The property transfer process in South Africa

Whether you want to buy a residential, commercial or agricultural property in South Africa, this article explains the property transfer process in a simplified manner.

In generally takes up to three months for a property to be transferred and registered. However, this is just an estimated time frame and this depends on a number of factors.

A brief guide to the property transfer process:

The process starts with the agreement of a sale. An owner places his/her home on the market and a buyer who likes it will put an offer on the property. Depending on the price, location and features of the property, this can take any amount of time. One must note that a residential home will often sell faster than a commercial property, however, this is not always the case – as a well-priced commercial property may sell faster than a residential property priced above the market value.
Once all terms and conditions have been agreed to, the seller and buyer will sign a binding agreement of sale.

Should the buyer take out a bond, his/her bank will receive a copy of the offer to purchase (OTP) and will then perform a valuation on the property before hopefully approving the bond.

Following this three attorneys will work simultaneously on the transfer process:

1. Transfer Attorney

This attorney is nominated by the seller. The attorney will receive certain documents, such as FICA information, from both the buyer and the seller. This attorney is also responsible for obtaining the title deed from the cancellation attorney as well as the rates clearance certificate, which is required by law before a property can be transferred.

2. Cancellation Attorney

This attorney is responsible for cancelling the existing bond on the property that belongs to the seller.

3. Bond Attorney

This attorney will prepare the purchaser’s bond should he/she be taking out a home loan on the property.

Once all three of the above attorneys have received and prepared all required documents, the seller and buyer will be called in to sign the transfer documents that have been prepared by the transfer and bond attorneys.

Following this, the deeds office will receive: transfer documents from the transferring attorney; the title deed and bond cancellation documents from the cancellation attorney; and the new bond documents from the bond attorney.

The deeds office will review all of the documents and if all documents are in order, they will prepare and effect the transfer and registration.

Once registration has been completed and the property is in the new owner’s name, the estate agent will be paid, the applicable bank will pay out the bond and the seller will receive the remaining amount of money.

The transfer process is relatively simple once you know who is involved and what needs to be done.

If you are currently looking for property in South Africa, visit our website to view the extensive selection of properties currently on offer – whether you are looking at a new home to start a family, or a commercial or industrial property to grow or start your business, contact us to help you find the perfect property.