To be considered for a position with SA Home Loans, please fill in the information required on the following pages, provide us with details on your previous employment, and submit your application.
Our highly experienced personnel will assess your application and contact you should further information be required.
Please note: The information supplied will be used strictly for recruitment purposes and is subject to our Privacy Statement.
To disclose or not to disclose...that is the question
The seller wants his home sold as quickly as possible for as much as possible. This could lead to hasty interviews and little or no property inspection by you, the agent, in order to get the sale concluded. Sound familiar?
When faced with time pressure, it’s tempting to sell quickly, using the voetstoets clause to give the seller and you some form of comfort. This can be easily justified – after all, you have an open day for the buyer to view the property and you also ensure that the buyer may return with spouse, family and friends for future arranged visits. So they have plenty of opportunity to inspect the property.
And this is perhaps the problem: a lot of responsibility is placed on the buyer to inspect the home and familiarise themselves with every nook and cranny. However, the buyer is not, in normal circumstances, an expert in the building industry and may not know what to look for...or where to look.
You don’t want to create a situation where a potential buyer avoids a show house, based solely on who the mandated agent is. However, this is possible if their interaction from a previous dealing was so poor that it tarnished the prospective buyer’s experience.
For information, here are the dictionary definitions:
Voetstoets – “as is” – denoting a sale in which the vendor is freed from all responsibility for the condition of the goods being sold.
Disclosure – the act or instance of disclosing, exposure or revelation
Latent defect: a defect in an article sold that is not apparent after ordinary inspection by a 'reasonable man'.
Patent defect: a defect that is, or should reasonably be, easily identifiable upon inspection of the goods or property.
Patent defects are those that one assumes will be seen and possibly won’t create too much of a fuss. Some simple examples: missing or broken window panes and broken gutters.
It’s the LATENT defects that are causing the real stir, however, because if a defect is discovered, the buyer would have to prove this was known to the seller prior to the sale and that the seller purposefully hid the information.
So, to avoid any claims of misrepresentation, the seller must declare all known defects on an annexure for both the buyer and seller to sign. Should a defect arise thereafter, the seller and the agent can be assured that the latent defect was not known at the time of the sale.
While preparing and researching for this article I came across an interesting article ( “Hammurabi’s Code on Liability for Latent Defects" in Josh Blackman’s Blog – www.joshblackman.com) The article mentioned Hammurabi’s code. This was a constitution of sorts used 3800 years ago and had a few laws for building. Here are some excerpts:
Hammurabi’s code— now about 3,800 years old— identifies the need to reestablish a symmetry of fragility, spelled out as follows:
"If a builder builds a house and the house collapses and causes the death of the owner of the house— the builder shall be put to death. If it causes the death of the son of the owner of the house, a son of that builder shall be put to death. If it causes the death of a slave of the owner of the house— he shall give to the owner of the house a slave of equal value.”
The punitive measures used in 1800 BC were harsh – and we can only assume this provided the incentive to builders not only to build correctly, but to also hand over completed buildings or projects after thorough inspections.
In current day South Africa, the law is not quite so harsh; however the consequences and the costs of not fully disclosing known defects are significant and can range from being required to make good the defect, offer financial compensation, or have the sale cancelled.
The key here is full disclosure upfront. This is not only legally required but also ethically correct - much like the SABC TV licence... “it’s the right thing to do” - as the knock on consequences, should there be linked sales, are significant to both parties.
So in closing, in my opinion, it would be advisable to thoroughly interview the seller and get full disclosure from him about what he is aware of that could influence the sale. Then disclose this on the Offer to Purchase, with acknowledgement in writing by the Buyer. The asking price can be adjusted to take this information into consideration.
Our apologies, our calculators are not supported by your browser.
Our apologies, our contact me form is not supported by your browser.