Ownership of a property takes more than a signature on an Offer to Purchase or for that matter the payment of the purchase price.  The property needs to go through the process of transfer and needs to be registered in the new buyer’s name at the Deed Registry Office, which is where the services of a conveyancing attorney are required.

Buying a home can be complicated, and there are several aspects that you may not be sure of during the various stages of the transaction.  There are a few questions that you can ask the conveyancing attorney that will provide you with more clarity and provide a better understanding of what is required.

Question 1 - How long will the registration and transfer process take?

On average the process should take around three months from the date of sale. However, this depends on a few key elements, such as the due date of the bond grant, along with the guarantees stipulated in the deed of sale. If there are no complications, the process can move a bit faster. Likewise, if there are complications, registration can be delayed. Staying in communication with the conveyancing attorney will help stay abreast of the situation and possible timing.

Question 2 - To whom do I pay the deposit?

The answer to this question depends on what it says in the sales agreement. However, the deposit is usually paid to the estate agency or the transferring attorney - both of which should have trust accounts. The deposit will never be paid directly to the seller, but rather into a trust account for safekeeping.

Question 3 - What happens with the interest that accrues?

If you give written consent, the estate agency or attorney can have the deposit invested into an interest-bearing account.  Once registration of the property has taken place, the interest which accrued over the period it took for the transfer to go through will be paid over to you – unless other arrangements have been made.

Question 4 - How much will the transfer and bond costs be?

The transfer duty payable is based on the purchase price of the property, while the bond costs will be based on the total loan registered with the bank. The agent or the conveyancing attorney should be able to provide a fairly accurate answer based on a schedule of bond and transfer costs.

Question 5 - When are the transfer costs due?

The transfer costs will be due a few weeks after the sale of the home when the transfer attorney requests the documentation to be signed. The conveyancing attorney is required to pay the transfer duty in advance, along with any rates and taxes or levies required to obtain the necessary clearance certificates. The longer it takes to pay the transfer duty to the attorney, the longer it will take to transfer the property into your name.

Question 6 - To whom do I pay occupational rent?

If you move into the property before registration takes place, you will be required to pay a predetermined occupational rent.  An agreement can be made to pay the rent directly into the seller’s bond account. Consecutively, you can pay the rent to the agent or conveyancing attorney, and they will ensure that it is paid either into the seller’s bond account or directly to the seller.

Question 7 - How will I know when the property is registered in my name?

As soon as the property is registered in your name, a representative from the conveyancing attorney’s office will contact you to let you know. At this time you will also be given the final statement of account. The bank will also provide written confirmation that the bond is registered and when you can expect the first repayment to be debited.

Communication between the relevant parties is a key element in the property transfer process. If ever you are uncertain of anything at any stage of the process contact the conveyancing attorney or estate agent.