How to ensure a quick and smooth property transfer

There will always be elements in a property transaction that will be out of your control as the purchaser or seller, however some elements can be managed in a way as to avoid unnecessary delays.

March 24, 2019

Doing your homework

Both sellers and purchasers should do their homework before deciding to enter into a property transaction. This will ensure that all parties have a basic understanding of what can be expected during the property transfer and what documentation will need to be supplied from the outset.  

Finding out how much you can afford as a purchaser is a key aspect before starting the house hunting process. Pre-approval towards your bond will allow you to make a realistic offer whilst also ensuring that you do not over commit. This can be done independently by the purchaser or they can enlist the services of an experienced bond originator who will assist and provide them with a pre-approval certificate.

In turn, a seller should give notice to their financial institution with whom the bond is held well before an offer to purchase is signed. In doing so, the commonly required 90-day notice period starts to run and the seller will avoid interest penalty amounts being paid. By doing this the seller is not committing to any transaction but merely adhering to the notice period stipulated by the bank and can still revoke the notice period should the situation chance.

Prepare all necessary documentation

During the transfer process, both purchasers and sellers should prepare and have the following documentation at hand:

  • Proof of residence
  • Copy of identity document
  • Income tax number
  • Details of both marital and solvency status
  • Details of how the transaction is being financed (proof of funds or loan pre-approval)

This will ensure that FICA requirements are met and will simultaneously allow all relevant attorneys to draft the required documents for signature with the correct information of the parties involved in the transfer.

Avoiding delays

Certain factors, such as waiting for a special condition to be fulfilled can cause unwanted delays.  When signing the offer to purchase, all parties should be on the same page regarding what conditions need to be adhered to for a successful transaction to be concluded.

Sellers can also obtain all the required clearance certificates once the transaction is secure and continuing (e.g. electrical compliance certificate). Further, by law, a rates clearance certificate issued by the local council is required by the Deeds Office. The seller is obligated to pay a clearance amount of a few a months in advance to ensure that his or her accounts are up to date and that the property is transferred free and clear of any outstanding amounts owing.

Late payments can result in unwanted delays in the transfer process as your conveyancer will not be in a position to attend to the necessary payments if fees are not paid. As such, ensuring timely payment is important to avoid delays.

When entering into a property transaction, all parties need to be honest and provide accurate information. This will ensure that there are no disputes regarding unwanted surprises. Your conveyancing attorney will also need to be well versed to ensure that minor problems do not escalate and become major issues whilst the transaction is in progress, so choosing an experienced and reputable attorney is vital.

Written by Wessel de Kock

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