The transfer process in layman's language.

There are usually at least two to three attorneys involved in the transfer process: The conveyancer or transferring attorney, who is usually appointed by the seller, attends to the registration of the property in the name of the new owner; the bond cancellation attorney, who is appointed by the bank holding the current bond, attends to the cancellation of the current bond; and the bond registration attorney, who is appointed by the bank granting the new bond, who attends to the registration of the new bond over the property. If the property is financed - even partially - with the proceeds of the sale of the purchaser's previous property, the conveyancer will also liaise with the conveyancer attending to the preceding transfer.

If the seller does not have a bond on the property, he is usually in possession of the original title deed of the property, and there will not be a bond cancellation attorney involved. When there is an existing bond, the bank holding the current bond, has the original title deed.

Firstly the transferring attorneys request the title deed and cancellation figures from the seller’s bank, which currently has a bond over the property, as well as a clearance figures for the rates, taxes and services from the local municipality. Cancellation figures refer  to a settlement amount required by the bank, to cancel the current bond on registration of transfer, and clearance figures  refer to the upfront payment the local authority will require from the seller with regards to rates, taxes and services before they will issue the clearance certificate - one of the documents which is lodged at the Deed's Office. The purpose of this is to ensure that the seller does not owe the local authority anything on the date of transfer. If the property is a sectional title unit, a clearance certificate is also requested from the body corporate's managing agents, to ensure that the seller's levy account is up to date.

When the transferring attorneys receive the title deed and cancellation figures from the seller’s bank, they send a copy of the title deed and guarantee requirements to the registering (bond) attorneys.

Once they receive the title deed, the transferring attorneys are in a position to draft the transferring documents.

The transfer documents are signed by the buyer and the seller, with the transferring attorneys.

The buyer pays the transfer costs, with which the transferring attorneys pay the transfer duty to the Receiver of Revenue, and a transfer duty receipt is issued. 

The seller pays the clearance figures to the council via the transferring attorney, and a clearance certificate is issued by the local authority. It is important to note that this clearance certificate is only valid until a specified date and that the transfer must be registered before that date. If not, new clearance figures must be obtained and paid.

The buyer’s bond account and supporting documentation are prepared by the registering (bond) attorneys, and the buyer signs the supporting documentation and pays the bond registration costs to the registering (bond) attorneys.

The necessary guarantees are prepared by the registering (bond) attorneys and forwarded to the transferring attorneys, who prepare the bond documents for lodgement with the Deed's Office. 

The transferring attorneys then forward the guarantees to the cancellation attorneys, who get consent from the bank, which currently has a bond over the property, to cancel the seller’s bond. 

The seller provide the transferring attorney with the Electrical Compliance Certificate, and also a pest control certificate and gas compliance certificate if required in terms of the sales agreement. The transferring attorney will also make sure that all special conditions in the sales agreement are met, such as copies of building plans, which are to be provided to the purchaser by the seller, or repair work that must be done at the seller's cost prior to transfer.

Once all the documentation is signed, and all costs are paid, the buyer’s new bond documents, the transfer of the property (into the buyer’s name) documents and the cancellation of the seller’s bond documents are prepared by the respective attorneys and lodged in the Deed's Office - simultaneously.

The transfer documents include:

  • The transfer duty or VAT receipt (from the Receiver of Revenue). 
  • The rates & taxes clearance certificate (from the local municipality). 

  • The levy clearance certificate (from the body corporate). 

  • The consent of the bondholder (bank which holds the current bond) to cancel the current bond. 

  • Consents required in terms of conditions in the title deed (i.e. a right of first refusal waived by the interested party). 

The Deed's Office takes approximately 2 weeks to check all the documentation before they are ready for registration by all the attorneys on the same day. 

On registration, the bank pays out the loan in accordance with the guarantees issued. The seller's current bond is settled, and the balance of the purchase price is paid to the seller, after deduction of the agent's commission.  
The whole process can take anything from 8 to 12 weeks, if there are no delays.

There are various factors, which could delay the transfer process. Some factors can not be controlled, such as a delay in obtaining clearance figures, or a title deed that is lost or misplaced.

There are, however, things both the seller and purchaser can do to make sure that the process is completed as smoothly as possible.

The seller can:

  • Provide the conveyancer with all required documentation when requested to do so, without delay.
  • Sign documents immediately when requested to do so.
  • Pay clearance monies and any outstanding levies as soon as possible.
  • Provide the conveyancer with the COC, and any other documentation required in terms of the sales agreement, as soon as possible.
  • Meet any special conditions without delay.

The purchaser can:

  • Pay the deposit within the stipulated time period.
  • Provide the conveyancer with all required documentation when requested to do so, without delay.
  • Sign documents at both the bond registration attorneys and conveyancer immediately when requested to do so.
  • Pay transfer duty and legal costs pertaining to the transfer and the bond registration immediately when requested to do so.
  • Ensure that guarantees are lodged, or that balance of the purchase price is paid into the conveyancer's account, within the stipulated time period.

If all parties do what they have to do as quickly as possible, and the team of attorneys handling the transaction is capable and meticulous, chances are good that the transfer process will be completed within a very reasonable period of time.










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