All parties to a successful property transaction must remember that the following should be done prior to transferring the property into the name of the Purchaser:
- Any existing mortgage bond must be cancelled;
- All rates to the relevant local authorities must be paid and a clearance certificate obtained from such local authority;
- A transfer duty receipt must be obtained from SARS. For this all parties, being the Seller, Purchaser and even the Estate Agent’s tax affairs must be in order;
- Should your property be a sectional title unit or be part of a Home Owner’s Association, consent of the Body Corporate or Managing Agents, whichever the case may be, must be obtained;
- A new Mortgage Bond must be registered should the Purchaser require the assistance of a bond in order to make payment for the property.
The transfer process starts with the Agreement of Sale being sent to an attorney who is a qualified conveyancer. The conveyancer will then attend to the process of changing ownership of the property from the seller to the purchaser.
On receipt of the Agreement of Sale a reliable conveyancer will perform numerous tasks to avoid unnecessary delays.
a) Contact the parties and request the information and documentation required to draft the transfer documents;
b) Read through the Agreement of Sale, taking note of important dates and clauses, and address any issues that may affect the validity of the agreement;
c) Search the Deeds Office database to check for potential problems with the property or the parties;
d) Request a Rates Clearance figure from the municipality or Levy Clearance requirements from the body corporate;
e) Request the bank to provide the bond cancellation requirements and the title deed if the property is mortgaged.
On receipt of all of the abovementioned information and documentation, and provided all the suspensive conditions have been met, the conveyancer will draft the transfer documents. The conveyancer will also request payment of the transfer costs from the party responsible for such costs (usually the purchaser).
On signature of the transfer documents and payment of the transfer costs the conveyancer will pay the outstanding rates or levies and transfer duty owed.
The conveyancer will then wait for the rates clearance certificate or levy clearance certificate and transfer duty receipt. The conveyancer may also be waiting for guarantees from the bond attorneys to secure the purchase price. On receipt of the certificates, transfer duty receipt and guarantees, and provided there are no outstanding issues, the conveyancer will send the transfer documents to eg. Pretoria for lodgement.
There may be three sets of documents for lodgement under the control of three sets of attorneys – one attending to the transfer, another attending to bond registration, and yet another attending to bond cancellation. All these documents must be lodged and registered simultaneously. An error in any of these documents will delay registration of transfer.
Upon lodgement the Deeds Office checks the documents for errors and for any reason why the transfer may not proceed. This process usually takes 10 working days but may take longer. Once the Deeds Office is satisfied that the transfer may proceed, the transfer “comes on prep” also known as “coming up for registration”. At this stage, all the conveyancers check again that registration may proceed. If there are no problems, they will hand in their documents the next day and effect registration of transfer. The seller will normally be paid the following day.
The process usually takes approximately 8 weeks but there are numerous factors that may delay this process.
a) Delay in receiving the bond cancellation figures or the title deed;
b) Delay in receiving the transfer duty receipt;
c) Delay in receiving the rates clearance certificate or levy clearance certificate;
d) Delay in the purchaser paying the purchase price or providing guarantees for same;
e) Delay in the fulfilment of any suspensive conditions;
f) The parties agreeing to delay registration of transfer;
g) Either party not signing the transfer documentation when requested to;
h) The purchaser not paying the transfer costs when requested to;
i) A lost title deed;
j) Delays in the Deeds Office.