You are not behind on your bills… have some cash saved… have a steady job…and are ready to start investing in your future…

Property is generally a good investment, but watch out for the pitfalls before you buy. It is very important for buyers to do their homework.

The following tips can be given to potential home buyers :

1. It’s a good idea to get pre-approved finance . This gives you a better idea of what properties you can afford.

2. The purchase price is not the only cost involved. Do not forget to budget for transfer duty, attorneys fees, agents commission, moving costs etc.

3. Keep in mind that there are monthly expenses when owning a property. This includes your bond installment, insurance, taxes, water and electricity and so on.

4. Be aware of market-related prices in the area where you want to buy.

5. If you consider buying a sectional title property, make sure you know what the monthly levies are. It is also advisable to find out whether any special levies will be payable in the near future (there may be plans to paint the buildings).

6. Remember that a verbal agreement for the purchase and sale of property is illegal.

7. Before you sign, ask your Conveyancer (a lawyer with a further qualification) to peruse the Sale Agreement to identify any gaps or pitfalls and to clarify any clauses which you are unsure of.

8. Most contracts contain a “voetstoots” clause. This means that you buy the property just as it is, warts and all. It is normally used as a defence by the seller if a defect in the property is discovered after the conclusion of the contract. The new owner must then prove that the defect was deliberately concealed. This places the burden on the buyer to make sure that the property is in good condition. My advice is to do a proper inspection before you sign the contract. If you do not have the necessary expertise, get an independent architect or engineer to assist you. If any defects are discovered during the inspection, either make sure that it is included in the Sale Agreement and that the seller is responsible for the repairs or that the purchase price is reduced.

9. Get confirmation from the local authority that all municipal requirements are met in respect of the construction of the house (also regarding later additions). The onus is on the buyer, so ask for copies of approved building plans.

10. Ask for a copy of the title deed. Examine it or ask your Conveyancer to do it on your behalf. The title deed is proof that the seller is the owner and also indicate what conditions apply to the property. It is important to take note of this especially if you plan to build or renovate.

11. Once your offer to purchase is accepted by the seller, the Agreement of Sale comes into effect and you will be asked by the Conveyancer to comply with the terms and conditions contained in the contract.

12. Remember to make the Agreement of Sale subject to the approval of a mortgage bond in the event that you need to finance the transaction.

13. The estate agent is not a lawyer, tax specialist, engineer, electrician or plumber. Use the right person for the right advice.

14. Make sure the Agreement of Sale is subject to the acquisition of an entomologist’s Beetle Clearance Certificate and an electrician’s Electrical Certificate of Compliance and that the seller will be responsible for the costs involved.

15. If a deposit must be paid in terms of the Agreement of Sale, ask for it to be invested in an interest-bearing account. The interest earned thereon will be for your benefit.

16. The date of transfer and the date of occupancy sometimes do not coincide. If you take occupation before transfer, it is important to determine who will be responsible for rates, charges and insurance. Remember that if you take occupation and the transaction falls through, you will have to move out again!


1. People repeatedly make emotional choices when it comes to buying property. Stay objective and do not make hasty decisions.

2. Buyers every so often sign an offer to purchase without carefully examining and understanding the terms and conditions of the contract. This can lead to a myriad of problems. Consult a Conveyancer if you are unsure.

3. Buyers are often crestfallen because they did not properly inspect the property. The voetstoots clause then protects the seller against claims.

4. Regarding finances, buyers do not always do their homework – they would make an offer on a property that they actually can’t afford. This leads to them not being able to pay their monthly bond instalment and the bank will then repossess the property and sell in execution.

5. They do not read the title deed conditions. This could have disastrous consequences if the buyer intends to, for example, construct a second storey, but there is a condition that prohibits them to do so.

Contact us if you have any questions!