Building inspection before you buy

Three tips to avoid paying too much for the property:

1. Insist on seeing the title deed and council-approved plans.
2. Have a property inspection done to report on all property defects.
3. Consider the past characteristics of an area and future plans for the larger region.

 

1. View the title deed and ask to see a copy of the building plans.

Too often homes are sold without the buyer having cross referenced the structure against the existing building plans to ensure that it has been approved by the local council. It’s usually only when the new home owner begins the process of renovating, that he or she becomes aware of the fact that they have purchased an unapproved structure. This can have catastrophic repercussions down the line, both from a financial and timeline perspective.

What if part of a building is not approved by the local council?

At times title deeds contain restrictive rights of use and or a servitude, that you may be unaware of at the time of making an offer on a property.

Bore-holes; driveways and open spaces sometimes have shared rights-of-use (e.g. with neighbours) attached to the property deed. A governmental servitude can also be enforced such as power-lines overhead; electrical, sewerage or water pipelines running through or across the property.

 

2. Use only a highly qualified home inspector to report on all property defects.

The property inspection industry is currently unregulated, meaning even in situations where an inspection is conducted, the home buyer cannot be sure of the qualifications and knowledge of the inspector.

It is for this reason that we decided to establish Archicheck, where only qualified Architects who are registered with the South African Council for the Architectural Profession (SACAP), can issue prospective home buyers with a truly unparalleled inspection report.

Property inspections are a necessity, but beware of opportunistic service providers

Home owners often feel pressured to make hasty decisions in fear that they will lose out on the property, especially in Cape Town where the market is peaking. Home buyers are not given enough time to thoroughly check the property for flaws which will be unforeseen costs down the line. Call for an inspection of the property before making an offer to purchase.

Currently many home owners purchase their properties voetstoots without the knowledge that they can and should insist on an official inspection and report to protect their interests. This leaves the home buyer in a very precarious position down the line when functional or structural issues begin to arise.

It is important to remember that a buying property is a massive, long-term investment, so don’t be too hasty to commit to anything without having completed the necessary checks beforehand.

3. Consider contextual trends.

Looking at the national and local property values; Site Development Plans; proximity to commodities; proximity to transport networks; as well as prospects for gentrification, are all important factors to consider when finding the right location for your investment.

Site Development Plans (SDP’s) can give investors considerable insight into what may happen to the value of your property in the future.

Archicheck can attain SDP’s on your behalf

At your request, Archicheck can guide you as to what zoning is planned for the immediate surroundings, and what the rights-of-use are for any parcel of land which you may be interested in purchasing. Investigate, inspect and be informed.

Have all the right information to make an informed decision.

Archicheck a property today!