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This is how you speed up transfer

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You can speed up the time it takes to transfer your home simply by selecting the right attorney, according to Jose De Abreu, broker/owner of RE/MAX Property Associates and founder and managing partner of conveyancing attorneys De Abreu & Cohen Inc.

During the property transfer and registration process, there are usually three different conveyancers involved: the bond attorney, the bond cancellation attorney and the transferring attorney. “During the property transfer process, the bond attorney will act on behalf of the financial institution that is providing the finance to the buyer,” he says. “Once a buyer has received bond approval from the bank or finance provider, the bond attorney will attend to registration of the bond in favour of the financial institution (mortgagee) over the specific property in question, which occurs simultaneously with transfer.”

If the seller has an existing bond over the property, which would be the current bondholder, the bank holding that bond will instruct a bond cancellation attorney to attend to the cancellation of the seller’s bond. Once guarantees have been provided for the outstanding bond amount and the relevant documents are signed by the bank, the bond cancellation attorney will be ready to cancel the seller’s bond.

“While it is generally the relevant bank that will appoint both the bond attorney and the bond cancellation attorney, when it comes to transfers, in most instances, the seller will be able to appoint the transferring attorney,” says De Abreu. “This attorney will be responsible for handling the transfer of the property into the new owner’s name, and will coordinate the registration process with both the bond and cancellation attorneys, as all these processes must register simultaneously at the deeds office. The transferring attorney plays an important role in protecting the interests of the seller and insuring that there are no unnecessary delays. It sometimes happens that the transferring attorney is appointed to act in the capacity of one of the other roles as well.”

De Abreu says it is important that sellers appoint transferring attorney firms that are conveyancing practises, and are therefore experienced in the process of dealing with property transfers. The legal fees for attending to a transfer are based on a tariff calculated according to the value of the property, so the amounts charged from one law firm to the next will generally be very similar. The transferring attorney used will have a large influence on the length of time that the process may take, says De Abreu.

Buyers, how to prepare for transfer

  • A proof of address (not older than three months)
  • A certified copy of identity document
  • Income tax number
  • Details of marital and solvency status
  • Particulars concerning the identity of the attorney transferring the purchaser’s property if the purchaser is utilising the proceeds to pay for his purchase
  • Particulars of the bond granted

Sellers, how you can help speed up the transfer

  • Details of marital and solvency status
  • Particulars of bond holder (account number)
  • Valid Electrical Wiring Certificate
  • Valid Electrical Fencing Compliance Certificates (if relevant)
  • Valid Gas Compliance Certificates (if relevant)

According to De Abreu, on average the process takes around two to three months from the date of sale until the property is registered in the new owner’s name. However, certain external aspects can delay the process, such as waiting for a stipulated condition in the contract to be fulfilled or obtaining a rates clearance certificate.  South African law requires that before a property can be transferred, the transferring attorneys must obtain a rates clearance certificate from the local council. “Often a seller will be required to pay for a few months in advance in order to obtain their clearance certificate. Any overpayment by the seller as at the date of transfer will be refunded back to the seller,” says De Abreu.


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