Home Buyers Guide 3: Making an offer to purchase

You’ve seen it, the house that ticks all the boxes. You visited it at several times of the day, you know that it’s close to everything you need and most importantly, it just feels right.

Now what?

Step 1. Declare your offer

Express your interest in making an offer to the estate agent or seller, and don’t be afraid to go below the asking price. Ordinarily, sellers are advised to make the price as high as possible as potential buyers are expected to offer something less. Not only does this give you a bit of wiggle room for negotiations, but it’s also a case of ‘you never know unless you ask’.

Step 2. Make a list

An Offer to Purchase is a binding agreement of your intention to buy the home, so take some time to ensure it includes everything you need it to. Before you sign anything, take a look around the property to see if there’s anything you want to be included in the sale. These items must be stipulated in your offer. From small things like garage remotes and pool cleaners, to larger or more prominent items like blinds, ovens or gas stoves. Be sure to be very specific and detailed.

Step 3. Do the paperwork

The Offer to Purchase contract is a legal document that contains all of the details of the sale, including the amount you’re offering to the seller. It’s important that you read through it carefully, as there are several clauses and stipulations included that you don’t want to miss:

  • Occupation date – Should your offer be accepted, you must stipulate the date you’ll be moving in or when the property is transferred into your name. It means that should the sellers still be in the house after this date, they’ll then pay you an agreed-upon occupational rent until they’ve moved out.
  • Offer expiry date – Put some pressure on the seller to make a decision by including an expiry date on your offer. This way you won’t be left waiting for a response and can move on if your offer is rejected.
  • Deposit – Some buyers pay a deposit to show that they’re really interested in the property. If this is the case, it must be included in the Offer to Purchase contract. The amount in question must be held in an interest-bearing account until the transfer is complete, which is when the recipient will be entitled to it.

It’s important to remember that a 72-hour clause is often included in these documents. This means that the seller is allowed to look for other applicants to buy. And, if the seller accepts another offer, the original buyer has 72 hours to meet the requirements.

When properties are valued at R250 000 or less, a cooling off period is automatically included as part of the Consumer Protection Act. This means that the buyer can withdraw their offer within five days of submitting it.

Step 4. Sign and wait

Once you’ve read through the Offer to Purchase and made your stipulations, it’s time to sign on the dotted line. The seller will inform you whether your offer has been accepted within the time frame you stipulated. Until then, it’s simply a waiting game.

Our next post covers the necessary steps required should your offer be accepted. How exciting!

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