Property Transfer Process

Key role-players in the property transfer process include:

  • Seller
  • Estate Agent – chosen by Seller
  • Purchaser
  • Transfer Attorney – chosen by Seller
  • Bond Originator (if applicable) – chosen by Purchaser
  • Bond Registration Attorney (if applicable) – assigned by Purchaser’s bank, from their panel of attorneys
  • Bond Cancellation Attorney (if applicable) – assigned by Seller’s bank, from their panel of attorneys

In South Africa, the property transfer process can take up to three (3) months due to the complexity and number of role-players involved.

There are multiple steps in the property transfer (conveyancing) process – which are outlined below, at a very high level.

  1. Seller accepts an Offer to Purchase from the Purchaser
  2. Purchaser applies for a bond and provides proof that the bond is successful
  3. Seller appoints a Transfer (or Conveyancing) Attorney who will:
    1. Request cancellation figures on the Seller’s bond
    2. Apply for municipality rates, lights, water and refuse removal clearance figures 
    3. Apply for levy figures from the body corporate or home owners’ authority
    4. Prepare the transfer papers
    5. Requests guarantees from the Purchaser’s bond registration attorney (who is appointed by the Purchaser’s bank) and supplies a draft deed of transfer
  4. The Seller and Purchaser sign the transfer papers at the transfer attorney’s office (ID and SARS numbers required by both)
  5. Purchaser pays the SARS transfer duty, as well as the Transfer Attorney’s fee
  6. Transfer papers are forwarded to the Bond Cancellation Attorney, who will:
    1. Send the property’s original title deed to the transfer attorney
    2. Request consent to cancellation papers from the Seller’s bank
  7. The Transfer Attorney pays the following:
    1. the transfer duty to SARS and awaits clearance
    2. the final rates and utility amounts to the local authority and body corporate or home owners’ authority and awaits clearance certificates
  8. The transfer attorney draws up new deed of transfer papers.
  9. The transfer attorney collects all outstanding documents, including the electrical compliance certificate that the seller is obliged to provide.
  10. The documents are processed by the Deeds Office:
    1. The transfer, new bond and cancellation of the existing bond are registered simultaneously
  11. The Bond Registration Attorney advises the bank once registration has happened, and the guarantees are paid over to the Transfer Attorney
  12. On receipt of these funds, the Transfer Attorney finalises the account and pays:
    1. the proceeds of sale to the Seller 
    2. the commission to the Agent
    3. any outstanding credit that is due to the Seller (e.g. rates or taxes paid by Seller in advance) 

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