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They should offer you the best service, which entails an accurate property evaluation; marketing plan and excellent communication, keeping the you informed during every step of the process. An agent should also be entirely honest with you and give you their professional opinion about your property.

When selecting an agent, you should ask the following questions:

- Do you have a marketing plan for my property?

- What is the time period that you think you can sell our house in?

- What homes have you sold in our street?

- What prices did you get for these homes?

- Who do you think is going to buy our home?

- What is your commission percentage/amount?

- How long a mandate do you suggest?

Conveyancing

Ownership of immovable property is not obtained on signature of the offer to purchase document or even on payment of the purchase price. Ownership is only obtained on registration of the property, into the buyer's name, in the Deeds Registry Office.

Conveyancing is the legal process that takes place when lawful ownership is obtained of immovable property. Each time a property is sold; a new deed of transfer must be drawn up and registered. This is to ensure the security and certainty of an owner's title to his property.

There are three conveyancing attorneys involved in the property buying/selling process:

Transferring Attorneys
Registering (or Bond) Attorneys
Cancellation Attorneys
As the Seller, appointing one of the three Conveyancing Attorneys involved in the Registration and Transfer Process, what can you expect from your conveyancer?
 
The Conveyancer should:
Your current bond on the property
 

Despite regular warnings from a wide cross section of property sector spokespeople, many home sellers still fail to give the banks the obligatory 90 day notice – and then end up paying a penalty for not doing so.

This unfortunate situation can prove expensive because the usual penalty charge is 1% of the outstanding amount on the bond for the full 90 day period.

In most cases, the failure to give the 90 day notice comes about because the seller is simply unaware that it is required. In a few instances, however, it can be caused by the seller believing that, if he gives notice, he is then obliged to sell within 90 days.

 

Giving notice of an intention to sell and cancel the bond does not mean that the sale has to take place within any specified period.
 
You should be aware that once the property is sold and the bank’s attorneys have been instructed to cancel the bond, all access to money in it is then frozen. This can cause real hardship if you need cash, for example for the deposit on your next home. Well before the attorney actually requests the bond to be cancelled you should draw out any large sums that you might need in the next few months.
 

If you don’t do this you may have to arrange a loan, probably at a higher interest rate, to tide you over for the ten weeks, which on average is the time it takes to pay out the client on a cancelled bond.

Ensure all rates are paid up

The city council will not issue a rates clearance certificate until all outstanding rates and services have been paid, together with the payment of up to four months advance rates and services.

A property cannot be transferred without a valid rates clearance certificate. If the seller is in arrears with their rates or cannot afford payment of the required advance amount, they will either have to obtain bridging finance or a short-term loan.

Check financials of sectional title schemes

If the property is part of a sectional title complex, make sure that you have a copy of the latest financial statements and the management and conduct rules of the body corporate before you sell your unit.

The bank the purchaser has applied to for a bond will require these documents before they grant the loan, and often a purchaser will want to see these documents before they put in an offer. In some cases the body corporate’s financials are not up to date, and this may lead to the deal not going through.

It is important, as a seller, to do your homework before you sell your unit.

Resolve HOA or body corporate disputes

If your property is in a sectional title unit, gated community or a similar development, it is important to sort out any issues with the homeowners association (HOA) or body corporate regarding levies or certain living and design guidelines before signing a sale document.

As with the city council a clearance certificate must be obtained from homeowners association (HOA) or body corporate before transfer of the property can take place. This certificate serves to confirm that all levies are paid up to date, in advance, usually for a period of up to three months.

There is often a title deed requirement that such an association must consent to the sale. If there is a dispute between the association and yourself, they may be entitled to withhold such consent until the dispute is resolved to their satisfaction.

Therefore you must make sure that disputes are resolved with such an association before the property is sold. It will be unfair to the purchaser if the transfer is delayed because of an existing dispute between yourself and the body corporate or homeowners association.

FICA information

In terms of FICA, the attorney as an accountable institution, is required to verify the identity and obtain the requisite documentation in respect of every seller on whose behalf a property transfer registered, as well as every purchaser of property on whose behalf funds are invested.

You will be required to to provide documentation applicable to the sale of your property.

This will include:

  • Copies of ID’s
  • Marriage certificates
  • SARS income tax numbers
  • Proof of residence.

Additional documentation required for transfer

You will be required to provide the following documents related to your property:

  • Building plans that are up to date including all alterations including occupation certificates
  • The latest municipal accounts in respect to rates and taxes, electricity, water and other consumption charges.
  • The latest levy and/or Home Owners Association accounts.
  • Your current bond account (if applicable)
  • Seller's disclosure (this provides protection from future legal claims - wise seller's have a home inspection done by a certified home inspector before the property is listed).
Compliance Certificates
The certificates are required prior to transfer of your property and should be provided by the you the seller.
  • Electrical COC (Certificate of Compliance)
  • Electrical Fence Certificate (if applicable)
  • Gas Certificate of Conformance (if applicable)
  • Beetle certificate (Cape and KwaZulu Natal)
  • Plumbing Certificate (Cape Town)
The duration of your property sale will depend on the complexity and individual requirements of the sale, but generally the whole process should be completed within three months of the signing of the sales agreement.
Occupation prior to registration and transfer of your property to the buyer

There have been cases, when selling a property, where occupation has been given to a buyer and that buyer starts renovations or making changes to the property before transfer has taken place and, in one case heard of recently, before the bond had even been approved. 

This should never be allowed! Occupation of a property should only be given to a buyer after all the suspensive conditions in the offer to purchase have been fulfilled. It is risky to give the purchaser occupation if conditions such as bond approval or any other finance condition (such as a guarantee, because even these can be reneged on) have not been fulfilled or completed.  

In addition, all transfer documents must be signed, the deposit must be paid on time and, if applicable, the outstanding balance between the bond and the purchase price must be given to the conveyancer to be held in trust.

You must be protected against the buyer carrying out any renovations before the transfer takes place in the form of a clause in the sale agreement prohibiting him from doing so. This is a standard clause in a number of purchase agreements, but you must check that it is written in to protect yourself. 

If a purchaser wants occupation prior to transfer, extreme caution must be taken and all requirements and conditions must be met as mentioned above. When the offer to purchase is above the asking price and has come through in a very short time after putting the house on the market, it sometimes is 'too good to be true'.

If the buyer starts making changes without any form of security for you, you must contact the conveyancer and the agent immediately, the buyer must be pushed to pay in some form of collateral so that if the deal goes 'belly up' there are funds available to return the house to its original state.

Your agent will be able to advise you on details such as occupation, handing over of keys and other specific requirements.

 

For your own protection you should have me inspect your home and provide you with a comprehensive report which will provide you with a full disclosure report of any property defects.
 
 
Inspected once, Inspected Right!®

Selling Your Home Advice in South Africa

Estate Agents

Choose a competent estate agent active in your area. The estate agent should preferably be part of a team of professional estate agents.

Check if the agent and agency is registered with the EAAB (Estate Agency Affairs Board). The estate agent must be dedicated to assist you in concluding your property transaction in an efficient and expedient manner.

Aside from the established network of prospective buyers that an agent would be plugged into, an agent can assist in realistically pricing the property by providing information to you based on a comparative market analysis.

Agents should also have a support structure and the means to market and advertise your property in the correct and most professional manner.
 
Other key elements that an agent should offer you include professionalism, which means being on time, presentable, prepared and competent at what they do.
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