When buying or selling a property, understanding who is responsible for the various costs involved can be crucial. Typically, several expenses must be accounted for, ranging from legal fees to taxes and other transaction-related charges. This article outlines the common costs associated with property transfers and clarifies who bears these responsibilities, helping you navigate the financial aspects of your real estate transaction with confidence.


1) The amount required to settle your existing mortgage bond, if the property is bonded. As transferring attorneys, we assist in getting the settlement figures from your bank, and then ensure such figures are paid on registration from the proceeds of the sale, usually secured via guarantees. It is worth noting that the bank’s impose a 90 day cancellation penalty once they receive notice that you are selling. Our suggestion is to advise your bank about your intention to sell as soon as possible (even if the property is not yet sold) so that the 90 days can start running.

2) The bank’s attorney’s costs to formally cancel the bond at the deeds office. These fees are determined by the Legal Practice Council and will also be deducted from your proceeds.

3) Estate agents commission. This amount will also be deducted by the transferring attorney from your proceeds;

4) Compliance Certificate/s. As a seller, you will also be responsible for obtaining compliance certificates, and ensuring that the purchaser receives same on registration. You will be required to obtain an Electrical Compliance Certificate from an Electrician registered with Department of Labour, and the costs involved for the work done and issuing of the certificate. If there is gas or an electric fence encircling the property, then a Gas Compliance and Electric Fence Certificate will be required as well.

5) Payment of rates and levies, approximately 4 months up front. As transferring attorneys, we apply to the municipality to obtain the figures, and once received, you will need to pay same (to us) upfront. We, as the transferring attorneys, then pay the council on your behalf and follow up with them in order to obtain the necessary Rates Clearance Certificate required for transfer. If the property is part of a sectional title scheme, or if it is subject to a Home Owners Association, then the same applies in respect of the levies. We request and facilitate in obtaining these certificates as part of the transfer process.

6) An additional element to consider, if seller’s find themselves overseas: the costs of a notary public and/or Embassy in duly authenticating the transfer documents to be signed; and the costs involved on having the documents couriered to South Africa. Such documents must be duly authenticated in order to be acceptable to the Deeds Office. 


Transfer costs

The costs involved in the transfer which are payable to the transferring attorneys. Typically this involves:  the transferring attorneys fee (this is based on the purchase price/value of the property and is determined by the Legal Practice Council); Transfer Duty (if the purchase price exceeds R 1 100 000), this is a tax levied by SARS in respect of property transactions); postages & petties (disbursements and administrative charges in relation to the transfer fee); Deeds Office Fee (as published in the Government Gazette and based on the purchase price of the property); FICA verification fee (costs incurred when verifying and identifying the identity of a client prior to establishing a business relationship with them); electronic generation fee (fees incurred for the generation of electronic documents); Deeds Office Search fee (searches conducted via the deeds office to determine whether there are any conditions which may prevent transfer); Rates Application and/or Levy Application & certificate fee (a rates clearance certificate must be obtained to ensure that there are no outstanding rates and taxes owed by the seller – the actual rates figures received are payable by the seller); Notary Fees if there is an Exclusive Use Area applicable (pertaining to Sectional Title properties) to draft and execute the Cession of Exclusive use.

Bond registration costs

The costs involved in registering a bond (if applicable) payable to the bond registration attorneys. This does not necessarily include initiation fees etc which are payable directly to the bank. The bond attorneys fee is based on the bond amount and is determined by the Legal Practice Council.