As property specialist, I get asked certain questions more frequently than others. The one I get asked most is why there are so many attorneys involved in such a simple process?
Firstly, it is a misconception that the sale of a property is a simple process.
Ownership of immovable property in South Africa 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 of the relevant province.
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:
They transfer the property from the seller to the buyer.
They represent the seller and are appointed by the seller.
They register the bond over the property in favour of the bank that is financing the purchase of the property.
They represent the buyer and the bank granting the buyer's home loan.
Appointed by the bank granting the buyer's home loan.
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.
In a typical registration and transfer process the attorney is involved in more than 50 activities, involving up to 12 parties, before the transaction can be completed. The conveyancers need to create synergy between al these parties, while keeping the clients informed and happy at the same time.
Not the easiest task, as you can see.