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“Your offer has been accepted” – the magic words we all want to hear when waiting in painstaking anticipation to hear the result of an Offer to Purchase. But what happens now?

 

The rush that you receive from owning your very first home may turn to panic when you realise you have no idea what happens next.

 

If you are a first time homeowner you may think it is simply a matter of pay and receive – not so fast.

 

Here are 6 steps to the registration and transfer process of a property

 

Step 1:  Finalise your bond

Barring cash offers, most Offer to Purchase applications will be subject to bond approval. It is essential that you get this process into action as soon as possible. You will need to send your bank or chosen bond originator a copy of the signed agreement.

 

Your bank will then arrange a property valuation as well as a credit check on your financial background before a decision is made. If your bond is approved, your bank will send a formal letter confirming this.

 

Step 2:  Electricity, Water and Refuse

You are required to apply at the City of Cape Town for an electrical and refuse account in your name. You are liable for electricity from the date of possession or transfer. A pro-rata portion of the electricity is collected based on an estimate received from the City of Cape Town.

 

Step 3: The Conveyancing Attorney

This process normally takes around eight weeks from the date of fulfilment of all suspensive conditions such as the final and binding agreement date and the registration of transfer.

 

The transfer attorney or ‘conveyancing attorney’ will check the Agreement of Sale to ensure all conditions and requirements are met. They will then check the property’s details and order a copy of the title deeds to the property.

 

The deposit should be paid within seven days after signing the offer to purchase.

 

 

Step 4: Rates clearance figures

If a bond has been applied for and is approved in accordance with the Sales Agreement, the conveyancer will apply for rates clearance figures as well as a valuation certificate from the local authority. An application to SARS for the transfer duty receipt will also be made.

 

Once the rates figures have been received, the conveyancer will request immediate payment from the seller that is then paid to the City of Cape Town in order to issue the rates clearance certificate. This is required for lodgement and registration of transfer.

 

Step 5: Signing the Transfer Papers

All parties are contacted to sign the transfer documents. Following this you will be required to pay all costs and fees to the conveyancer in terms of the Agreement of Sale.

 

Your bond attorneys will then contact the conveyancer for all transactions particulars and advice on funds available for guarantees. The guarantee is then required from yourself and the bond registration attorneys.

 

Step 6: The transfer date

A date is set for when the transfer will take place but there is no guarantee the transfer will take place at this time. The transfer process usually takes between two and three months.

 

This date is dependent on the examination within the Deeds Office which is usually between nine and 14 working days. After lodgement, the real estate agency and all linked attorneys have five working days to register the deeds.

 

On the date of the “registration of transfer”, you are officially the new owner of the property.

 

The cooling off period

If at any stage during this process you decide to not buy the property, there will be a stipulated “cooling off period”. This is listed in the Offer to Purchase and means the buyer is able to back out of the deal if the property price is less than R250 000.

 

If the property price is more than R250 000 you will not be able to back out of the deal as an Offer to Purchase is legally binding. You will most likely pay a penalty should you back out of a deal because of affordability issues.

 

Buying a house is not as simple as handing over the money and walking into your new house. The transfer process can take up to three months to complete (if all goes well).  While this process requires a bit of a waiting period, a well-informed real estate agent should ensure that the entire process is as seamless as possible.