Things to look for in an Offer to Purchase

by Emile Grobbelaar

Offer to Purchase

Whether you are the Buyer or the Seller of a property, the Offer to Purchase is the most important document.  Too many people are in such a rush, they forget to read the contract and make sure all clauses are completed correctly.

If you are applying for a bond, make sure the following clause is added to ensure you are not stuck with an interest rate that is not within your budget:

“This contract is subject to and conditional upon the purchaser arranging finance suitable to himself.”

Make sure you check the date by when the bond must be approved.  If you do not have bond approval on the due date, the contract is null and void.  If the bond is going to take longer than anticipated, get your Agent to draw up an addendum extending this date so you do not lose the property.

If there is a tenant in the property and you do not want to make use of the services of the current letting agency, add the following to the contract:

“The Purchaser will be making use of their own Letting Agency and cannot be liable for any penalties charged by the current Letting Agency.  All penalties pertaining to the removal of the property from (Agency Name) will be for the account of the Seller.”

Most rental agencies have penalty clauses in their rental mandates, and these can be very costly.

If there is a tenant in the property and you want to occupy the property on transfer, make sure that the contract stipulates that you want vacant occupation on date of transfer. Ask for a copy of the lease agreement to make sure that you are not stuck with a tenant after transfer.


If the Seller agrees to occupation before date of transfer, always ensure that the occupational rental is stipulated in the contract plus any other costs that you could be held liable for. These could include insurance over the property, maintenance of the property or maybe even payment of the levy account.  It is always advisable to take occupation only once transfer has happened.

If there is an agent involved who needs to be paid commission, make sure that this is done correctly.  I suggest you fill in the exact amount due to the agent, plus whether or not this amount includes VAT.  The guideline rate of commission charged is 7.5% plus VAT, however, commission will often be negotiated with the agent, especially if the offer on the property is lower than the asking price. 

Fittings and Fixtures:

Check what is included in the sale and make sure these are listed on the contract.  Never assume that fittings and fixtures will remain.  List everything – from the TV aerial, DSTV Dish, stove, pool equipment, etc.  There could be a shed in the garden – check if this is to remain, then list this on the contract as well.  If you negotiate with a Seller for curtains or furniture to remain, make sure these items are listed in the contract.  If a dispute arises from any fitting or fixture that has been removed, the court will go back to the contract to see what was listed.

Check which Compliance Certificates are listed in the contract.  Most contracts make provision for all the Compliance Certificates – plumbing, electrical, beetle, gas and electric fencing.  Whichever Certificates are not needed, cross these out on the contract, otherwise you as the Seller will have to pay for these to be done.

Every part of the contract must be checked and completed.  Draw a line through anything in the contract that is not relevant.  Every single change, addition or deletion in a contract must be initialled by all parties.  A contract is only valid once everything is signed by all parties.

Remember, this is a binding contract – once you sign, you have agreed to the purchase of the property on the terms and conditions of the contract. 

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