How to choose the right conveyancer

Private Property South Africa
Tahir Desai

Ensure you deal with the right legal property specialist.

It is the prerogative of the seller to choose the appointed conveyancer for a property transaction. When you sell a property you must consider carefully if you want to entrust this important process of transferring your most valuable asset to an unknown conveyancer.

What we as conveyancers often encounter is the negotiation of the seller’s important prerogative, away from that of the seller to the appointment of the purchaser’s conveyancer. This is often done on a whim to justify a cost saving to the purchaser.

One often hears that the purchaser’s conveyancer can do the transfer at a discounted rate. Sellers must not accept this offer if they do not know the conveyancer or if they want their best interests protected. Often we find that the words, “This transfer shall be done by the seller’s conveyancers…” altered to, “This transfer shall be done by the purchaser’s conveyancers….”. Sellers must not hand their property transaction to an unknown conveyancer, because this conveyancer now exclusively represents the purchaser.

Sellers who are recommended to use a conveyancer must phone the conveyancer upfront to establish the relationship and to feel at ease. They must address the conveyancer on any potential concerns they have with the prospective sale, any conditions of sale that they feel are cumbersome, and especially if they are concerned about the conveyancing going to someone they have not heard of.

Sellers do not have to sign the offer to purchase immediately, especially if the irrevocability clause (the clause that determines when the offer expires) is open for a while. Allow the conveyancer to check the contract before you sign it to ensure the transfer of your most valuable asset is goes smoothly, that your rights are protected; that the clauses in the deed of sale are correct and not one sided.

Choosing the right conveyancer is about choosing the person who will afford you the quickest and smoothest transfer in the least amount of time with minimum hassles to you in the suggested circumstances suggested.

So, when in doubt do not sign immediately, phone your conveyancer who will be glad to assist by ensuring an easy and swift registration process for you.

When looking for a conveyancer one must examine the following pre-requisites:

  1. Is the conveyancer known?

  2. Is the conveyancing firm well established?

  3. Does the conveyancer have experience? Is the firm of appointed attorneys outsourcing the transaction to a conveyancing firm unknown to the seller? Not all firms have conveyancers.

  4. Does the conveyancer have experience in what you require to be done?

Conveyancing is not only about the transfer of a property from A to B. There can be some very complicated aspects involved in conveyancing. A conveyancing attorney has a specialized qualification and is not an ordinary attorney, but rather a property legal specialist. Ensure that you are dealing with the right specialist.

  1. Is the conveyancer prepared to assist with the sales transaction prior to the conclusion thereof?

A conveyancer will often be required to clear up issues on more technical deals. For example, searches on the title deed conditions and conditions lurking behind the pivot deed (commonly found in the Western Cape); searches at the Surveyor General’s Office to establish servitudes, boundaries, caveats etc; searches on the sectional title conditions to ascertain if there are tie conditions or the real right of extension that is critical for a purchaser to be made aware of (and often gets overlooked).

  1. Is the conveyancer based in close proximity to a deeds office? This can be very useful if information is required urgently. Report backs can thus be swift.

  2. Has the conveyancer or conveyancing firm got a sound track record for accuracy and filing registrations on time?

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