For most people, your house is your most valuable and important asset. When you decide to sell this asset, the process is complex and potentially long-winded. It makes sense then, that when you sell your house, you want to hand this process to a conveyancer that you can trust. You need a conveyancer that you know will act both speedily and with integrity.
Why do you need a conveyancer?
When you sell your property, the conveyancer is the specialist attorney that deals with the legal side of transferring your property. She will carry out the process of registering the buyer as the new owner. Because conveyancing is a specialised process, only suitably qualified attorneys are allowed to practice as conveyancers. And only conveyancers can register the transfer of ownership of a property in the Deeds Office.
Your risk: What can go wrong?
If you decide to sell your property, the first step in the process is usually to appoint an estate agent to find a buyer for you. In doing this, it is important that you have a clear agreement in place with the agent. Clarity is everything! You do not want to have disputes over the terms of your agreement that could result in you losing out. Even at this step, you should get your attorney’s advice before you agree to anything. Your conveyancer, being experienced in this area, will be able to ensure the fairest agreement between you and your estate agent. If you choose your own conveyancer, you have peace of mind that your conveyancer is going to give you the best possible advice here.
The next step involved in selling your house is the actual sale agreement. This agreement MUST be in writing, properly signed, and comply with a whole checklist of requirements. It must also be clear (clarity is everything!). Things can go disastrously wrong if you do not fulfill any of these requirements. Also, it is absolutely critical that you understand what you are committing yourself to. Except in very few circumstances, our law is strict in holding you to whatever terms and conditions are in the agreement. Be sure to sign nothing until your attorney has checked everything for you. Once again, if you choose your own conveyancer, you can have that peace of mind.
Throughout this whole process, you want things to happen as speedily as possible. A delay in the transfer process puts you at risk of substantial loss. Your conveyancer jumps through all sorts of hoops for you before your property is transferred. Many of these hoops require cooperation from third parties like bondholders, SARS and the local municipality. Some depend on your buyer’s active participation. Any of these third parties might be delayed in their cooperation. Your buyer might want to delay the process or is struggling to get all of his affairs in order (for example he might be struggling to come up with a bond). If any delay happens, you need rapid corrective action to be taken. If you choose your own conveyancer, you can choose one on whom you can rely to move the process along with minimal delay.
Choose your own conveyancer
Ultimately, as a seller, you carry more risk than the buyer if things go wrong. Because of this, it is completely fair that you have the right to nominate your own attorney to take care of the conveyancing. It is vital that the sale agreement confirms this right unambiguously. The fact that the buyer normally pays the conveyancer (as part of the transfer costs) is irrelevant. The buyer is allowed to appoint his own attorney to monitor the transfer at his own cost, but this is seldom necessary. And if a buyer pushes for the appointment of another conveyancer because that conveyancer has discounted fees, remember that such discounts only benefit the buyer and not you. Don’t let anyone take away your right to choose your own conveyancer!
If you need help or advice on selling a property, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected].