Conveyancing in South Africa
The South African conveyancing process ensures that property ownership is secure and guaranteed. Each property capable of private ownership is reflected on a diagram in the Surveyor-General’s Office and ownership is passed upon registration of the property in the name of the purchaser at the applicable office of the Registrar of Deeds. Conveyancing attorneys prepare the necessary documents, obtain the required clearances and interact with the Deeds Registry to transfer ownership from sellers to purchasers. Most first-time buyers do not anticipate what the costs of conveyancing can amount to and prospective purchasers must pay careful attention to these costs before committing to any property acquisition.
Associated costs with conveyancing
There are 2 main costs associated with buying a property in South Africa: costs associated with the purchase of the property (which includes the purchase price and the cost of transferring ownership) and costs associated with any bond that you may take out to finance your purchase. The bulk of these costs are paid by the purchasers. The costs involved increase in accordance with the value of the property, the higher the value, the higher the cost.
Sellers are generally only liable to pay Estate Agent’s Commission, conveyancing fees for cancellation of any existing bond over the property, rates and levies that are due, costs in respect of obtaining certificates regarding Electrical installations, Water installations, Gas Installations and beetle infestation.
Purchasers are generally responsible for paying:
- Transferring attorney’s fees and disbursements;
- Bond attorney’s fees and disbursements,
- Transfer duty (which is a tax payable to SARS)
- Deeds Office fees.
As you can see, there are usually at least two different firms of conveyancers involved in the transfer process. The Seller appoints a conveyancer to pass transfer while the bank appoints a conveyancer to register the bond. Two separate accounts will be rendered, and the purchaser will be liable for settling both accounts.