Property for sale Direct from Owner

Three pitfalls to avoid when buying directly.

Owner Direct sales adverts are littered all over the internet.

I have always been in favour of an open market, especially if you, the purchaser, have all the time in the world to sift through the multitude of online adverts, a good 90% of which are never deleted when the owners sell the property, and are therefore outdated.

Time and patience apart however, there are still a number of hurdles ahead. In hindsight these pitfalls look obvious. Unless you are well prepared with a checklist, your emotions and pressure to act fast, can, and do get the upperhand.

Since there are many points to look out for, I am short listing these to the three most often overlooked , two of which concern "noise pollution", one of the greatest stress related causes.

The following apply to apartments.

1) Floorplan. Make sure to check whether the underlying, or overlying apartment has the same floorplan as the one you're interested in. If your living room overlies your neighbour's bedroom, you can be sure of complaints whenever you have people invited over for a get together. Likewise, if your neighbour's living room overlies your main bedroom, you might as well forget those quiet relaxed mornings over the weekend, or even worse, those occassional early nights when you're dead tired. Ideally, floorplans should be similar, or at least the living areas should all be on the front if the sleeping quarters are at the back, or vice versa.

2) Lifts/Elevators. If the apartment of your choice forms part of a large block, and you are on the ground or top floor, make sure you know where the lift's engine room is. If it is on the same level as the apartment, at least make sure that it does not lie on the other side of one of your bedroom walls. In a large block the lift will be working frequently and the engine constantly starting and switching off can drive you round the bend. Likewise, apartments on intermediate floors should be wary of their bedrooms sharing a common wall with the lift shaft, as over the years the lift cubicle descending and ascending is bound to start rattling. Most blocks have the stairwell wrapped around the shaft, however sometimes, especially in older apartments this is not the case.

3) Underlying Beams. I often come across people who have purchased an apartment in an old block and have not bothered telling their architect to check out the beams in the underlying apartment. Wooden beams may need worm treatment, and if the apartment you're interested in forms part of a new floor raised on top of an older block, then the underlying iron beams might be rusty since they would have spent a considerable amount of time beneath a roof exposed to the elements and without waterproof membrane till very recently. We are not necessarily talking of a ceiling cave-in here, but even a slight movement in the flooring could cause loosening of floor tiles and other associated problems.

If you feel you need to clarify any of the above, or want more information, feel free to email me. Anyone wanting to contribute with more points, feel free to add to mine using the "comments" button below.


Comments

  1. Anonymous1:49 am

    I am buying a ground floor flat in a block of 8. Do I have to pay for the lift upkeep? I will never be using it. I have a back yard where to hang clothes. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your contract should specify in what way the funds are raised to pay for the lift upkeep. If there is no mention of this in your contract then I would recommend getting a lawyer's opinion before taking a stand. The only instance where you would be 100% exempted from paying any maintenance is if it is stated so in black and white in your contract of purchase.

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