Here’s how the transfer of property process works in South Africa

The legal word used for the transfer of immovable property from one owner to another is called conveyancing or, in layman’s terms, a property transfer.

Understanding the conveyancing sequence and having all the necessary documentation ready at the outset will ensure a smooth transfer of the property, notes bond originator, Ooba.

After the sale agreement has been signed and the bond approved, the attorneys are appointed to handle the existing bond cancellation, the new bond registration and the property transfer itself.

Upon payment of the transfer duty, documents are lodged in the Deeds Office. Registration – which means that the purchaser is now the new rightful owner of the home – should occur 8 to 10 working days later.

Don’t let the apparent complexity of the buying process dampen the enormous excitement of owning your first home. “Understanding the property transfer sequence and having all the necessary documentation at hand before the start of the process will ensure that everything progresses without incident,” said Rhys Dyer, CEO of Ooba.

Dyer said that, in South Africa, the legal term used for the transfer of immovable property (vacant land, commercial property, a farm, smallholding, home, or sectional title) from one owner to another is called conveyancing or, in layman’s terms, a property transfer.

Here he describes, in five steps, the process involved in a successful property transfer and registration in the Deeds Office:

Step 1: Once the seller has signed the sale agreement the purchaser needs to obtain a home loan. Astute buyers know to use the services of an expert bond originator, such as ooba, who will help them obtain the best home loan deal available from the banks.

Step 2: The seller has the choice of appointing a transferring attorney (conveyancer), who will obtain FICA (ID and proof of residence) of both parties and then apply for the seller’s bond cancellation figures. Thereafter, the bank sends the original Title Deed to the bond cancellation attorneys.

Step 3: After their preparation by the transferring attorney, the purchaser and seller sign the transfer documents. The transferring attorney then requests figures from the municipality to ensure that all the seller’s rates and taxes are paid up to date before lodging a clearance certificate issued by the municipality.

Step 4: The purchaser must pay the South African Revenue Services (SARS) transfer duty, a tax levied on property transfers. The transferring attorney will request a transfer duty receipt on SARS e-filing and also make the payment of the transfer duty on behalf of the purchaser.

Step 5: The transferring attorney lodges all the required documents, together with the new bond and the old bond cancellation, with the Deeds Office. It takes 8 to 10 working days for these to be examined and, provided there are no changes, the transaction is registered. The purchaser is now the rightful owner of the property!

Read: The 8 biggest reasons why South Africans are selling their homes right now