4 common mistakes when selling your home

Whether you’re selling your home for the first time or you’ve done it all before, it’s easy to get caught out by a few common pitfalls. That’s why we’ve put together this guide on four common mistakes and how you can avoid them.

August 27, 2019

Not declaring defects

One of the biggest mistakes sellers make when selling a property is not declaring defects relating to the property being sold. This can land you in a difficult situation even after the property has been registered in the new owner’s name.

Most agreements of sale will contain a ‘voetstoots’ clause. In short, this clause stipulates that the property is sold ‘as is’. However, what sellers sometimes overlook is that this clause does not offer protection to a seller who neglected to declare defects related to the property which he or she was already aware of.

The best way to avoid any issues caused by this, is to complete a comprehensive defects list and provide this to the buyer as an addendum to the sale agreement. This ensures that all parties have the most current and relevant information relating to the property being transferred which will then avoid any later disputes.

Not giving notice to the bank of your intention to cancel your mortgage bond

Most banks require a notice period of 90 days to be provided in order to cancel a bond. If the necessary notice period is not provided by the seller, penalties may be imposed by the bank.

In some cases, this results in delays in property transfer and registration as a seller may instruct the transfer attorney to only proceed with registration of the property once the 90-day notice period has passed. Naturally, these delays will affect both the buyer and the seller and can cause significant inconvenience.

It is therefore advisable to contact your bank and to give them notice of your intention to cancel the mortgage bond when you place the property on the market.  

Not carrying out necessary maintenance or repairs

Neglecting to perform regular maintenance on a property can have a negative impact when it comes time to sell. A property that is neat, well maintained and in good condition will likely be easier to sell than a property which will require the buyer to invest in maintenance or repairs. It is also more likely that a buyer will agree to the asking price or a sum close to this if it is clear that no additional funds will need to be set aside for maintenance after registration has taken place.

Be sure to attend to the general upkeep of your property, and before putting it on the market, perform a thorough assessment to determine any maintenance or repairs that might need to be carried out in order to give you the best chance of a successful sale.

Pricing the property incorrectly

There is a delicate balance when it comes to setting an asking price for your property.

Price it too low and you run the risk of not being able to cover all your related expenses, including bond settlement and estate agent commission. Price it too high, and the property will not attract the right attention and can quickly become a stagnant listing on the market.

According to Property24, some pricing pitfalls to watch out for are overpricing, disregarding recent home sale prices, not being open to negotiation and not taking advice from estate agents.

To avoid these, first do your research on the current property market and get a valuation by an estate agent in order to determine a reasonable market related price for your property. Then, make sure you do a thorough assessment of your finances and costs that you will incur in order to determine the value of proceeds you require from the sale. Based on all these factors, you will be able to determine a reasonable and profitable asking price for your property.

Written by Wessel de Kock

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