First-time sectional title buyer tips

Here is some essential advice for first-time buyers considering sectional title properties.

If you are considering buying a sectional title property, you need a clear understanding of what shared ownership of common property schemes entails, including the legalities and owner responsibilities.

Most importantly, you need to understand that although the individual units are personally owned, the common property areas are all shared. You also need to be aware that you are buying into a community where the trustees and the body corporate are involved in decisions concerning the communal property.


Assess all costs: You need to be aware of all the costs relating to ongoing repairs and maintenance to common property. Ongoing shared costs will include your levy – a monthly contribution towards the running and maintenance of the complex or building – as well as municipal rates and taxes. There may also be unplanned shared costs, including funds needed for irregular maintenance or repairs, refurbishments and security installations.

Hidden costs: As with any property, hidden costs could include a deposit for the municipality to connect electricity and water in the unit. For a sectional title property, you also need to find out whether there are any renovations to common property in the pipeline that a new property owner may be required to contribute towards.


Insurance: Part of your levy will go towards the body corporate insurance. Units are usually covered for damage resulting from events such as fires, lightning, flooding and explosions. Permanent fittings like geysers and walls may be covered separately under the policy. Make sure you understand precisely what you will be covered for and if you are happy with any exclusions.


It’s important to understand the various obligations owners are expected to adhere to. These could include:

  • Ensuring that the property meets certain minimum standards, such as ablution facilities being functional with hot and cold running water.
  • Repairing and maintaining the structure of the property.
  • Making sure the property is properly insured.


Finally, it’s essential to research and fully understand the financial status of the sectional title scheme before submitting an offer to purchase.

Keep in mind the fact that as a prospective buyer, you have the right to access financial information from the body corporate or managing agents. You should also request the minutes of the last annual general meeting (AGM) to assess the scheme’s history.

Writer : Sarah-Jane Meyer

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