Buying a Property: A Guide To Conveyancing and Conveyancing Fees

Buying a Property: Conveyancing and Conveyancing Fees
Buying a Property: Conveyancing and Conveyancing Fees

What is Conveyancing? 

Conveyancing is a time-consuming yet unavoidable part of selling or buying a property. Conveyancing can be defined as a legal process whereby ownership of immovable property is transferred from the seller to the buyer. It involves finalising the sale by registering the property in the name of the buyer with the deeds registry office. Conveyancing fees are paid to the conveyancer to conclude the conveyancing process. The process of transferring the property to the new owner begins when the offer to purchase is signed and is concluded on the date of the delivery of deeds. 

In South Africa, conveyancing is governed by the Deed Registries Act No. 47 of 1937 and the Transfer Duty Act No. 40 of 1949. The conveyancing process needs to be attended to by specialised attorneys, referred to as conveyancers. Conveyancers are in charge of legal procedures and administrative duties pertaining to the transfer of the property. 

What are Conveyancing Fees? 

Buying or selling a property can be costly, especially when unexpected costs start adding up.  To better prepare for either buying or selling a property, you need to know what expenses typically arise during this process. Both the seller and the buyer are responsible for certain expenses. 

Conveyancing fees are paid to the conveyancer, or conveyancing attorney, in exchange for services rendered in relation to the conveyancing process. Conveyancing fees are determined based on the value of the property. 

When purchasing a property, the buyer is liable for a number of fees in addition to the purchase price of the property, including: 

  • Body corporate levy clearance fees
  • Bond registration fees
  • Costs of special bond conditions 
  • Home-owners association consent fees
  • Occupational interest 
  • Special levies issued before transfer by a body corporate 
  • Transfer duty – tax payable to SARS
  • Transfer fees – payable to transfer attorneys 

The seller is liable for the following fees:

  • Advanced rates clearances figures
  • Agent commission 
  • All certificates of compliance 
  • Bond cancellation fees
  • Penalty bond interest
Buying a Property: Conveyancing and Conveyancing Fees
Buying a Property: Conveyancing and Conveyancing Fees

The Conveyancing Process and Conveyancing Fees

The conveyancing process consists of several steps: 

  • Step 1: The first step is for the seller and buyer to sign the offer to purchase. 
  • Step 2: The bank approves the buyer’s bond. 
  • Step 3: The conveyancing attorney is instructed to begin the transfer and bond registration and deliver the first letters to the involved parties. The conveyancing attorney will also request several documents including, cancellation figures, guarantees from bond attorneys, levy figures, rate clearance figures, and title deeds.
  • Step 4: The conveyancing attorney will draft the transfer and bond documents after all the conditions in the offer to purchase are satisfied. Both the seller and the purchaser are then required to sign the transfer documents, whereas only the buyer signs the bond documents. 
  • Step 5: The buyer pays all required transfer costs. The transfer attorney makes an Application and payment to SARS for a transfer duty receipt, as well as a levy certificate and a rates clearance certificate. 
  • Step 6: The seller provides the required compliance certificates. The bond attorneys provide a guarantee from the buyers approved bank for the full purchase price or the balance of the purchase price if a deposit was paid. As a protective measure against fraud, the conveyancing attorney must ensure that all FICA compliance has been met.
  • Step 7: Documentation is prepared and lodged with the deeds office. The documents will be examined by the deeds office and the attorneys will be advised that the documents were passed and that the matter is up for registration. 
  • Step 8: The deed is registered at the deeds office by the conveyancing attorney, and ownership is transferred to the buyer. The buyer may now occupy the property if early occupation was not yet taken.
  • Step 9: The deeds office will deliver the original bond documents and title deed to the conveyancing attorney after approximately 3 months. If the property was bonded the original title deed is delivered to the bank and if it was unbonded, it will be delivered to the new owner.

Alan Levy Attorneys: Conveyancing Attorneys in Johannesburg

The conveyancing process must be completed by a conveyancing attorney. When buying or selling a property it is wise to choose an attorney that will be able to ensure a quick and seamless transfer and registration. Alan Levy Attorneys offer industry-leading legal assistance for matters related to conveyancing and notarial services. Contact Us for expert advice and swift resolution of all your legal matters. 

This article does not constitute legal advice of any sort. This article should be seen as an educational summary of the applicable legislation and procedures pertaining to conveyancing and conveyancing fees in South Africa. Should you be in the process of buying or selling a property, it is advisable to consult an experienced conveyancing attorney. For exemplary conveyancing and notarial services including, property transfer, bond registration and cancellation, contact Alan Levy Attorneys.

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