Letter to the editor
In response to the article written in your newsletter of February 8 with the Title:” RE/MAX urges state to launch first-time buyer "package".

I absolutely agree with this article but would like to bring to the attenion of your readers the folowing:

Have your potential new house inspected !!

Why do I want to bring this point across?

When we are looking at buyer affordability we are looking at buying according to the budget of the consumer. This is relatively easy to do if you know all the costs involved. The problem how ever are the costs you did not schedule for, let’s call them surprises.

After you have finished all the legalities and you are now living in your new house you slowly start to find out more and more about this property and this is where the surprises come in. You now find a rotten widow frame behind the curtain, you now find damp in the wall at the back of the cupboard, you now find that the plumbing is actually leaking behind the tiles in the bathroom, you now find out that your roof is sagging and when you look into the roof void that some of the timber structure has broken etc , etc, etc.

These are all very common things that you don’t look at when you have fallen in love with this new property that you are now looking at buying. On average, people do not spend more then ½ hour in the house they are going to buy. Buying a house is an emotional decision but is the best decision made on emotion alone? Any big investment decision should be based on the FACTS.

How do you gather the facts? Get an independent property inspector in to write you a report with these facts. He is not blinded by emotion, he is unbiased, and he does not gain or loose anything by what he writes in his report. You now have all the facts, the good and the bad, of the property and now you can budget for all costs involved including the “surprises”.

What have we now achieved? We have empowered the consumer with all the facts so he can make an intelligent decision. He can negotiate the price to a more realistic level so the surprises also fit into his budget. All parties involved will have a happy deal and we do not have to talk about buyer regret anymore. And no more legal costs for years to follow.

Is this something new? No not really, this has been done in USA, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand for many years and South Africa is now following suit. Why? Because it makes all the sense in the world!

Does this only apply to “2nd hand” houses? No, I think we can all agree that South Africa has a shortage of skilled labourers. There for we have a problem and it becomes a big challenge to deliver a house according to the building regulations and not even speaking about workmanship defects.

These inspections should be done like you do an AA inspection on a car. Why is it done on cars which in generally have about 1/10th – 1/20th of the value of a house? Because you want to make sure that nothing is wrong with the vehicle you are about to buy. Yet is this generally done in the real estate industry? No.

Does this make sense? I leave it up to you, the reader to answer this question.

Kind regards,
Richard Hielckert
Dealer Principal South coast