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Friday Sep 18, 2020

Why you need both an estate agent and transferring attorney

A real estate transaction is a multi-faceted process that requires the expertise of multiple professions. While a real estate practitioner adds most of their value at the beginning stages of the process, the transferring and conveyancing attorneys begin their work at the end of the sale. Both professions are vital to concluding seamless property transactions.

"A real estate agent is there to evaluate and market the property, use the power of their database and network to find a suitable buyer, negotiate on the seller's behalf to ensure the best deal possible, and then co-ordinate all the necessary paperwork between the buyer and seller. At this point, the transferring and conveyancing attorney steps in to finalise the deal," explains Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett.  

Many are unaware that the change of ownership of the property does not happen when the Offer to Purchase is signed, or even when the purchase price is paid to the seller. Rather, for ownership to change hands, the property needs to go through a registration process at the Deeds Office - a process that requires the services of conveyancing attorneys.

"Each time a property is sold, it will go through the conveyancing process and a new title deed will be issued in the name of the new owner. Part of the process is also to remove the property from the seller's name. The title deed ensures the certainty of the owner's title to the property that he or she has purchased," Goslett explains.

To make this process happen, three different attorneys handle various parts of the deal, namely the registering attorney, the cancellation attorney, and the transferring attorney. The transferring attorney is appointed by and will represent the seller and should keep the seller updated with the progress of the transaction.

Once the OTP is signed and all the relevant documents are ready, the transferring attorney will lodge them with the Deeds Office. The attorney will be in contact with the seller's bank and inform the seller once their bond has been settled and cancelled.

"It is then the conveyancing attorney's job to do everything in their power to expedite the registration of the property, bearing in mind that they are heavily dependent on several external parties such as banks, city councils and the such. Ideally, they will aim to close the transaction on the date that was agreed upon in the Offer to Purchase, provided there are no unexpected delays," Goslett explains.

Once everything has been concluded, and the home has been successfully registered, the attorney will account to the seller for any fees that relate to the transaction. Sellers can expect to receive this account within two days of the property's date of registration.

"While the transferring and conveying attorneys provide an invaluable service to buyers and sellers, their work cannot get underway until a real estate professional has successfully matched a buyer to a seller. Together, these two interlinked professions enable the successful conclusion of all real estate transactions," Goslett concludes.

For more advice around homeownership, or to get in touch with the world's largest brand in real estate, visit


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