Pitfalls lie in wait for the seller who tries to avoid using an agent

There is, says Tony Clarke, MD of Rawson Properties, a growing number of desperate buyers on the hunt for the “eternal bargain”, who try and persuade sellers to avoid using estate agents so as to cut out paying the sellers commission.

These approaches are sometimes accompanied by a proposal that the official sale price be reduced so as to bring down transfer duty - or even avoid paying it altogether (properties below R500 000 do not pay this duty). The buyer will undertake to pay the seller in cash for the difference between the official and the real price.

Clarke warned that anyone involved in a loaded deal of this kind is likely to find that the conveyancer (who has to process the sales agreement) will pick this up and that he is then liable to be charged with fraud even if he did not initiate the proposal.

Clarke warned sellers that not using an agent can result in a fraudulent sale and that many pitfalls can lie in wait for DIY sellers.

The first, he said, is that the criminal element out there sometimes use home viewings (supposedly for sale purposes) to suss out the security and goods in a home. A good agent, he said, will identify the buyer and pre-qualify him – but the average homeowner is not equipped to do this.

Then, too, sellers should be warned that if his already appointed agent can show that in any way, e.g. by advertising he brought about the introduction of the seller to the buyer or helped achieve the sale, he will still in law be able to claim commission.

Inexperienced sellers, too, often have great difficulty in assessing whether their buyer will in fact be granted a bond. It can, says Clarke, be horribly frustrating to agree to a sale subject to the buyer getting a bond only to find 20 to 30 days later that he does not qualify.

“A reputable agent will know the National Credit Act criteria and will always pre-qualify his buyer by going through his financial position with him.”

Similarly, said Clarke, it can be frustrating to agree to sell on condition that the buyer sells another home, say within 30 to 60 days, at a specified price – only to find that that this is an unrealistic expectation. Again, a good agent will have realised that the buyer’s sale price is too high.

If the seller does do a deal directly with a buyer he should, says Clarke, insist that the deposit is paid as soon as the suspensive conditions are met, e.g. when his bond is approved.

This will prove the buyer’s commitment and will prevent the all-too-common experience of his walking away from a deal even though he has signed.

“All in all,” said Clarke, “it usually pays to work with a reputable agent – but if you are determined on a DIY deal: take good care to avoid breaking the law or being cheated.”

Article by: www.rawsonproperties.com