Selling a house is a big decision, and one that could have hidden costs.
This is according to Lolly Unterlsak, Property Consultant at Jawitz Atlantic Seaboard in Cape Town, who says sellers should be aware of all the costs involved, even the unlikely ones, before deciding to sell so as not to be unpleasantly surprised.
“Speak to a reputable estate agent and ask them about the costs specifically. That way you’ll be aware of any surprises before they come along,” says Unterslak.
“An estate agent should be able to put your mind at ease by highlighting the costs from the start to ensure an easy and pleasant sales experience.”
Unterslak discusses possible hidden costs for sellers:
- Agent’s commission and VAT
An estate agent charges commission on the sale of any property, and it is usually expressed as a percentage of the purchase price. Note, however, that this percentage excludes VAT. This total is the seller’s responsibility to pay.
- Compliance certificates
Compliance certificates are a legal requirement in order for a transfer to be registered. It is a seller’s responsibility to provide and cover the costs of electrical, plumbing, gas and, in some cases, beetle and electric fence certificates of compliance.
“Nowadays, there are companies that offer the full service so sellers only need to deal with one supplier,” says Unterslak.
Of course, should anything be non-compliant the cost of repairing it in order to obtain the certificate could also be an unexpected cost.
“Sellers should make sure they are in full compliance of the latest municipal bylaws in their area. In some cities, these bylaws change quite frequently, so keeping maintenance money aside to cover this would be a wise move,” says Unterslak.
- Occupational rent
In the case of the seller not being able to vacate the property on the agreed-upon date after the transfer, they will have to pay occupational rent to the new owners. Sellers should make provision for this expense in the event that their new property is not ready to occupy or make alternative accommodation plans.
“Make sure your new home is ready a few days in advance of the transfer so you won’t have to incur occupational rent,” says Unterslak.
- Moving costs
And finally, there are moving costs and the insurance needed to cover your belongings in transit.
“Sellers should also keep in mind the cost of physical storage, should the need arise to temporarily store any of your things until you take occupation of your new home,” says Unterslak.