Understanding the Conveyancing Process

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Transferring ownership of a property from the seller to the buyer (i.e. conveyancing) is a complicated and often misunderstood process.  The average period for the transfer process from acceptance of the offer to registration takes approximately 3 months depending on the sale agreement.  The term “CONVEYANCING” describes the legal process whereby a person becomes the registered and lawful owner of fixed property to ensure that such ownership cannot be challenged.

  • The Sale Agreement is signed by the Parties and a binding contract is formed with terms and conditions. 
  • The Estate Agent will hand the sale agreement to the transferring attorney (called a Conveyancer)
  • The Conveyancer will perform a Deeds Office Search to familiarise himself with the details / conditions / restrictions of the property.
  • The Conveyancer will inform the cancellation bank that the current bond will be cancelled and he will receive cancellation figures from the bank (amount that is required to settle the Seller’s bond).
  • The Seller and Purchaser will be requested to pay costs associated with the transfer, incl. transfer duty.  
  • The Conveyancer will request outstanding rates and taxes amount from the local Municipality and pay the Municipality after which a Clearance certificate will be issued. This can take up to 3 weeks.  A property cannot be transferred if there are outstanding rates and taxes due to the local Municipality.
  • The Transferring Attorneys will then draft the transfer documents to be signed by the different parties.  
  • The Transfer Attorneys will request a SARS clearance certificate after the transfer duty has been paid.
  • The Bond Attorneys will draft the bond documents to be signed by the Purchaser, send the documents to the bank and obtain an instruction to register from the bank.  
  • The Transfer, Bond and Cancellation Attorneys will lodge their documents at the Deeds Office simultaneously.
  • All three attorneys will register their documents at the same time because the Seller’s bank issues guarantees that ensure it will be paid to the Cancelation Bank upon transfer / registration.  
  • Registration will take between 7 – 10 working days depending on how busy the Deeds Office is.
  • The deeds office examiners carefully examine the documents and will inform the attorneys when the documents are “Up for Prep”. This means the documents are in order and will be registered the next day.
  • Upon registration the Purchaser becomes the owner of the property.  The Seller is paid out the net proceeds with the Transferring Attorneys paying the expenses (e.g. Estate Agent’s commission etc.). 

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