PIP: promise and pitfalls

In the current property market, what may appear as an opportunity could be a costly exercise, if you don’t know the rules of the game. The price gain on purchasing properties which have been foreclosed on by the banks may come at an undisclosed cost. Before venturing into this lucrative market segment — properties in possession and sale in execution — be aware of its restrictions and shortcomings.

Properties sold on auction on instruction by a creditor are termed 'sales in execution'. The auction will attract many bidders, including someone representing the creditor, who often bids for the property for and on behalf of the creditor, up to the loan amount outstanding. Where the creditor wins the bid, the property is repossessed. This stock in the creditors’ hands is known as 'properties in possession' (PIP).

An irrevocable offer

Should you purchase a property at an auction, you will have to pay the auctioneer’s commission and a 10 percent deposit upfront. When you bid at an auction, you are making an unconditional and irrevocable offer on the property. If your bid is the highest bid and there is no reserve price, you will be liable to take transfer of the property as the sale agreement is not subject to any suspensive conditions. Hence, if you require mortgage bond finance, you must be sure that you qualify for such finance. Should you not be able to raise the required finance, you may forfeit your deposit and the auctioneer’s fees already paid.

Other additional costs of purchasing a property sold under a sale in execution include transfer duty, transfer costs, bond registration costs (if applicable) and payment of all outstanding rates and taxes.

Properties in possession are less risky

Properties in possession are less risky. The bank has taken transfer of the property and because it is a VAT registered entity, you will not be liable for transfer duty. All arrear rates and taxes would have been paid for by the bank. You will only be liable for transfer costs and bond registration cost (if applicable). Furthermore, some banks even offer 100 percent bonds on properties in their possession.

The banks market properties in possession, not at the debt outstanding in their books, but at a market related value. Furthermore, these properties in the banks' books are very costly to maintain. Hence, the banks are open to offers, but be aware that because of their internal rules and regulations, your offer may take a while to be accepted or negotiated. Offers must be made on the bank’s official offer to purchase, but this document is a negotiable instrument, so don’t be afraid to amend or even delete certain clauses.

Properties sold 'voetstoots'

While both these categories of properties present brilliant opportunities for you to purchase properties below their existing market value, remember that they are often derelict, neglected and even vandalized. They are sold 'voetstoets' and you may have to spend a substantial amount of funds to bring them to a livable and marketable condition. Furthermore, you will also be liable to obtain an electrical compliance certificate.

Where possible arrange a viewing before purchasing properties in these categories so that you can establish the condition of the property. More importantly, you need to determine whether the property is vacant or not. Properties in possession or sold in execution come with no guarantees of vacant occupation and you don’t want to be saddled with eviction costs and long legal processes.

PIPs: beware the limitations

With the introduction of the National Credit Act, The Consumer Protection Act and even The Companies Act, we are not likely to experience these market conditions again in the near future. While we need to be aware of the opportunities that this presents, we also need to be aware of its limitations.

Article from: Property I africa