It’s the start of a new year and in line with new beginnings, many will want to move house. Although an exciting time, it’s important to keep in mind that property transfers don’t happen overnight and, when issues crop up, the process can take longer or the sale can be jeopardised. Although there are instances where issues arise unexpectedly, there are numerous steps that sellers can take from the outset to offset the risk of delays.
Ensure you’re paid up
The city council will not issue a rates clearance certificate until all outstanding rates and services have been paid, together with the payment of advance rates and services. It’s not uncommon for sellers to be in arrears with the council or to be unable to afford the advance payment. As such, if you are considering selling, make sure you’re in good standing with the council and make a plan for the advance amount ahead of time.
Your conveyancer will also request a tax clearance certificate from SARS, so make sure you’re in good standing on this score too.
Find the title deed
If you don’t have a bond, ensure you have the original title deed for your property. If you have lost the title deed, your conveyancer will need to apply to the Deeds Office for a copy, which takes time and costs money. If you do have a bond, the title deed should be safely lodged with the bank.
Alert the bank
If your home is bonded, ensure all bond payments are up to date, and alert your bank to the fact that you intend to sell and wish to cancel your bond. If this is not done in good time the bank can penalise you for early termination of the bond.
Check your complex
If your property is sectional tile, obtain a copy of the complex’s latest financial statements and the body corporate’s management and conduct rules. Most purchasers will want sight of these documents before they make an offer. The buyer’s bank will also need these documents before granting a loan. If the body corporate’s finances are in arrears or aren’t up to date, it could prevent the deal from going through.
Sell with a clean slate
If you have any issues with your body corporate or home owner’s association, take steps to rectify these before you sell. Title deeds linked to gated communities usually stipulate that the relevant associations must consent to a sale. If there is a dispute, an association may withhold consent to sell, which can drag the process out or halt the sale entirely.
Move out on time
Finally, plan well in advance to move out of the sold property on the agreed date. Late handovers can cause untold distress for the buyer who has probably vacated his property on time and has nowhere else to go at short notice.