Conveyancing Process

Private Property South Africa
Denise Simpson

Conveyancing describes the legal process whereby a person, closed corporation, company or trust becomes the registered and lawful owner of fixed property and thereby ensures that such ownership cannot be challenged.

A Conveyancer is an Attorney who has passed the National Conveyancing Examination, and by law, is the only person deemed to register fixed property transfers.

The seller usually nominates the Conveyancer to act on his behalf to handle the

transfer process.

In order for the transaction to take place a written agreement of sale needs to

be signed by both buyer and seller, with all suspensive conditions being met.

The following procedure will take place:

Deeds Office Search

This will identify the details of the property, the current legal owner, any

bonds held over the property, and details of any interdicts.

Preparation of Documentation

The following documentation is needed by the Conveyancer:

  • A Power of Attorney to pass transfer, which will empower the Conveyancer

    to enact the transfer on the seller's behalf.

  • Declaration of marital status, identity number and insolvency.

  • Transfer Duty and Value Added Tax (VAT) declaration.

  • A Rates Clearance Certificate from the relevant Municipality. If the

    property is sectional title, this will need to be obtained from either the

    Body Corporate or Managing Agent.

  • Cancellation figure if there is a bond on the existing property.

  • Call for the Title Deed.

Electrical Compliance Certificate

It is legislated that an electrical compliance certificate must be obtained with

each transfer of immovable property after 1 January 1994. The cost of this must

be born by the seller.

Buyer's Bond

If the buyer has obtained a mortgage bond for the balance of the purchase price

(or in many cases for 100% or even up to 108%), the bank concerned will instruct

the Conveyancer to draw up all documentation required for the client to sign.

The bank will also annotate any special conditions that need to be adhered to

prior to registration. A guarantee of funds available will need to be obtained

from the bank issuing the new bond.

Costs

All costs relating to the transfer of fixed property need to be paid prior to

registration of transfer and will include the following:

  • Transfer Duty or VAT, depending on the transaction.

  • Rates and levies to paid up to date by the seller.

  • Conveyancing fees - two sets of documentation are drawn up if there is a

    bond in place and this cost must be paid by the buyer.

  • Bond cancellation costs, if applicable (payable by the seller).

Deeds Office Procedures

The Conveyancer will lodge the documents they have prepared with the Deeds

Office for registration. If a mortgage bond is to be registered or cancelled,

the Conveyancer attending to the registration of the bond will lodge their

documentation simultaneously with the transfer documentation.

Two examiners in the Deeds Office will then examine the documents to ensure that

they comply with all the relevant legislation and regulations. Once all

documents are found to be in order and ready for registration, they are executed

by the Conveyencer approximately eight working days after being lodged with the

Deeds Office. On registration, the buyer becomes the legal owner of the

property. Approximately one month after registration, the Title Deed will be

released from the Deeds Office reflecting the new ownership. Normally, if there

is a mortgage bond, the financial institution will keep the Title Deed in safe

custody.

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