Be Sure Before Putting Pen to Paper

Oct 29th, 2018 by Annalien in Advice to buyers, FAQs, Uncategorized

The offer to purchase is a purchase agreement which contains all the terms and conditions attached to the purchase of the property. Buyers cannot simply change their mind after signing an offer to purchase – this document is a legally binding contract.

Buyers need to be properly informed by the estate agent during the process of signing the offer about the risks and possible consequences of breaching a signed offer to purchase.   Once a buyer has found a home they like and can afford, they submit an offer to purchase to the seller, outlining:

  • the price they are willing to pay for the property;
  • the terms and conditions of the payment of the purchase price agreed upon;
  • and other conditions pertaining to the purchase of the property.

The buyer has the right to review the offer and ensure they understand and agree to all terms and conditions as set out in the offer,  before signing and submitting the offer to the seller.  Do not assume that additional buildings not directly attached to the property are included in the sale if not stipulated in writing in the agreement. Buyers beware:  confirm in writing exactly what the property includes before committing to signing the offer.

If the seller is happy with the price and other conditions and forthwith signs the offer submitted to him by the buyer, a legally binding sale agreement is in full force and effect, subject to fulfillment of the terms and conditions stated in the offer

The parties, property, price and payment and terms and conditions need to be clearly outlined in any offer to purchase agreement. Clauses dealing with breach of the contract are also included.  Should  buyers simply change their mind about wanting to buy a property, they may lose their deposit if they have put one down, as well as be liable for the estate agent’s commission. The seller may also be entitled to claim damages, and if the offer is already being processed by conveyancing attorneys, they may also claim costs from the buyer.  This could add up to a substantial sum of money; a very expensive change of mind!

Buyers need to be absolutely sure that:

  • they are happy with the state and location of the property,
  • can afford the property and associated costs and
  • are happy with the terms and conditions of sale as outlined in the agreement before signing it.

Should there be any uncertainty buyers should rather ask a legal professional to go over the contract with them to explain any terms they may not understand and double check that all parties’ interests have been accommodated.


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