Check offer to purchase details before signing

Before putting in an offer to purchase after viewing a property, buyers should check in detail what it is they’re actually signing for, says sales manager of SAProperty.com, Cornel Haskins.

“When you see the property – possibly walking through it a few times – it would probably have been furnished with the seller’s belongings. It’s possible that some features of the home might not be left behind or are not permanent fittings or fixtures, so you must ask if there are any items that will be removed or mention items of interest before signing the OTP.”

A fixture is defined as any item that is permanently attached (fixed) to real property. While there is no legal definition of what constitutes a fitting, however, it is generally considered that ‘fittings’ are items that are freestanding or are easily removed.

“A chandelier might be a family heirloom, which is not to remain, and the sellers will be replacing it with an alternative when they move. The buyer might assume it comes with the home, which would cause a dispute later,” says Haskins.

“A typical example of what might be deemed as a fixture in a home and part of the kitchen, is a preparation island in the middle of a kitchen. But on closer inspection it might be found that it is on castors and is designed to be moved. The sellers have possibly commissioned this to be built and might not leave it in the home when they vacate it, as they see it as an item of furniture and not part of the property,” says Haskins.

Other items that one might assume remains in the home could be things such as the burglar alarm, solar heating system, air-conditioning units, wendy house, shelving (which might not be fixed to the walls but appear to be so), pool equipment, or safe, to name a few.

“If the sellers choose to remove items that seem to be part of the permanent structure, they need to specify this in the purchase agreement and should replace them with suitable alternatives. Ideally, the home should not go on show where there are items that the sellers will be removing when they move out.

“Buyers should inspect the home room by room, and any item that might be removable, but they would like to remain should be included in the purchase agreement in a checklist. If items are ticked off as ‘included’ or ‘excluded’ misunderstandings between the buyer and seller are avoided. The transaction will be straightforward as all the parties know exactly what they have signed for,” says Haskins.

Call Cornel Haskins on 076 130 5758 or email cornel@saproperty.com.