Handing Over Your Property to Your Purchaser

Moving out of your property is hard work, not to mention stressful. There are a thousand and one arrangements to make, and things seldom go according to plan.

When you find the property you are moving into isn’t in the condition you expected it, you have a sense of humor failure. If only your seller had handed over their property to you in the same condition you’d left yours….

This is a problem often encountered, and it takes away the pleasure and excitement a buyer should experience when they move into their new home.

So just what are your obligations as a seller? Simply put, the property must be handed over in the condition the purchaser viewed it at the time of purchase, or better.Clean-House

That means the house needs to be cleaned, the garden neat with cut grass and a clean pool. The oven should be cleaned, and the bathrooms just as you’d expect to find them if you moved into a house. It’s really not cool to expect someone to bath in your grime….

If something broke or got damaged since the sale was concluded, it needs to be fixed. Your purchaser is expecting to receive the property he paid for, with its fixtures and fittings, in good working order. Imagine you buy a second hand car and the windscreen has a crack across it that wasn’t there when you signed for it….

What may you remove from the property? Anything that is fixed to the property stays, unless it’s been specifically excluded – like a DSTV dish. A double garage door will have 2 remotes – one for each car. The keys – all the keys, need to be handed over. If there is a built-in bar then it stays, as well as the bar stools (there is case law on this), unless the stools have been excluded in the contract. Pool cleaning equipment stays (and swap the new Kreepy with the old one in the garage). And the municipal rubbish bin stays with the property!

What happens if the property was rented out, and the tenants don’t leave the property in the condition it should be. Unfortunately the seller is responsible to rectify these issues. As the landlord, he will have recourse to recover these costs from the tenant, but in the interim the seller needs to make good the property for the purchaser to take occupation.

Oh, and by the way, it’s not OK to leave the junk you don’t want. It’s unbelievable what we see as agents sometimes. All the old junk just left there for the buyer to deal with. And rubbish too.Mujer con una casa en las manos

Carpets should be professionally cleaned. It’s not a law (unless it’s in the lease or sale agreement), but it’s good etiquette. Especially is this true if you’ve had pets. When pets leave a property the fleas hatch. That’s not OK if you’re just moving in.

In short ask yourself: if I was moving into this property what would I expect? Moving into your new home is a thrilling experience. If everyone does their part we can keep it that way.

Steve Caradoc-Davies
Principal of Harcourts Platinum, and Director of Harcourts South Africa

Email your real estate question to steve.cd@harcourts.co.za.

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