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Sellers responsibilities during the sale of a property:
OFFERS TO PURCHASE

Only once a genuinely interested purchaser has been identified, will your Sales Agent proceed to prepare and present you with a signed, written Offer to Purchase. The price offered may also as a general rule, most probably not match your selling price. You are not obliged to accept any offer. You should however for the sake of an appropriate appraisal thereof, comparatively, ensure that you be fully alerted, regarding the market related value of your property. The agent will explain the offer to you and ensure that you fully understand all the terms and conditions thereof. Once an offer has been accepted and accordingly signed by you, you as well as the Purchaser are both legally obligated to ensure that all the objectives of the contract are duly and effectively realised, save and except in the event that suspensive conditions are not complied with in time or at all, causing the contract to become null and void.

What Sellers Must Know
RATES CLEARANCE CERTIFICATE AND TRANSFER DOCUMENTATION

A Rates Clearance Certificate (a document stating that all rates and taxes for the current rates year have been compliantly paid) is obtained from the municipality by the Transferring Attorney. The Bond Attorney shall confirm the capital amount available to the Transferring Attorney, who shall in turn deliver the draft deed of transfer as well as the guarantee requirements, to the Bond Attorney. The Cancellation Attorney shall attend to the cancellation of the seller's existing bond, against receipt of a guarantee for due payment of the certified amount owing and delivers the Title Deed to the Transferring Attorney, who sends a copy of the deed of transfer and the guarantee requirements to the Bond Attorney. The Transferring Attorney attends to the signing of the transfer documents, by both the Seller and Purchaser. The Purchaser has to pay the transfer costs, where after the Transferring Attorney pays the transfer duty to the South African Revenue Service. A Transfer Duty Receipt is accordingly issued.

BOND DOCUMENTATION

The Bond Attorney prepares the bond documentation together with its related statement of account. The purchaser signs the documents and pays the costs. The Bond Attorney prepares and issues the necessary guarantees, forwards them to the Transferring Attorney and prepares the bond documents for simultaneous lodgement in the Deeds Office, with the registration of transfer documents.

BOND CANCELLATION

The Cancellation Attorney procures consent to the cancellation from the bank that holds the seller's bond.

LODGEMENT AT THE DEEDS OFFICE

After due signing of all the documentation and all the costs paid in full, the transfer (including rates clearance certificate), new bond documents and cancellation bond documents are prepared by the respective attorneys for lodgement in the Deeds Office. At this stage and indeed prior to lodgement, the Transferring Attorney has taken proper care to have ensured that the purchaser has either paid the remainder of the purchase price into its Trust Account, or alternatively had delivered commensurate guarantees accordingly. All Bond and Transfer documents are then over a period of approximately 2 to 3 weeks, duly inspected by the deeds registry and if found correctly prepared, will then come up for Registration. If found incorrectly prepared, minor corrections are allowed for 3 to 4 days, before the deeds are rejected and required to be re-lodged.

THE SELLER HAS THE FOLLOWING RESPONSIBILITIES
  • To give a 90 day notice to the mortgagee/ financial institution of the intended cancellation of the bond, if contractually required to doing so. Should the Seller be in breach, a termination penalty may be added to his bond cancellation figures.
  • To obtain the statutorily required Compliance Certificates, for the property, prior to lodgement of the transfer in the Deeds office.
  • To sign the transfer documents on the request of the Conveyancer attending to the transfer of the property.
  • If there is a bond registered over the property, to pay the bond cancellation costs to the Attorneys who are appointed by the bank to attend to the cancellation of the existing bond. The seller will be obliged to keep up his monthly bond instalments pending transfer of the property. In the event of an overpayment of any interest, it will be refunded to the seller, by the bank after registration.
  • To continue payment of municipal rates on the property, inclusive of electricity, water, sewer, and refuse accounts. Even though a tenant might lease the property from a seller, outstanding municipal revenue service fees still remain the seller’s responsibility. Transfer of ownership cannot be done unless all these accounts have been settled as per legal requirement. To obtain the necessary rates clearance certificate, the seller willfurthermore have to pay the council three months in advance. This will be recoverable from the Purchaser after registration by the Transferring Attorney
  • To request the council to take final meter readings of the consumption figures for the property prior to vacating the property.
  • To vacate the property prior to the date of occupation and to comply in full with each contractual provision.
  • To arrange with Telkom and/or the purchaser to transfer or cancel the telephone line.
  • To furnish the Attorneys with the following documentation in order to comply with FICA:

1. Copy of his Identity Document
2. Income Tax registration number
3. Copy of marriage certificate and Ante nuptial agreement if applicable
4. Copy of divorce order if applicable
5. Documentation that confirms proof of residence (not older than 3 months)

FACTORS THAT COULD DELAY THE REGISTRATION OF A BOND / TRANSFER
[The following information was provided by OOBA]
  • Failure by the seller and/or purchaser to provide information; and
  • Failure by the seller to provide details of the bank holding the existing bond; and
  • The existing bondholder delaying/not providing cancellation figures and Title Deeds to the transferring attorney; and
  • Delay in receiving rates figures (from the municipality) and/or a clearance certificate; and
  • Failure by the purchaser to pay a contractually deposit in time; and
  • Delay in the provision of guarantees; and
  • Failure by the purchaser to pay bond and transfer costs in time; and
  • Delay caused by the seller in signing the transfer documents; and
  • Delay caused by the purchaser in obtaining government capital subsidy approval/ employee subsidy documents for new bondholders and failure to comply with any other stipulated requirements by the bank or others; and
  • Delay caused by the purchaser in signing the transfer and/or bond documents.

It's important to be as informed as possible when buying and financing a home. Here's a list of questions to put to your attorney.

To whom do I pay the deposit?

This will depend on what your contract says. Your deposit can be paid either to the estate agency or the conveyancers appointed to handle the transfer. They both have trust accounts where your money is protected. Please ensure you receive the appropriate receipts. Don't pay your deposit directly to the seller or to an estate agent.

Who gets the interest on the deposit?

Unless otherwise agreed, the interest is paid to you after registration of transfer. On your written authority, both your estate agent and conveyancer can arrange for it to be invested in an interest-bearing account, and will act in your interests by placing it in the best short-term investment available.

To whom do I pay the occupational rent?

Your occupational rent goes to the estate agent or the conveyancer. They will usually pay it into the seller's bond account or directly to the seller. You could pay it directly into the seller's bond account if so agreed, but you may be required to provide proof of payment each month.

When will I have to sign the transfer documents?

A few weeks after the sale agreement is signed. Usually your conveyancer will wait until the bond is granted and he has received the cancellation figures for the seller's existing bond. Only then can the guarantee authority forms be completed and signed. You can phone the conveyancer for an update at any time

How long will the transfer take to register?

This depends on the circumstances and due dates for the bond grant and on the guarantees stipulated in the deed of sale. The average for most sales is about three months from the date of sale. When there are no complications, registration can happen within two months. If there are complications, registration can be delayed. If this is the case, you will need to stay in touch with your conveyancer.

What will my transfer and bond costs be?

Your estate agent and attorney should be able to answer this question based on a schedule of transfer and bond costs. The actual transfer fees depend on the purchase price of the property. Bond costs depend on the total home loan registered and whether you are buying in your own name or in a trust, close corporation or company. Your attorney will give you the exact costs.

When must my transfer costs be paid?

This usually happens a few weeks after the sale, when you sign your documents. Your conveyancer will require payment, since he has to pay the transfer duty - the major charge on most transfers - in advance, as well as the rates or levies due, to obtain a clearance certificate. Don't delay making a payment - it will unnecessarily delay the transfer.

Who will register the transfer bond?

The bank will have a local panel of conveyancers for bonds and one of these will be instructed to register your bond. If the transfer conveyancer is one of those on the panel, he will probably do the bond registration as well. The bond costs will be the same, though your transfer may go through faster if the same conveyancer does both.

Who will contact me on registration?

Your conveyancer's secretary should contact you on registration to advise you. You will also be given a final statement of the account. Your estate agent may phone you to confirm registration. The bank will send you a letter advising you of the registration of your bond and the date when your first instalment is payable.

When & Where will I get the keys to the property?

Your estate agent will make arrangements to meet you at the property, once it has registered, with the keys and do a ‘hand-over’ to you the new owner.

Notification checklist

We’ve put together a handy checklist to help you keep track of everyone that needs to be contacted about your upcoming move.

  1. Send out change-of-address notifications
    • Post office
    • All accounts
    • Subscriptions
    • Relatives and friends
  2. Make arrangements with the moving company
  3. Disconnect utilities, get deposits refunded, and advise where final bills are to be posted to
    • Water
    • Electricity
    • Telephone
    • DSTV
  4. Cancel deliveries, where necessary
    • Newspapers
    • Other:
  5. Transfer memberships and accounts, where necessary
    • Schools
    • Church
    • Civil organisations
    • Gym
    • Bank accounts
    • P.O. Box
    • Other:
  6. Contact your insurance broker
    • Change address on life, car and household contents insurance
    • Check on coverage for goods in transit