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Property Inspections for Buyers or Sellers

External Gutter & Downpipe InspectionWhether you plan to buy, sell or stay where you are for now, a home inspection can be a valuable tool in different situations.

Though the housing market in SA is up and down, and having a home inspection done is still a relatively new thing in SA, Richard Diesel, Certified Home Inspector and owner of Independent Property Inspections in the Southern Cape, is still in the midst of his busy season.

As he explains, “The purpose of a home inspection is to identify the condition of the home, especially defects, safety and health issues that would affect the buyer’s decision or could cause health problems to home owners.”

While Richard recommends a full home inspection for potential buyers, he also suggests considering other kinds of specialist inspections such as, 

Snag list inspections, Moisture & Mould Inspections, Maintenance Inspections etc., which are all separate.

For instance, “If you are building or doing alteration off plan or buying a newly built home, a list of all the snags is essential prior to you making your final payment to the contractors.” he says.

His most prevalent find during full inspections is damp problems. Structural and geyser issues found in the Attic are common, as well. Sometimes damp in the lower parts of the walls can be resolved by extending the downspouts or increasing the slope around the house to drain water away from the foundation or just reseal the shower floor. These issues can easily be located with the state of the art equipment, Thermographic imagery(Infra-Red).

Whenever selling, it’s smart to stay ahead of the game.

It’s very important for the seller to do a pre-listing inspection to identify items that can easily be fixed,” says Richard. “It might not be anything major, but first-time and overseas buyers can get overwhelmed by too many small issues.”

It is the inspector’s job to describe and identify those problems,” says Richard.

A maintenance inspection is an option for anyone not planning a move that has lived in the same house for years without a thorough check of its overall condition.

A lot of issues might relate to the exterior that people don’t see every day,” says Richard. “Over time, they can really create a very expensive problem.”

Though some homeowners have parts of their property checked regularly, Richard says it’s not a bad idea to have a damp, plumbing and electrical inspection conducted to look for problems once a year. He has discovered everything from extremely high levels of mould, due to bad ventilation, during a visit to a friend’s house to a leaking toilet while working and a hot wire at a plug due too current over loading…

Buyers are becoming street wise in making much wiser and informed decisions before entering into a sale agreement.

Many sellers are starting to cotton onto the added benefit of having a home inspection done pre-listing and then using the report as their “Disclosure Clause” and bargaining tool.

Staging homes and making major repairs in advance helps them sell,” says Richard.

Everybody is more aware of big issues like roofing, but it could be the small foxes that damage the bank account”.

Still, he says, “On average, there are still lots of hidden problems and minor problems that can become major.”

He hopes that soon all the players in the real estate game will have a change in mindsets and sellers and buyers can progress with confidence in concluding quick problem free deals.


house_inspectionBuyers should be aware of what “voetstoots” means

When you buy a house you are going to be asked to sign an offer to purchase. Included in that pre-printed “offer to purchase form” which you will be asked to sign will probably be a “voetstoots clause” or “as is” clause.

The implications of voetstoots are SERIOUS.

As a buyer you should be aware that the moment you sign that offer to purchase with the voetstoots clause in, you sign away most of your rights as a buyer.

Don’t assume that the property has been thoroughly inspected. In practice estate agents are NOT qualified or equipped to do a thorough house inspection. You can safely assume that neither the agent or the seller have not climbed into the roof cavity, nor onto the roof to inspect the property properly.

Don’t think that the seller has disclosed all the defects in the house. The seller is simply not qualified to know about all the defects.

Be warned: When you sign a voetstoots clause you sign away your rights. Voetstoots protects mainly the seller.

Here is how buyers can protect themselves

The only way you can balance your rights as a buyer is to get an Independent Property Inspector to conduct a Comprehensive Inspection of the property prior to finalising the offer.

In fact, we suggest buyers should make their offers conditional to a satisfactory home inspection report compiled by an ‘independent’ accredited property inspector.

Because this voetstoots practice has been entrenched into the South African market for decades does not make it right. Voetstoots is only fair if this clause in the agreement is counter-balanced with a home inspection clause. The voetstoots clause is there to protect the seller and you need the home inspection clause to protect you the buyer.

Let IPI give you a free home inspection quote. All you need to do is provide us with a few details of the property to be inspected by clicking here and complete the ‘Book an inspection’ page.

Are Property Inspections Really Necessary?

Image47Buying a house, especially if you are a first-time buyer, is both nerve-wracking and extremely expensive. It may prove to be the biggest and most expensive investment of your lifetime. One might feel comfortable in assuming that it is a good buy and yes you and your family ‘love’ the house, after all you looked at it quite a couple of times and all involved in the sale told you what a bargain it is!

This assumption might prove wrong as many home buyers have experienced that their “Dream Home” turned out to be a “House of Horrors”.

It is sad but true, most home buyers get so caught up in the pressure of negotiating the price of the home, securing a deposit and a bond that they don’t even stop to think about the benefits of getting an Independent Home Inspection done. A bank inspection is not a home inspection, a bank inspector assesses whether the home as an asset justifies the bond amount requested.

Purchasing a property is a large investment. In fact, for many it’s the largest financial investment they will ever make. For this reason it is important that buyers take their time and give their decision the necessary consideration that it requires.

As many as 99% of buyers of pre-owned homes sold in South Africa buy without professional independent third party advice about the physical condition of the buildings.

The house looks amazing – but what about the things you can’t see? What are the hidden costs? What if you buy someone else’s problem?

While skipping the home inspection may be tempting, home buyers may later regret not having been aware of the actual condition of the house, below the surface, before finally committing to the purchase.

Few would risk buying a pre-used car without an independent inspection so why risk your life savings on a property that you can’t be sure about?

“Very often distraught home buyers contact me – after they have bought the house, moved in and only then discovered problems that was not visible to the naked eye. At this point however, it is usually too late for most practical purposes to sort out the problem without incurring huge costs,” Richard remarked.

Can Moisture, Damp and Mould in my House affect my Health?

Thermal Imaging Home Inspection

Infrared inspections of your home shows what you cannot see.

Yes, if you have moisture in your home it translates into damp and mould and you are more likely to have respiratory problems, respiratory allergies, allergies, sinusitis or asthma. Damp and mould can also affect your immune system making you more vulnerable to colds and other illnesses.

Do you wake up with headaches, blocked nasal passages or constantly suffer from headaches?

Who can be affected? Some people are more sensitive than others but it has been proven that the following people are more receptive to moisture and mould infection:

  • Babies and Children

  • Elderly people

  • Those with existing skin problems, such as eczema.

  • Those with respiratory problems, such as allergies, sinusitis and asthma.

  • Those with weakened immune systems

These people should avoid moisture infected damp and mould areas.

How does this affect your health?

Moulds produce allergens (substances that can cause an allergic reaction), irritants and sometimes toxic substances. Inhaling or touching mould spores may cause an allergic reaction such as sneezing, a runny nose, red eyes, headaches, skin rash and can cause asthma attacks.

Causes of moisture, damp and mould.

Damp and mould are caused by moisture intrusion. Moisture in homes can be caused by leaking pipes, faulty geyser plumbing, rising damp from wet outside soils, basements, ground floors or rain intrusion due to a damaged roof or wrong gutter configurations, deteriorated window chalking and also poor home or Attic (Roof and ceiling) ventilation as well as build-up of Condensation.

Newly built homes or extensions or alterations to you home might have excess moisture indoors caused by plaster on walls or floors that have not dried sufficiently.


What do I do when I notice these symptoms and suspect moisture intrusion in my home?

If damp, moisture and mould is a problem in your home, or you suspect it because of the mentioned health ailments of your family, you should contact ipi to conduct a moisture inspection and determine where the problem is and how serious the moisture intrusion is.

The key to Damp and Mould control as well as better health is Moisture Control.

We suggest that you get an IPI inspection (NO OBLIGATION) quote by clicking   http://ipinspect.co.za/contact-us/. This includes a complete moisture inspection as well as a written report comprising of narratives and photos using sophisticated moisture detection equipment and Thermographic (Infra-Red Camera) confirmation as well as a Certificate of Inspection

Once you receive our quote you can decide whether to use our services. You are under no obligation. 

ipi Are Specialist Independent Property Inspectors

We cover the Western Cape and Garden Route from Riversdale to Plettenberg Bay

Click Here To Book Your Property Inspection