Consumer Information

Author:  Dept. rural developmet & land reform
May 2020

Property Transfer Process

This high-level property transfer process depicts the reasons for wanting to transfer property and then highlights the key activities in the next two major steps of the process which is the Conveyancing tranfer activities and the Deeds Registration activities when the reason is to Buy/Sell.

 Before You Transfer  Property

The first trigger in the process is the need to transfer property, where in most examples is to purchase property. This purchase and sale can either be for commercial purposes or private property. The process is similar. This means that you have to make an arrangement for the Title Deed (this is a legal document that shows who is the rightful owner of the property) to be registered/transferred in your name. At the start of the process, you will require an Offer to Purchase and will also have to consult with a lawyer that specializes in property transfers (also known as a Conveyancer). In Johannesburg, there are almost 2,000 active conveyancing firms with Law Society to choose from.

Get to know more information about the property

People often want to see the property boundaries identified and they can get a copy of the plans (i.e. the diagram approved by the Surveyor General and surveyed by a registered Professional Land Surveyor) from the Chief Surveyor General. You would be required to input the ERF number (cadastral property description). The plan will provide information such as:

  • The extent of the property (the size of the property)
  • The existence of servitudes affecting the property (such power lines servitude, sewer and drain servitude, right of way servitudes)
  • Boundary lines and its dimensions
  • The registered cadastral property description (ERF number)
  • Information pertaining to the Deed relating to that property
  • The existence of any land claims endorsements relating to the property
  • Whether the property is a standalone property or a consolidation of two properties
  • And any other endorsements affecting the property

There is an online system that can be accessed at these links:

Useful information before Yoiu begin the Property Transfer Process

The Conveyancer will assess the type of property transfer that is required and will consider the applicable laws such as Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA). The Conveyancer will request for FICA documents such as:

  • Certified Copies of the Identity documents
  • Proof of Residential Address
  • Marriage Certificate or Ante-nuptial Contract
  • Company’s Memorandum of Incorporation of the seller and buyer

So, you might want to have the relevant documents at hand.

  • The conveyancer will also request other information such as the Seller’s existing bond as well as the Rates  Assessment and/or Levy Assessment from the Body Corporate or Home Owners Association. So, if you have all this information beforehand, and it is paid up in full then it will make the process work faster.
  • The conveyancer will still request for rates clearance figures from the Municipality. Make sure that your electricity and water readings are up to date (and not estimates) and all your services are paid in full then it will make the process faster.

Please note that purchasing property is not the only reason for transferring property.   The Registrar of Deeds has a duty to register different types of transfers of ownership and cessions of rights registered in the deeds office arising from different causes as provided by the Deeds Registries Act.  Other deeds registered in the deeds office include, to mention but a few, mortgage bonds, powers of attorney, servitudes, marriage contracts such as ante-nuptial and postnuptial, township registers etc.

It is also useful to note that an electricity compliance certificate is required so the seller must ensure that all the electrical requirements are met. To speed up the process, it would be good if a registered electrician can run the tests and provide you with an electrical certificate.

Here are some examples of the Offer to Purchase Templates.
Template for Offer to Purchase for Commercial Property
Template for Offer to Purchase for Residential Property

Link to the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform website: