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About Conveyancing

conveyancing blog postWhilst South Africa boasts one of the most secure and efficient deeds registries in the world, the process involved can often be difficult to understand and downright confusing at times. There are a few key elements that buyers and sellers should acquaint themselves with, as well as a few potential pitfalls that they should be aware of, in order to make the process as seamless and safe as possible.

The sale of a property is initiated when a prospective buyer presents a written offer to the owner of a property, to purchase their property for a specific amount. This is normally done with the assistance of an estate agent. If the owner accepts the offer, a sale agreement comes into existence between the parties. Each sale agreement will contain a host of different clauses, conditions, obligations and other provisions. It will be assumed that you have read and understood all of these prior to signing. You will be held liable for all of the commitments that you have made in the agreement, so it is important that you ensure that everything is explained to you in detail before signing.

Also remember that if there are any specific points or things that you have agreed upon which are relevant to your individual transaction, make sure that they are recorded in the sale agreement. This will serve as documentary proof of these issues.

After conclusion of the sale agreement, it is the buyer’s responsibility to secure the agreed purchase price either in cash, or from the proceeds of the sale of another property or by means of a mortgage bond. The sale will often be subject to or dependent upon the buyer securing the necessary finances. If the buyer requires finance, a person called a bond originator can assist in approaching the banks on behalf of the purchaser for bond finance. Because it is the seller’s responsibility to ensure that the property is transferred into the buyer’s name (after the purchase price has been secured), the seller will usually be at liberty to appoint the transferring attorney who will attend to this process.

A conveyancer is an attorney who deals with property related matters. In each transaction there may be as many as three conveyancing attorneys involved. A transferring attorney will coordinate the transfer, a bond registration attorney will be tasked with registering a mortgage bond (should the buyer require bank finance) and often a bond cancellation attorney is required to cancel an existing bond on behalf of the seller.

Once the conveyancing attorneys make their initial contact with you, one of the first things that you will have to do is provide them with your necessary FICA documentation in terms of your identity and residential address. In the case of a company or a trust you will need to provide the relevant registration numbers, documents and other such information. FICA is important so that the conveyancers know with surety which people or entities they are dealing with and is a means of combatting organized crime. It is important that you provide this information without delay as many of the administrative tasks that the conveyancer must perform require FICA documentation to be in place first.

The transfer process can involve up to 50 different administrative tasks that are performed at various stages. Many of which will require your input and assistance. Your prompt and attentive participation in these tasks when required, will have a large bearing on the speed at which your transfer is effected.

It is also useful to remember that a sale agreement can always be varied if such variation is agreed to between the parties. Issues which may not have been considered in the initial agreement such as early occupation by the buyer or the payment of occupational rent can be agreed to at a later stage by signing an addendum which will contain those specific provisions. Where an addendum is required, the transferring attorneys will draft this document on your behalf.

It is important that you make personal contact with and maintain an open line of communication with the conveyancing attorney or the conveyancing secretary dealing with your transaction. This will enable you to enquire about progress on your transaction and will give you the opportunity to discuss any queries you may have, such as payment dates and details and any other issues that you may feel uncertain about with them directly.

Lastly, remember that few areas of the law are as harmonious as the field of conveyancing, wherein a willing buyer and a willing seller engage each other in a property transfer transaction. With open lines of communication and a mutual understanding for the roles that each party to the transaction performs, there is no reason why the process cannot be concluded with speed and proficiency.

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