Buying

What to Expect From a Home Inspection in South Africa

The words ‘home inspection’ might not be words that you associate with fun, but in a lot of ways, it’s like test driving a car.

The only difference here is that you have a professional who is there to guide you and who will point out the different strong and weak aspects of the house.

A thorough home inspection can save you many thousands of Rands in the long run because potential problems are identified beforehand through this process.

Wouldn’t you feel relieved knowing ahead of purchasing your dream home that there won’t be any skeletons falling out of the closet once it’s registered in your name and have lived in it for a few months?

If you are a new home buyer, here are a few things that you can expect during your home inspection:

What a home inspector does

A home inspector takes a walk through the house, which lasts for 2-3 hours.

During this time, the inspector will do a top-bottom review of the house’s physical structure as well as its mechanical and electrical systems, including the ceiling, walls, floors, windows and doors. They will check the working order of the plumbing and any major appliances.

It’s also then that the inspector will take detailed notes of his findings and give you an objective opinion about the actual state of the house via his report (which will contain detailed photos & price repair levels).

What a home inspector does NOT do

The process can be seen as a general checkup; not an X-ray. Inspectors generally have a keen eye for detail, but they cannot detect the unseen.

Hidden pests and things like asbestos will probably not be picked up and you might have to call in a specific expert for that.

The goal of an inspection is to check whether the building is in good shape. They won’t tell you if you are getting a good deal for the price that you are paying nor can they determine whether the building is on par with building regulation.

They just help you gain the confidence you need to buy a house in a decent state.

The home inspection report

The report that you will receive will contain things like checklists, summaries, photos of the house and the longevity of appliances or plumbing in the house.

Let’s make one thing very clear here: a home inspection is not a PASS-FAIL exam.

Ask home inspectors for examples of their previous work and take note of that you will be getting out of the process. Home inspections aren’t extremely expensive, considering that you are making a lifelong investment.

Rates are usually between R2 500 – R3 500 for the average freehold property.

How to find a home inspector

South-African regulators are still figuring out whether it makes sense to make home inspections a requirement before buying a house.

Seek recommendations from your real estate agent, friends and family. It would be best to interview candidates before you pick one for the job because this is where you find out who has the most experience.

Be sure to get references from their previous clients so that you can determine which issues popped up AFTER the inspection occurred.

Be part of the process

It is always a good idea to be part of any process that involves your potential home, so get on board with the inspection.

You don’t have to crawl inside tight holes with him, but follow along where you can and take your own notes. They may just point out some great renovation tips along the way.

There’s no such thing as a perfect house, so, every house will have its imperfections and no inspector can predict what might happen in the future. Take the advice that he gives you and make an informed decision about the inspector’s findings.

This is, after all, going to determine whether you’re going ahead with the purchase of that particular property. Or not.

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