Documents required for transfer of property

When it comes to selling or buying a new home, the property transfer involves a lot of paperwork and this can be quite overwhelming. For ownership to change hands, the property needs to go through a registration process at the Deeds Office, where the home is transferred into the new owner’s name – this process requires the services of conveyancing attorneys. Three attorneys are used in the conveyancing process – the registering attorney, the cancellation attorney, and the transferring attorney.

The transferring attorney is appointed by and will represent the seller.

We’ve made it easy for your and put together this list of documents required for the different types of property transfers.

Conventional transfer:

Power of Attorney: The seller will have to sign a Power of Attorney document which gives the conveyancing attorney the authority to act on their behalf in the Deeds Office in order for the property to be transferred from the seller to the buyer. This document is drafted by the transfer attorneys and given to the seller for signing. 

Draft Deed: This document will be the buyer’s new title deed once the property has been registered at the Deeds Office. The transfer attorneys will draft this document and submit it for registration. 

Transfer Duty Receipt: A transfer duty receipt (or VAT clearance certificate in the case of a VAT registered seller) must be issued by SARS for every property transfer. The transfer attorneys will apply for the transfer duty receipt, and the buyer will be liable for the payment of the transfer duty amount which is based on the purchase price. 

Rates Clearance Certificate: The local municipality will issue a rates clearance certificate once they have received payment of the rates clearance figures issued by them. This certificate confirms that the seller’s rates and taxes account is up to date and that all arrears from the previous 2 years have been paid. The transfer attorneys will apply for the rates clearance figures and rates clearance certificate on behalf of the seller. 

FICA Documents: Both seller and buyer will be required to submit FICA documents as set out by the Financial Intelligence Centre Act. The type of FICA documents required by the parties will depend on the type of seller and buyer such as a natural person, company, and trust.  

Bond Settlement Figures and Guarantees: The seller’s bank will issue settlement figures and guarantees will have to be delivered to the bank’s appointed bond attorneys in line with the settlement figures. This is required in order for the bank to give the go ahead to proceed with the cancellation of the bond registered over the property which will happen at the same time as the transfer of the property into the buyer’s name.

While notice to cancel a bond may be given by the seller earlier, the transfer attorney will request formal settlement figures on the seller’s behalf once they receive instruction to attend to a transfer.

Usually a buyer will take out a bond which will be registered against the property simultaneously in the Deeds Office with the transfer of the property.  In this case the transfer attorneys will request guarantees from the bond attorneys in line with the settlement figures they received from the bond cancellation attorneys. The bond attorneys will then deliver the guarantees once the buyers have signed their bond documents and complied with all the bond conditions.   

Compliance Certificates: Electrical, electric fence (where applicable), gas and beetle (coastal regions) compliance certificates must be obtained prior to registration. The offer to purchase will usually indicate which certificates are required to be obtained by the seller. The bond attorneys may also require these for them to obtain consent to lodge the matter in the Deeds Office.

Homeowners Certificate: If a property forms part of an estate with a homeowner’s association, confirmation must be provided by this body that all conditions included in the property’s title deed have been met.

The transfer attorneys will apply for the clearance figures and the certificate from the homeowner’s association. The homeowner’s association may request from the transfer attorneys on registration to attend to a pro-rata split of the levies between the seller and buyer on date of registration till the date on which the certificate is valid. 

Additional documents required for sectional title transfers

Over and above the documents mentioned above, the following documents must be submitted for the registration of a sectional title transfer: 

Levy Clearance Certificate: In terms of Section 15B (3) of the Sectional Title Management Act, the body corporate must confirm that all levies have been paid by the seller up to the date of registration. As with rates clearance figures and certificates, the attorneys will request the levy clearance figures and apply for the certificate on behalf of the seller who will be liable for the payment of the outstanding levies. The body corporate may also request the transfer attorneys to attend to the cost split between the seller and buyer on the date of registration.

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