News from Nationlink

A home defect that only becomes apparent after an offer to purchase has been made will obviously come as a major disappointment to the buyer, who may have spent months looking for his “ideal” home. But it may not necessitate financial hardship, or cancellation of the deal.

“Even at this late stage, all is not necessarily lost,” says Dr Piet Botha, chairman of the Nationlink estate agency group.

"Bearing in mind that the sellers are probably just as anxious as the buyers to see the home transferred without any hitches, they may still be prepared to negotiate an adjustment of the price, or perhaps to pay for the newly-discovered defect to be repaired.

“Most will realise that if the current buyers pull out of the deal, they will have to disclose the now-known defect to any future buyers, and will thus probably achieve a lower sale price anyway.

“And most will definitely not relish the prospect of the legal action the buyers could instigate if they believe the defect was deliberately concealed from them in order to secure a higher offer.”

Botha warns, though, that the scope of the problem may be bigger than initially thought, and that a need for additional work may only become apparent once repairs have begun. “Thus the buyer who agrees to go ahead with the purchase at a lower price will have to be satisfied that the saving will cover the cost of all the work that needs to be done."