6 Steps That Will Prevent Property Transfer Delays (Paul Stevens, CEO of Just Property, 23 Jun 2016)

23 Jun 2016

Stevens says there are steps sellers must take when preparing themselves for the property sale to prevent certain issues from becoming a problem later on in the process.

Paul Stevens, CEO of Just Property, says this criticism is often well founded, however, delays can often be prevented if sellers take certain steps before selling their property.

Stevens says there are steps sellers must take when preparing themselves for the property sale to prevent certain issues from becoming a problem later on in the process.

“The idea that these issues can somehow be sorted as the sale progresses is invariably wrong - going ahead without resolving these essential issues can delay and jeopardise the sale agreement,” he says.

Stevens provides six steps to prevent property transfer delays:

1. Ensure all rates are paid up
The city council will not issue a rates clearance certificate until all outstanding rates and services have been paid, together with the payment of advance rates and services.
A property cannot be transferred without a valid rates clearance certificate. If the seller is in arrears with their rates or cannot afford payment of the required advance amount, they will either have to obtain bridging finance or a short-term loan.
2. If there is no bond, make sure you have the deed
If the seller has no bond, they must ensure that they have the property’s original title deeds. If there is a bond, the original will be lodged with the bank.
Title deeds, however, have the tendency to disappear. When they are lost the conveyancer will need to apply for a copy at the Deeds Office, which costs money and takes time.
“Therefore, be sure to take note of the whereabouts of you original title deed,” says Stevens.
“If you cannot find it, immediately instruct a conveyancer to apply for a registration copy at the Deeds Office to avoid potential delays.”
3. Ensure all outstanding bond payments are paid up in full
Stevens says the city council will not issue a rates clearance certificate until all outstanding rates and services have been paid, together with the payment of advance rates and services.
Give the bank sufficient notice when you intend to sell and to cancel the bond.
If this is not done, the bank is entitled to charge a penalty fee for early termination of the bond.
“Furthermore, if you are aware that your bond settlement together with all other costs will be more than the purchase price, result in a shortfall situation, please make the conveyancer aware of this fact as soon as possible so the necessary steps can be taken with the bank to prevent any further delays,” says Stevens.
4. Check financials of sectional title schemes
“If the unit is part of a sectional title complex, make sure that you have a copy of the latest financial statements and the management and conduct rules of the body corporate before you sell your unit,” says Stevens.
The bank the purchaser has applied to for a bond will require these documents before they grant the loan, and fften a purchaser will want to see these documents before they put in an offer. In some cases the body corporate’s financials are not up to date, and this may lead to the deal not going through.
"It is important, as a seller, to do your homework before you sell your unit," says Stevens.
5. Resolve HOA or body corporate disputes
“If the seller is in a sectional title unit, gated community or a similar development, it is important to sort out any issues with the homeowners association (HOA) or body corporate regarding levies or certain living and design guidelines - before signing a sale document,” says Stevens.
There is often a title deed requirement that such an association must consent to the sale. If there is a dispute between the association and the seller, they may be entitled to withhold such consent until the dispute is resolved to their satisfaction.
Therefore sellers must make sure that disputes are resolved with such an association before the property is sold. It will be unfair to the purchaser if the transfer is delayed because of an existing dispute between the seller and the body corporate or homeowners association.
6. Honour the occupation dates
“Ensure you move out of your home by the agreed date - do not try to delay this, especially at the last minute,” says Stevens.

He says late handovers can cause many problems for the buyer, who has vacated his previous premises on time.

“These steps are also not applicable to all sellers in every situation - a prepared seller is an essential ingredient to a smooth and successful transfer process,” says Stevens