Con­veyancer is key fig­ure in prop­erty trans­ac­tions

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

BUY­ERS and sell­ers of res­i­den­tial prop­erty some­times think the con­veyancer is an “ex­tra” who has cornered a sim­ple, largely stan­dard­ised but lu­cra­tive le­gal process when in fact it could be han­dled by any in­tel­li­gent clerk, says Grant Gun­ston, se­nior di­rec­tor of Grant Gun­ston At­tor­neys.

“This per­cep­tion is not valid: a con­veyancer is a key fig­ure in any prop­erty trans­ac­tion and, in fact, the only per­son en­ti­tled by law to han­dle such work,” says Gun­ston.

“His spe­cial­ist knowl­edge of prop­erty law en­ables him to en­sure that sell­ers avoid the pit­falls ly­ing in wait for the un­in­formed, and his in­put can save clients money and time. Fur­ther­more, a wide range of le­gal is­sues arise in the con­veyanc­ing process, which re­quire a knowl­edge of cor­po­rate law, fam­ily law and the law re­lat­ing to the ad­min­is­tra­tion of de­ceased es­tates. The idea that cov­eyanc­ing is a less chal­leng­ing, less com­pli­cated sec­tor of the law is not jus­ti­fied.”

One of the un­for­tu­nate ef­fects of this view, he says, is that all too of­ten a seller will pass a con­veyanc­ing task on to a lawyer, per­haps a fam­ily mem­ber, who is not a qual­i­fied con­veyancer, who then farms out the work to a col­league.

“This prac­tice has been a ma­jor cause of the many de­lays that fre­quently oc­cur in the prop­erty trans­fer process,” says Gun­ston.

“Con­veyancers have to write and pass a sep­a­rate pro­fes­sional ex­am­i­na­tion set by the Law So­ci­ety. Their pri­mary role is to pro­tect sell­ers while re­main­ing aware of and hon­our­ing the buyer’s rights as set out in the deed of sale.”

The con­veyancer’s re­spon­si­bil­i­ties will in­clude en­sur­ing that:

The seller is not at risk. He will see to it that the nec­es­sary guar­an­tees are in place and the de­posit and other pay­ments come through by the stip­u­lated dates.

The trans­fer is reg­is­tered in the buyer’s name and the doc­u­ment com­plies with the many deeds of­fice rul­ings.

The buyer’s bond (if he is us­ing one) has been ap­proved and is in ac­cor­dance with the con­di­tions stip­u­lated in the deed of sale.

The seller’s bond on his ex­ist­ing house is can­celled timeously, that is, giv­ing the 90 days’ no­tice re­quired by the banks.

Guid­ing the par­ties through the t r a n s a c t i o n . Fo r e x a mp l e , a n y money needed via the ac­cess fa­cil­ity on a bond about to be can­celled (for in­stance to pay the trans­fer costs on a new prop­erty) should be with­drawn be­fore the bank is no­ti­fied to can­cel the bond. Once the no­tice is given to the bank, the fa­cil­ity will usu­ally be frozen.

All mu­nic­i­pal rates on the prop­erty are paid up and the rates clear­ance cer­tifi­cate has been re­ceived. Without this cer­tifi­cate a deed can­not be reg­is­tered.

Trans­fer du­ties are paid to SARS and a cer­tifi­cate ac­knowl­edg­ing this has been re­ceived. Again the trans­fer can­not be reg­is­tered un­til this has taken place.

“Many things can hold up or even nul­lify a trans­fer process,” says Gun­ston, “but an ex­pe­ri­enced con­veyancer will pre­vent th­ese tak­ing place.”

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