Conveyancing fees have increased

Private Property South Africa
Lea Jacobs

The recommended charge for conveyancing fees increased on 1 May and any conveyancing attorney who receives an instruction after this date will be entitled to charge more for their services

The recommended charge for conveyancing fees increased on 1 May and any conveyancing attorney who receives an instruction after this date will be entitled to charge more for their services. Although the increase is not that significant percentage wise, it could impact those who are working to a strict budget.

New conveyancing fees 2017

The costs relating to conveyancing an R800 000 property have risen from around R14 000.00 to R16 000.00. The increase for a home costing R1.5-million has risen from R19 250.00 to R22 300.00 and for a home costing R2-million, the fee has risen from R22 500.00 to R25 800.00. Conveyancing fees only form one aspect of the sales transaction however and buyers need to also factor in the conveyancers disbursements and transfer duty.

At this stage three specific examples of transfers duties would be:

For a home costing R800.00 or less – zero
For homes costing R1.5-million – R25 500.00
For homes costing R2-million – R60 500.00

It's important to note the conveyancing fee recommendations only serve as a guideline and it is up to the individual attorney or law firm to charge what they see fit, within reason. In other words, some conveyancers will charge less, and some may charge more.

It also needs to be stressed that conveyancing fees can increase if there are complications and this is because it will cost the attorney more in the form of disbursements in order to get the job done.

Alan Levy from Alan Levy Attorneys, Notaries and Conveyancers in Sandton, Johannesburg explains:

“The pro forma statement of account given to clients will include the transfer/bond registration fees, the transfer duty payable to SARS (if applicable), as well as all disbursements on the transfer. The amounts charged for disbursements varies from firm to firm.”

Sellers usually nominate the conveyancing attorney. This makes perfect sense given that the buyer is obliged to pay the transfer fees, and meet any suspensive conditions including ensuring that finance is in place. It gives the seller some element of control and therefore peace of mind knowing that the appointed person has his or her best interests at heart. This, however, doesn't mean that a buyer can't suggest using a different attorney. Many sellers don't have a preference and could well agree to the buyer’s attorney of choice. However, sellers should be wary of using a buyer’s choice merely because they offer some sort of discount or because they are a friend of the buyer. The bottom line is that the best person for the job needs to be employed and choosing the ‘wrong’ attorney can delay transfer.

Levy notes:

“It generally pays to shop around, but when it comes to appointing a conveyancing attorney, the fee charged probably won't vary that much from firm to firm. Although homes are transferred every day, it’s still a complex, often complicated area of law. Sellers need to remember that not every attorney is qualified in this specialised field and should only appoint someone who has the required qualification or has a conveyancing department within his/her firm. Other questions to ask could include how well known is the conveyancer and is the firm well established? “

Private Property has a database of conveyancing attorneys that can provide buyers and sellers with expert advice.

Obviously, estate agents deal with conveyancers extensively and can also advise which attorney to use. Like the seller, they want the sale to go through as quickly and effortlessly as possible and will generally have built up a good relationship with several conveyancers in their area.

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