What is conveyancing?

Ownership of immovable property is not obtained on signature of an Offer to Purchase, or payment of the purchase price, or even the signing of the transfer documents with the conveyancing attorney.  Ownership is only obtained on registration of the property, into the buyer’s name, in the Deeds Registry Office.

Conveyancing is the legal process that takes place when lawful ownership is obtained of immovable property. Each time a property is sold, a new deed of transfer must be drawn up and registered. In South Africa, only an admitted attorney who is also an admitted conveyancer can attend to this process.

Who appoints the conveyancing attorney:

Often it is asked if the purchaser can appoint the conveyancing attorney seeing that the purchaser is liable for the transfer costs.  It is the Seller’s prerogative to appoint the conveyancing attorney as it is the conveyancing attorney’s responsibility to act in the best interest of the Seller. 

When appointing a conveyancer, you should appoint a conveyancing firm that is highly experienced and recommended by their former clients.  A good way to check this is by visiting their website to ensure that they are able to do conveyancing and their testimonials and reviews.

What are the conveyancing attorney’s responsibilities:

  • advise the seller on the content of the Offer to Purchase;
  • advise the seller on his obligations in terms of the contract such as the delivery of Compliance certificates, repair work, etc.;
  • advise the seller on the cancellation of his bond specifically with regards to notice periods and any penalties payable to the bondholder;
  • to ensure that the purchase price is secured and that the purchaser complies with the terms and conditions of the agreement within the time periods as stipulated in the Offer to purchase;
  • to prepare the required transfer document with care and to ensure that all legal requirements are met;
  • to obtain and settle rates clearance figures from the Local Municipality and levy clearance figures in the case of sectional titles and/or homeowners associations;
  • to keep all parties informed and up to date on the progress of the transaction.
  • To account to the seller and the purchaser for finances relating to the transaction at registration;
  • To inform the local municipality and managing agents of registration of transfer and provide the new owner’s details.