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What is the Property Transfer Process in South Africa?

The property transfer process is complex and has often left both buyers and sellers frustrated and confused.

However, understanding the procedure that should be followed when buying and selling a house will guarantee a successful and uncomplicated transfer.

With the sophisticated nature of South Africa’s property regime and the various role players involved in a transaction, lack of proper assistance can easily make the process more complex than it needs to be.

Our conveyancing attorneys in Cape Town have managed to break down the process into six easy to understand steps.

property transfer process in south africa

Attorneys & Property Conveyancers Cape Town

Step 1 – Offer to Purchase:

The first step in successfully transferring property is to commence with a Contract of sale, also known as the offer to purchase.

A bond attorney should then be appointed, usually by the bank where the home loan is approved, to assist with the bond registration and/or the registration of transfer of immovable property.

In the event that a standard offer to purchase is used, the responsibility rests on the estate agent to explain the terms of the contract to the relevant parties to ensure that the contract is validly concluded.

Further requirements pertaining to the contract of sale must be met before the transfer process can commence.

Step 2 – Appointment of Conveyancer:

This step deals with the appointment of the transferring attorney, also known as a conveyancer or conveyancing attorney.

Unless otherwise agreed upon between the parties, the seller is responsible for nominating a conveyancer of his or her choice. This is because the conveyancer receives the instruction from either the seller or the estate agent to administer the transfer.

The duty of the conveyancer is to obtain FICA (ID and proof of residence) of both parties and to conduct a deed search on the property which verifies that the information of the property provided by the seller is correct.

A further responsibility is to apply for the seller’s bond cancellation figures. Hereafter, the bank will send the original Title Deed to the bond cancellation attorneys.

Step 3 - Conveyancing:

This step involves actions instituted by the conveyancer. After the signature of the transfer documents, the conveyancer bears the responsibility to request rates clearance figures from the local authority to ensure that all the seller’s rates and taxes are paid up to date.

In order to obtain a Rates Clearance Certificate, the seller is required to make payment of rates for a period of 3 months in advance.

Step 4 – Transfer Duty:

This step deals with the Transfer duty that a purchaser must pay to the South African Revenue Service (SARS) together with the transferring attorney’s fees.

It remains the responsibility of the conveyancer to ensure the transfer duty gets paid on behalf of the purchaser.

Step 5 – Deeds Office:

The conveyancer lodges all the required documents together with the new bond and the old bond cancellation, with the Deeds Office.

Step 6 - Transfer:

Once all the required documents have been lodged, the Deeds office will attend to the investigation of the documents and only register the transaction when satisfied that all requirements for the transfer of property have been met. The purchaser becomes the rightful owner of the property once the transaction is registered.

Bailey Haynes Incorporated – Attorneys in Cape Town

It is clear that the transfer of property entails a number of steps to ensure a transaction is successfully registered.

Contact our offices for an attorney to assist and administer the process on your behalf.

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