Selling Your Property
Choose a competent estate agent! The estate agent should preferably be part of a team of professional estate agents.
Check that the agent and agency are registered with the EAAB (Estate Agency Affairs Board).
An agent can assist in realistically pricing the property by providing information based on a comparative market analysis.
Agents should also have a support structure, and the means, to market and advertise your property.
An estate agent should be able to offer you professionalism, good timekeeping, be presentable, be prepared and competent.
They should offer you the best service, which entails an accurate property evaluation, marketing plan and excellent communication. They should keep you informed during every step of the process. An agent should also be honest with you and give you their professional opinion.
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?
- Have you sold homes on 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?
Your buyer receives ownership on registration of the property into the buyer’s name from the Deeds Registry Office.
Conveyancing is the legal process that takes place when lawful ownership is obtained of an immovable property. A new deed of transfer is drawn up and registered each time a property is sold. This ensures security and certainty of an owner’s title to the property.-
Three conveyance attorneys are involved in buying/selling the property:
- They transfer the property from you to the buyer.
- You appoint them and they represent you.
Registering (or Bond) Attorneys
- They register the bond of the property for the bank financing the purchase of the property.
- They represent the buyer and the bank granting the buyer’s home loan.
- Appointed by the lending bank.
- They cancel the seller’s existing home loan on the property.
- They represent the bank cancelling the seller’s home loan.
- Appointed by the bank cancelling the seller’s bond.
What can you expect from your Conveyancer?
The Conveyancer should:
- protect your interest at all times and these interests should outweigh all other considerations;
- inform the seller of the conveyance procedure and keep the seller informed of the progress of the transaction;
- advise the seller on the content of the Offer to Purchase, especially regarding suspensive conditions;
- advise the seller on the cancellation of the bond, any penalties, notice periods and other administrative charges;
- obtain the seller’s instruction before issuing any guarantees in respect of the transaction;
- do everything in his power to register the transaction as close to the date in the offer to purchase;
- ensure no delay of the transfer advising the seller on his obligations in the offer to purchase;
- meet with the seller to explain, as well as sign the necessary documentation in order to conclude the transaction;
- take care with the preparation of the deeds for lodgement;
- inform the seller of the transfer on the day of registration;
- account to the seller for finances relating to the transaction within two days after registration.
Your current bond on the property
Many home sellers fail to give the banks the obligatory 90-day notice, resulting in penalties.
The usual penalty charge is 1% of the outstanding amount of the bond, for the full 90 day period.
Giving notice of an intention to sell does not mean the sale has to take place within a specified period.
The bank’s attorneys will freeze your bond account, and all money in it when instructed to cancel the bond. This can become problematic if you need cash, e.g. for the deposit on your next home. Draw sufficient funds prior to your attorney requesting the bond cancellation.
Be aware that your cancelled bond will pay out after, on average, ten weeks.
Pay all rates up to date
In order to obtain a Rates Clearance, you will need to pay all outstanding rates and services. You will also pay an additional advance (up to four months) on rates and services.
Without a valid rates clearance certificate your property cannot be transferred.
Check financials of sectional title schemes
A copy of the financial statements is required if the property is part of a sectional title complex. Also, ensure that you have a copy of the management and conduct rules of the body corporate.
The buyer’s bank requires these documents before the loan is granted. The buyer may also want these documents before making an offer.
There have been cases where sales fell through if the financial statements of the body corporate were not up to date.
Do your homework before you sell!
Resolve HOA or body corporate disputes
If your property is a sectional title unit, it is important to sort out any issues with the body corporate, e.g. levies or certain living and design guidelines, before you sign a sale document.
The homeowners association (HOA), or body corporate, will provide you with a clearance certificate to transfer the property. You will have to pay 3 months levies in advance.
Often a title deed requirement is that such an association must consent to the sale. The association may withhold consent if there is a dispute.
Therefore, before you sell, resolve disputes with the association.
FICA requires that the attorney verifies the identity and obtains the requisite documentation in respect of every seller. This is applicable to every purchaser of property on whose behalf funds are invested.
You need to provide the following:
- Copies of ID’s
- Marriage certificates
- SARS income tax numbers
- Proof of residence.
Additional documentation required for transfer
You need to provide the following documents for 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). The certified home inspector report can be your disclosure.
Prior to transfer:
- Electrical COC (Certificate of Compliance)
- Electrical Fence Certificate (if applicable)
- Gas Certificate of Conformance (if applicable)
- Beetle certificate (Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal)
- Plumbing Certificate (Cape Town)
The duration of the sale depends on the complexity and individual requirements of the sale. A rule of thumb is that it takes approximately three months.
Occupation prior to registration
Do not allow a buyer to start renovations or makes changes to the property before the transfer is complete! You may give occupation of a property once all the suspensive conditions have been met.
Where applicable, the Conveyancer may hold the balance between the bond and the purchase price in trust.
You can protect yourself from the buyer making any changes to the property, before the transfer has taken place, by including a clause in the sale agreement prohibiting this. This is often a standard clause.
If the buyer starts making changes, without any form of security, you must immediately inform the Conveyancer and the agent. The buyer either halt making changes or provide collateral funds. You can then return the house can to its original state if the sale fails.
Your agent will be able to advise you on procedures regarding occupation, handing over of keys, etc.