Both the seller and the buyer have certain responsibilities and obligations that they need to address during a property transaction before the property can change ownership. And both parties should prepare financially before they either selling or buying a property because there are extra costs, legally and otherwise, on both sides.

The buyer is responsible for the transfer fees and the bond costs if registering a bond with a finance provider. Also, when a property is bought and transferred into the buyer’s name, the government levies a tax on the property transaction based on the value of the property. However, properties valued below R750 000 are exempt from paying transfer duty, and properties bought for more than R750 000 are charged on a sliding scale percentage relative to the property’s value. Transfer duty is paid to the conveyancing attorneys about one month before the transfer of the property into the buyer’s name. This is why you should have money saved up before you even begin to look for your new home.

The seller is responsible for paying the agent’s commission, which is usually deducted from the money received from the sale of the property. The seller also pays for all clearance certificates for the property such as an Electrical Certificate of Compliance (ECOC), which must not be older than two years and must cover all electrical installations during this time. Sellers should note that electric fences are covered under a separate certificate. Other clearance certificates will include a water and plumbing certificate, plus a gas certificate and beetle certificate (to check for insects such as wood borers that can cause damage to a property), if applicable. If no repairs are required in order to obtain the certificates then the seller must be prepared to pay for this, too.

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