How a property is transferred


Staff Writer

WHEN a seller concludes an agreement of sale for their property, they should be in possession of the title deed in their name.



Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>The current deed in the seller’s name and the agreement will go to the conveyancers who will then be able to draft a new deed in the name of the purchaser along with other documents required by the Deeds Office to effect transfer, such as declarations for stamp duty purposes by both parties and a power of attorney by the seller authorising the conveyancer to deal with the transfer.


The attending conveyancer signs the Draft Deeds, the declarations are signed and witnessed by the respective parties and the power of attorney is signed by the conveyancer and the seller and witnessed.


A Rates Clearance Certificate has to be acquired from the local authority for a period of six months during which transfer is likely to occur.


To obtain the certificate an estimated rates fee for the six-month period will have to be paid.


This fee is normally split pro-rata between purchaser and seller, calculated to and from date of transfer.


This document is legendary in delaying the transfer process and conveyancers will usually plead with the parties to try and help in attaining it, to make their job a bit easier.


The conveyancers will also require that their statement of accounts be settled before they lodge the documents for transfer.


This statement will include the conveyancer’s statutory fee, stamp duty, registration fee and any additional charges.


If you want a lawyer to speed up, pay him his fee well in advance.

He will accept the fee but cannot touch it until transfer has been registered.

His only option is to hurry up and get your transfer registered.


As the sellers’ representative, the conveyancer is also responsible for making sure that the entire purchase price is secured to the sellers satisfaction, be it cash in the lawyer’s trust account, guarantees from building societies or written confirmation from the seller that he has received part or all of the purchase price.


A good conveyancer will never lodge documents for transfer unless they have done this.


Basically, once these issues are settled, the legal practitioners will lodge the declarations, the power of attorney, the seller’s original deed, the draft deeds in duplicate, the Rates Clearance Certificate and a cheque for the stamp duty and registration fee, in the Deeds Office for registration.


Once in the Deeds Office, the documents are checked to ensure they are in order.


If they are not, they will be returned to the conveyancer with a query, for correction and relodge.


If the documents are to the pleasure of the registrar of deeds, the required amendments are made in their land register and records, that is, the seller’s title deed is cancelled and the purchaser’s deed is registered.


The registrar of deeds will sign the draft deeds in the name of the purchaser and date them.


One copy is retained in the Deeds Office with the declarations, power of attorney and rates certificate, the other is returned to the conveyancer.

Nothing brightens a conveyancer’s day as does a registration because they can now claim their fee and to be honest, it is really the only good news they can give the parties during the entire transfer process.


From the date placed by the Registrar of Deeds on the new deed, the seller is no longer owner of the property and becomes entitled to the purchase price and the purchaser becomes the new legal owner of the property.


The conveyancer will release the purchase price to the seller if they have it in their trust account, or will request payment in terms of a guarantee from a building society when a bond is involved.


They will also supply the purchaser with their now valid Title Deed.

There are only ever two valid deeds to a property, one lodged permanently in the Deeds Office, the other with the owner.


That deed is the holder’s claim to ownership.

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