Frequently Asked Questions

Costs

Registration costs consist of all the fees due to and expenses incurred by the conveyancer(s) necessary to ensure successful registration.

The professional fees due to the conveyancers are prescribed by a fees guideline issued by the Law Society of South Africa.  These fees are determined based on a sliding scale with reference to the purchase price or value (in case of inheritance) of the property.

The purchaser is responsible for the payment of the transferring conveyancer’s cost, which includes the Transfer Duty as well as the costs of the bond registering conveyancer.

The seller is responsible for payment of the account for the bond cancellation conveyancer together with the expenses for the RCC.

 

What is the difference between a conveyancer and an attorney?

Every conveyancer is an attorney, but not every attorney is a conveyancer.  Any attorney may qualify himself as a conveyancer by completing the conveyancer’s examination successfully and being admitted as a conveyancer in the High Court of South Africa.

Due to the fact that transferring immovable property, which is most of the time a person’s most valuable assets, poses so many risks, statutes dictate that conveyancers solely may see to the registration of a transfer of immovable property and related matters.

Consequently, the integrity of our registration system and the interest of property owners are protected by law.  When a conveyancer properly registers a property transfer, the registered owner has the strongest right with regard to the property applicable.

 

What are FICA documents?

The Financial Intelligence Centre Act took effect in 2001 and provides that attorneys have to report to the Financial Intelligence Centre any suspicious transactions entered into by their clients with a value greater than R25 000.00.

Attorneys are furthermore required to determine and confirm the identity of their clients.  When a person acts on behalf of another person, both parties’ identities and the authorisation of the person acting are to be determined and confirmed.  When a person acts on behalf of an estate or a trust, the letters of authority authorising the person to act is required and when a person acts on behalf of company or a close corporation a resolution by the directors or members needs to be obtained.

Attorneys confirm the abovementioned information for conveyancing purposes by means of affidavits deposed to by their client’s with reference to their identity, addresses and marriage status etc.

 

Why is the registration of my property transfer taking so long? 

As discussed in the Basic Principles of Conveyancing, there are certain procedures to be followed and certain certificates (TDR and RCC) to be issued in order for registration to take place.  It is often impossible to anticipate the waiting period for an authority to issue these certificates.  Sometimes you might have the certificates in hand only three days after applying therefor, other times it can take up to three months.

Registration can only take place once payment of the costs have been received.  There are often problems and unfulfilled promises in this regard, delaying registration of the transfer.

Another factor influencing registration is interdicts over the property.  Searches do indicate interdicts but it is possible that an interdict may be raised after lodgement and without the knowledge of the conveyancer.  All interdicts have to be uplifted before registration may take place and uplifting an interdict in itself can be quite a time consuming struggle.

These are the most common factors delaying registration, but the list is not complete and may differ from one transaction to another.

 

When do I receive the original registered title deed? 

After registration all deeds are examined for one last time before they are scanned into the Deeds Office’s database. The Registrar’s signature is embossed and finally the deed is returned back to the conveyancer.

Keep in mind that when a bond is registered together with the property transfer, the title deed is delivered to the mortgagee for safe keeping until the bond is paid in full and cancelled.

Delivery of the registered deeds to the conveyancer depends on the workload of the Deeds Office and can take up to a month.

 

I was divorced in 1999, why does the conveyancer require a copy of the divorce order? 

It is the duty of the conveyancer to confirm the information on the deeds are in fact true and correct.  These documents are required firstly, to ensure the deeds are drafted correctly and to prevent that a party is prejudiced and secondly, the Deeds Office may request lodgement of a divorce order to update their database after confirmation that the details are indeed correct.

Documents that are also often required are death certificates of a deceased spouse and marriage certificates of ante-nuptial contracts.

When parties in a divorce conclude a deed of settlement and the court incorporate the deed of settlement in its order, both the deed of settlement and the court order may be required when dealing with the immovable property mentioned therein.

More often than not, these documents are only obtained to ensure that the course of registration takes place without delay and to enable the conveyancer to remove any possible unforeseen notes raised by the examiners.

Divorce orders are available at the general offices of the courts, should the client no longer have the original order available.  Original death certificates or marriage certificates may be obtained from the Department of Home Affairs, although this is a very time consuming process.

 

What does the term “endorsement” mean? 

The Master’s endorsement of a Power of Attorney in an estate transfer is in fact a signature and stamp by the Master (or an authorised official employed at his office) on the original Power of Attorney, indicating that the Master has approved the intended property transfer and that the conveyancer may continue therewith.

When a bond is registered over a property, the title deed of the property is endorsed to indicate that the property is encumbered by the bond.  The endorsement contains the bond number, amount and information of the mortgagee.  When the bond is cancelled the bond endorsement on the title deed is amended to indicate that it has been cancelled and to show the cancellation number.  The bond itself is also endorsed to indicate that it has been cancelled and to reflect the cancellation number.

Endorsements are used to indicate when there are dealt with property but registration of a new title deed is not necessary.  Further examples of when endorsements are used, are with the subdivision of a property, transferring an undivided half share to a spouse with whom the owner is married in community of property and to correct mistakes on registered title deeds.

 

Why can the transferring conveyancer not also attend to the cancellation of the bond and registration of a new bond?    

It is possible for a conveyancer to attend to the registration of an entire transaction.  However, the banks have a panel of firms and conveyancers whom they instruct to register or cancel bonds on their behalf.  The current mortgagee is not necessarily going to be the mortgagee offering a bond to the purchaser.

It is often the case that the registration and cancellation of bonds are not registered by the same conveyancers.