Make occupation arrangements in writing

A successful home sale is usually cause for celebration, but a change to the occupational arrangements post-sale can quickly sour relations between buyer and seller and result in ugly disputes.

So says Homenet CEO Martin Schultheiss, who notes that such disputes usually arise because either the buyer or the seller has changed the original arrangements set down in the occupational clause of the sale agreement arbitrarily and without mutual consent.

Says Schultheiss: “Such disagreements don’t usually stem from any hidden agendas. For example, it often happens that a seller simply finds a new home sooner than expected and, thinking he is doing the buyer a favour, offers to move out before the date stated in the sale agreement.

“However, unless the buyer has agreed to the possibility of such a change in the sales agreement and can accommodate the early transition, the property could be left standing vacant, which, needless to say, is an open invitation to intruders and of course a potential souring of relations between buyer and seller.”

Another scenario that may upset the proverbial applecart is that of the buyer attempting to secure an earlier occupation date to coincide with the end of the agreement for the property he has been occupying up to that point.

Again, such an eventuality should be provided for in writing and the seller might decide not to accommodate the buyer, forcing him to make alternative and possibly costly arrangements in the interim, again resulting in strained relations and possibly even legal disputes.

Schultheiss says that transparency and contingency planning are key to avoiding such a situation.

‘’Both parties need to understand completely the original occupation clause before signing anything and the estate agent facilitating the deal must ensure that both the buyer and the seller are familiar with the terms stipulated and their implications.

“Should either the buyer or seller wish to change the arrangements afterwards, they should then approach the same estate agent who will draw up an appropriate addendum to the agreement and get it signed by both parties.”

Article from: www.homenet.co.za