Purchasing a new property can be a lengthy and complicated process involving several different co-ordinating parties. While each sales transaction follows a similar course, the time frame can vary substantially depending on a variety of factors. The timeous transfer of property ownership from seller to purchaser relies heavily on the co-operation of all parties; these parties predominantly consist of the seller and purchaser, the conveyancers, City Council and the Deeds Office. Each is required to fulfill certain obligations to proceed with the transfer and registration of the property. Failing to meet these obligations results in considerable delays. These delays can have significant financial implications for all involved.
For the most part, registration delays are avoidable provided all parties ensure that the necessary documentation is up-to-date and available on request, and that the correct procedures are followed in order to expedite the transfer process.
What factors affect the timing of the Registration process?
- A delay in the purchaser or seller obtaining and providing the required personal information and identity documentation, such as valid FICA documents, bond cancellation figures or proof of income. Incomplete and inaccurate information
- A delay in the purchaser or seller signing the transfer or bond registration documents.
- Failure by the purchaser in paying the deposit, bond or transfer/registration costs as agreed upon or in obtaining finance. Late payments cause lengthy delays; in most cases the conveyancers will not register the property until the transfer and bond registration costs have been paid.
- A delay in the delivery and receipt of the original title deed, which outlines the property and registered owner details, by either the seller or the seller’s bank depending on whether or not the property is bonded.
- A delay in the conveyancer receiving the rates clearance certificate from the local Municipality, the levy clearance certificate from the Body Corporate or the transfer duty receipt from the Deeds Office.
- The seller is slow in providing a valid, up-to-date electrical, plumbing or gas clearance certificate which deems the property fit for living and compliant with regulations. The property cannot transfer without these vital documents.
- Delays may result from confusion as to the date the purchaser intends to take occupation. The transfer date is an estimated date, meaning that if the occupation date does not coincide with the date the property transfers, the sales agreement must stipulate the amount of occupational rent the purchaser is required to pay between occupation and transfer.
- Backlogs that may arise at the Deeds Office could potentially result in a delay in the inspection and registration of the transfer and registration documents. As a general rule of thumb the Deeds Office usually takes 2 – 3 weeks to inspect the documents prior to registration.
- Unforeseen events such as the death or insolvency of either or the parties.
How to avoid Registration delays:
- The buyer and seller should familiarise themselves with all contractual obligations to avoid future confusion and potential delays in the sales process.
- All parties must provide and sign all relevant documentation at the beginning of the sales process and ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date.
- The seller must see to it that any outstanding rates/levies and advance amounts owing are paid in full to ensure that there are no delays in the provision of rates/levy clearance certificates.
- In the case of a sectional title scheme, the purchaser should request and obtain the latest Body Corporate financial statements, as well as the Body Corporate rules, as early on in the process as possible.
- If the property is not bonded the seller must locate the original title deed before the sales process begins to avoid future stalling and delays.