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The legal steps to selling a house in South Africa

Selling a home is a significantly profitable endeavour. Ensure the process goes smoothly by being aware of your legal obligations.

ooba: Legal Steps Selling House

Article summary

  • You can sell a home private or employ an estate agency under sole or open mandate.
  • You need to draw up a sales agreement, and sign the offer to purchase.
  • You are legally obligated to provide certain documents, including five certificates of compliance.

Whether you’re selling a property to profit off your investment, or so you can fund a new home purchase, you need to know your obligations so you can ensure the process goes smoothly. You don’t want to encounter any bumps in the road.

Here are the legal steps to selling a home:

1. Agree on a mandate with the estate agency

When you empoy an estate agent to market the property, you agree on a sole mandate or open mandate. A sole mandate means only one estate agency will have the rights to market and sell the property, whereas an open mandate means multiple agencies can get involved.

Each approach has pros and cons. For example, an open mandate may result in higher visibility for your property as more agencies will be advertising it, but a sole mandate means the estate agency you hire will be committed to getting you the best deal rather than beating other agencies to the punch.

2. Draw up a sales agreement

An attorney can be employed to draw up the sales agreement for you. This will include information such as:

  • The full name, address and ID number of the seller, if the seller is an individual.
  • The registered Name, registration number and registered address if the seller is an entity.

You can draw up the sales agreement yourself, but it’s better to hire a professional. Also, estate agencies usually have their own standard sales agreements that can be used.

3. The offer to purchase

The offer to purchase differs from the sales agreement in that it is made by the buyer and contains a proposal to buy the property.

The seller needs to read through the offer carefully and ensure that all the terms of the agreement work for them.

It will usually contain a time period in which the seller must accept the offer, else the document will be rendered redundant.

The offer to purchase is legally binding; breaking the terms of the agreement will incur a significant penalty.

4. The seller must inform of the buyer of any flaws or defects in the property

This is required of the seller even if the property is being sold voetstoots.

5. The transfer of property

The seller is responsible for appointing the conveyancing attorney, who will transfer the property from their name to the buyer’s name.

This is a part of the home selling process that the seller cannot conduct privately. It is required by law that an attorney be present for the transfer of property and title deed registration process.

The documents needed to sell a property

The seller is legally obligated to have certain documents in possession. These include the five compliance certificates that prove the property is in good working condition:

  • Electrical Certificate of Compliance Ensures that all electrical work conforms to regulation standards.
  • Electrical Fence Certificate If there is an electric fence installed, it requires separate certification from the rest of the electrical grid.
  • Water Installation Certificate Ensures that water regulation conforms to National Building Regulations.
  • Gas Certificate of Compliance Ensures that all gas installations are in order, such as gas-powered stoves, fires and geysers.
  • Beetle-free certificate Confirms that there are no beetles eating into the wooden structures.

Other documents required by the seller include:

  • Proof of your identity.
  • Title deed for the property.
  • Shared Freehold documents for the property (only if your property retains a share of the freehold) or leasehold documents (if it’s a leased property).
  • Management Information Pack (required if you pay service charges or if the property is a leasehold).

Should I hire an estate agent?

Although you can also choose to sell your home privately; at ooba Home Loans, we recommend employing an estate agent as they provide invaluable advice and reduce admin on your part.

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