When buying a house in South Africa, there are certain steps that need to be followed in order for the sale or purchase to be effective.
Putting in an offer to purchase is just one of the steps of the process when buying property in South Africa.
However, there are certain offer to purchase conditions and pitfalls that buyers should be aware of. This article is part one of two, which discusses common pitfalls in offers to purchase in South Africa.
A suspensive condition refers to a clause within a contract that stipulates certain criteria that must be met in order for the contract to come into force.
In other words, suspensive conditions suspend the contract or agreement until all the conditions of the contract have been entirely fulfilled.
When adding suspensive conditions to a contract, it’s important that these conditions are clear and unambiguous.
Furthermore, a specific date by which or time period in which the condition must be fulfilled must also appear in the contract.
Guarantees are typically used to secure payment of the full purchase price, or a portion of it, upon registration of transfer in the Deeds Office.
Because numerous steps have to be followed before guarantees can be issued, the date for delivery of guarantees cannot be a date prior to or shortly after the granting of a home loan.
The recommended time frame for delivering of guarantees is 15-20 days after the granting of a home loan.
Expiry of Acceptance Period
Once an offer to purchase has been submitted, this offer remains open for a certain period of time, allowing the seller some time to accept or decline.
Offers that have been accepted after the acceptance period has expired are null and void.
If building plans are not available, and the seller is aware of it, the seller is obligated to disclose this information to the purchaser.
Suspensive conditions relating to the delivery of building plans can delay a transfer of property for an extended period of time.
Therefore, if such a condition is required, it’s important that the exact date by which the building plans must be provided is clearly stipulated.
When it comes to purchasing a home in a sectional title scheme or homeowner’s association, it’s important to be aware of their rules regarding pets.
This can be done by requesting a copy of the conduct rules, as well as any additional pet policies that may be in place.
Any purchaser who is interested in putting in an offer to purchase in such situations should obtain this documentation prior to signing the agreement, and receipt of the documentation should be acknowledged.
Where sectional title schemes are concerned, there are parts of the common property that are demarcated as “exclusive use areas”. These areas are for the sole use by the owner of a section in a sectional title scheme.
These areas are generally allocated in terms of the management or conduct rules, or they are held by notarial deeds of exclusive use areas.
An exclusive use area is a personal right and is attached to the owner of the property and not the property itself.
The existence of any exclusive use areas (EUA) should be made known by the managing agents before an offer to purchase or sale agreement is signed. This is to ensure that the EUA is included as part of the sale agreement.
If the seller of a property be registered as a VAT vendor, then it should be established whether the property for sale forms part of his or her VAT enterprise and if the sale will require the payment of VAT.
When it comes to buying a house in South Africa, signing an offer to purchase is just one of the steps of the purchasing process.
As a buyer of a home or property, it’s important to be aware of all the pitfalls that can show up in your offer to purchase and other areas of a sale agreement.
If you are looking to put in an offer to purchase on your dream home or property and would like legal assistance, please contact our attorneys in Cape Town and Johannesburg today.
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