Are you in the process of buying a new home? Congratulations! We at Annemarie Swanepoel Attorneys know what a big step this will be for you- so take the time to check your transfer documents for these 3 important aspects before you sign.

Your transfer process started way back when you signed the offer to purchase. Now you’ve entered the all-important process of ‘conveyancing’, or transferring the property into your name. It’s the final hill to breach before you collect the keys and plan your new home. Understanding the process, and making sure all the documents are correct and ready, is the best way to make this a smooth and seamless procedure.

1.  Who are you going to be dealing with?

Attorneys are going to be key in the transfer process. Once the sales agreement is in place and you have bond approval, you will need their legal assistance with the following:

  • Cancelling the existing mortgage on the property
  • Registering your new mortgage
  • Transferring the property into your name via the Deeds Office

Once these steps are complete, you will be the rightful owner of your new home, fully and completely. Anyone can claim to own a home- but it is holding the ‘deed of title’ that makes you the true owner. On a mortgaged property, the bank (or mortgage originator) will hang on to this for a while, but the process is the same.

The seller will be the one to appoint the transferring attorney (the conveyancer) of their choice. They will coordinate communication between all role-players. That is you, but also the seller, the Deeds office, your bond attorneys, SARS, the bank/mortgage lender and the municipality. It’s important you make sure you know who this individual is, and how to contact the firm, so that the process goes smoothly and you stay in the loop.

2. Is all your FICA information correct, present and up-to-date?

Important supporting documents for your transfer process are going to involve your financial and legal information. In South Africa, we know this as the FICA process. The most critical parts of this are your ID and your proof of residence in South Africa. Supporting details may include things such as your bank account (from which the mortgage payments will be taken monthly), proof of employment and similar items. Make sure that all of these are properly attached to the transfer paperwork, and that each reflects honestly and correctly all your personal details. This includes using the same surname on all documents for married or divorced women, or anyone who has undertaken a legal change-of-name. Snags caused by incorrect, inaccurate or missing documents are common in the transfer process.

3. Make sure you understand the figures

The last key part of this process is, of course, the nitty-gritty of the financials. Remember your new bond will not be the only cost involved in the property transfer. Firstly, the property must be cleared by the municipality as up-to-date on rates and taxes. This isn’t strictly your problem, it is the seller’s, but be aware of it. SARS will also level a transfer duty on properties which change hands. The conveyancing attorney will pay this to them on your behalf. Lastly, there will be fees with the Deeds Office for the transfer, and the attorney’s own time. Be sure you have budgeted for these ‘extra’ costs, and know how (and when) they are to be paid.

Once you have checked your transfer documents for these important aspects, it’s time to sign on the dotted line. The conveyancing attorney will lodge the final paperwork, and 8-10 days later, the transaction will be complete. Congratulations- you are now a new homeowner!

Annemarie Swanepoel Attorneys are leading conveyancers, and open to help you through the process, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today should you have any further questions on the process.