Episode 15: The conveyancing process explained for first time home buyers.

Private Property South Africa
Private Property Reporter

An expert property attorney explains the transfer costs involved and the conveyancing process for those buying a home.

Presenter: And once again a very warm welcome back to your feel-good breakfast show, this is Express on SABC 3 and check it, it's drizzling, yeah some water, some rain here for us, we've been praying for it. Right now we're calling on all first time home buyers as we continue our series of giving you expert knowledge and information. And we talked about conveyancing which is the legal process of transferring ownership from the seller to the buyer and it's a process that starts off when your offer to buy is accepted and it ends when the keys are in your hands. But, of course, there's lots of nitty-gritties that can get in the way that can result in a couple of surprises that you might not have expected. It's time for us right now to get some expert advice. We'll be going through the journey of a first-time homeowner and the legal side of buying a home is not always the greatest but unfortunately a very important point that needs to paid attention to. We have attorney Lisa Boniface in studio to explain everything to us when it comes to conveyancing. Lisa, great to have you back on the show.

Lisa Boniface: It's awesome to be back, Sally.

Well, we're talking about conveyancing, what exactly is it?

Lisa Boniface: So conveyancing is the legal process whereby ownership in immovable property is transferred from one party to another party and obviously all other related aspects like registration of mortgage bonds and real rights.

So where exactly would you start this process?

Lisa Boniface: Okay, so the first step is receiving the instruction and that's by way of a Deed of Sale or an Offer to Purchase. Once the conveyancers have received the offer to purchase, we're all very excited, the estate agents earn their commission, the purchaser is going to be moving into a new home, and the seller is going to be paid out some proceeds. We do a deed search immediately and we just ensure that the property description is correct, the parties to the agreement are correct. Once that's been done, we then request security documents from our mortgage bondholder and these documents are your original title deeds and your mortgage bonds as well as existing cancellation figures from the banks. This is the amount of money that's still owing in respect of the loan on that property. So we need to ensure that the bank is covered for that amount of money that's still outstanding. It's then that we go to our local authorities and we obtain our rates figures. No transfer can be effected at the deeds office until such time as we have a Rates Clearance Certificate. Once that's been done, we ensure all our suspensive conditions have been fulfilled, the bond has been granted, there's any special conditions that have needed to be fulfilled we ensure that these have been done too. Then we pay SARS. There's transfer duty that's payable on any property that's being acquired. So SARS needs to be paid and a Transfer Duty Receipt needs to be received from SARS. Once we've got our Transfer Duty Receipts in place, we've got our Rates Clearance Certificate in place, we sign transfer documents with the purchaser and the seller and these include Powers of Attorneys and FICA declarations.

Lisa Boniface: Once our transfer documents are signed, our guarantees are in place, we've got the money in the bank, that's when we head to the deeds office and it sits at the deeds office for seven to 10 days so yeah and it goes through three different examiners. And once the matter is on prep, the conveyancers ensure that the purchase is paid by way of guarantees or it's been paid sitting in our trust accounts and we then giving instructions to our lodging agent to register the matter. We have registration, transfer of ownership has taken place, we then as conveyancers will do a reconciliation of finances, we'll pay out an estate agent their commission, and then essentially pay out the seller their proceeds.

Okay, so basically everything happens through conveyancer but I want to know also, this seems like such a lengthly process. How long does it take before you can actually move in, generally that period?

Lisa Boniface: Okay, so Zoe it all really depends on the contractual obligations of the parties and obviously, the cooperation of the parties is also very important. So it's how quickly you go and approach your attorneys and you sign up documents, how quickly you pay your transfer cost and if there's any special conditions in regards to, in respect of the deal, if you fulfill those timelessly. So it all just depends but on average six to eight weeks for a deal to go through.

Lisa, thank you so much for coming through to share all of that, it's a lot of information to process but I think the important thing is to know that conveyancing is a good thing, the process is moving along and you're almost moving into your new home. Well, don't miss your feel-good breakfast show and don't miss out on the final stages of our buyer's journey of buying their dream home.

Whether it's your first apartment in the city, a trendy suburban townhouse, or that dream family home on the Golf Estate, there's a home for everyone on Private Property.

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