the marketing process.
I purchased a home some six months ago and duly received the necessary Electrical Compliance Certificate. I am now relocating and will be selling my home. Will it be necessary for me to obtain an Electrical Compliance Certificate again, in order to sell?
Every user of an electrical installation, as the case may be, must have a valid Electrical Certificate of Compliance in respect of every installation. When any addition or alteration is effected to an electrical installation, after an Electrical Certificate of Compliance was issued, the user must obtain either a Electrical Certificate of Compliance for the addition or alteration, or alternatively a new certificate for the whole installation. If your are sure that there were not any electrical additions/alterations, from the time the certificate was issued to the seller, prior to your occupation, nor effected by you or anyone on your behalf, you may provide an Affidavit that warrants that the electrical wiring is in the same condition as when the certificate was issued. In this instance, the original certificate can be passed from you to your purchaser. Thank you for your enquiry Robert, I trust that this has answered your question and wish you much success with the sale of your property.