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How do you become the legal owner of land/property? It’s not just as simple as getting the original ownership documents. Scorpion Legal Protection explains the role of conveyancers and tips for making sure the process runs smoothly.
Before change of ownership can occur, there needs to be a sale agreement between the seller and the buyer. If the transfer is a donation, then a donation agreement will be required according to section 2 of the Alienation of Land Act (No. 68 of 1981). In order for an agreement relating to the sale of immovable property to be valid, it must be in writing and signed by both parties. If the agreement is not in writing or signed, it does not count and will be seen as null and void.
Once you’ve signed the sales agreement, you will need to hire a conveyancer. A conveyancer is an attorney who specialises in the transfer of immovable property. If there is a bond on the property, then the title deed will be kept by the lender or bank and only returned to the owner once the home loan has been fully paid.
Once the seller has accepted your offer to purchase in writing and by signing it, you will immediately have to pay a deposit. You will pay the purchase price over to the conveyancer’s trust account, and the conveyancer will pay this money over to the
seller once the transfer has been completed successfully. This money remains yours until the entire transfer process is completed, even though you have paid it over to the conveyancer.
The conveyancer will then take the necessary steps to begin the registration of the transfer of immovable property at the relevant Deeds Office. Both the buyer and the seller will be asked to present themselves at the offices of the conveyancer to sign the transfer documents prepared by the conveyancer, which are needed to complete the process. The conveyancer will then lodge these documents with the Deeds Office. If everything is in order, the property will be registered and the title deed will be changed to be in the name of the buyer. The conveyancer will issue these documents to the buyer (who is now the legal owner).
It depends on the type of sale, but generally it takes between 6 and 12 weeks, although it could be longer.
You may also be interested in:
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Dealing with a deceased’s estate
If you have a query, follow Scorpion Legal Protection on Facebook and ask your question during our next Live Q&A (every first Thursday of the month from 11:30- 13:30).
* This is only basic paralegal advice and cannot be relied on solely. The information is correct at the time of being sent to publishing. Cases are based on fictional characters unless otherwise indicated.
Date added: 24 January 2022
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