Now let’s look at the registration / transfer process.

Most of the information below has been supplied to us by De Jager Attorneys.

Understanding the Registration / Property Transfer process is very important for anyone buying or selling a property in South Africa. Consider that every property transfer is different with different dynamics, but the core process still stays the same and if you understand the process better, you will be more informed when the Transferring Attorneys send out their weekly reports.

1. The Attorneys Explainened

1.1 Transferring Attorneys / Conveyancer (TA)

 The Transferring Attorney Firm is appointed by the seller and is responsible for successfully transferring the property in the name of the Purchaser. They manage and oversee the whole process and handle the finances related to the purchase price, deposits, clearance figures, commission payments etc. Transferring costs are charged to the purchaser and payable on demand.

1.2. Bond Attorneys (BA)

The Bond Attorney Firm is in most cases appointed by the banks where the bond is placed if there is a bond to be registered over the property. These Attorneys charge their own fees to the purchaser. The Bond Attorney and the Transferring Attorney work together to submit the correct documents to the Deeds Office for a successful registration.

1.3. Bond Cancellation Attorneys (BCA) 

The Bond Cancellation Attorney Firm is responsible for the cancelation of the current bond held by the seller if there is still a bond registered over the property. Costs for the cancelation of the current bond is billed to the seller. 

2.     The Transferring Process  

2.1 Once the agreement of sale or offer to purchase (OTP) is completed and signed by all the parties, the Estate Agent furnishes the Transferring Attorney (TA) with the agreement of sale with instructions to transfer the property to the Purchaser.

2.2 The TA will then send out confirmation letters to all parties involved, sellers, purchasers, and agents.

2.3 The TA will obtain the deposit from the purchaser (if applicable) and, if so instructed, invests the deposit in an interest-bearing account for the benefit of the purchaser.

2.4 The TA then requests cancellation figures from the bank, to have the existing bond cancelled as well as the Title Deed which is kept by the bank unless the property is paid off then the Title Deed should be with the sellers. This is quite important as a missing Title Deed may cause a delay in the whole process.  

The existing bondholder (bank) will only consent to the cancellation of the existing bond if it is placed in possession of a guarantee to pay the amount owing in terms of the existing bond by the seller.

2.5 Once these documents are received the TA prepares the transfer documents which must be signed by both the purchaser and the seller. The TA also obtains payment of all transfer costs from the purchaser.

It is important for purchasers to understand that the transfer costs unless otherwise agreed to by all parties as a condition in the OTP is payable upon demand by the TA as this may not delay the transfer.

2.6 The Registrar of Deeds will not allow a transfer to be registered unless he is satisfied that the rates and taxes are fully paid up to the date of the transfer. The TA therefore requests a statement from the Local Authority reflecting rates and taxes, payable five months in advance. The TA, on behalf of the seller/purchaser pays this amount and obtains a Rates Clearance Certificate which is lodged with the Registrar of Deeds.

2.7 The TA also requests Clearance Certificates for Sectional Title Schemes and Homeowners Associations.

2.8 The TA establishes the detail of the institution granting the new bond to the purchaser as well as the BA instructed to register the new bond. The TA requests guarantees from the BA acting on behalf of the financial institution granting the new bond for payment of the existing bond and the balance of the purchase price.

2.9 Transfer Duty (where applicable) is paid to the Receiver of Revenue according to a fixed scale. The Receiver of Revenue then issues the TA with a Transfer Duty Receipt which is also lodged with the Registrar of Deeds.

2.10 Upon receipt of the guarantees from the new BA, the guarantee for repayment of the existing bond is forwarded to the BCA.

2.11 The TA arranges with the new BA and the BCA that all the sets of documentation are lodged simultaneously in the Deeds Office where they are examined by examiners and if everything is in order the transfer is then registered in the name of the purchaser.

2.12 After confirmation that the transfer has registered in the Deeds Office, the guarantees are presented to the bank for payment. The TA then pays the amount due in terms of the existing bond, deducts agents commission and other monies on behalf of the seller and the nett proceeds are paid to the seller. 

3. Aproximate time-lines are as follows:

3.1 Most Sale Agreements will give the purchaser between 14 to 21 days to get finance approval.

3.2 Once the finance is approved, registration can take anything from 6 to 8 weeks.

3.3 Once the documents have been lodged in the Deeds Office (as per 2.11 above), if there are no problems with the submited documentation, registration is normaly within 7 to 10 working days. 

We hope that the above will shed some light on process that is followed by the appointed Attorneys to successfully transfer a property. For any queries regarding the transfer process, costs etc. Please contact De Jager Attorneys on 011 475 7582