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Who Pays for What During the Transfer of Property?

When it comes to buying and selling property in South Africa, both the buyer and the seller have certain financial obligations. It is crucial to know what these obligations are before pursuing the transfer of property is crucial and will help you prepare for it before you sign a contract.

But the question is, who is responsible for paying what?

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Property Transfer Costs in South Africa – Who Pays for What?

Seller’s Costs

If you are selling a property, you will be responsible for the following where applicable:

Estate Agent Commission

Assuming that you have chosen to employ an estate agent to market and sell your property, as the seller you will be liable to pay for the estate agent’s commission earned off the sale.

Certificates of Compliance

Before you can sell your property, there are several compliance certificates that must be obtained. These include:

  • Plumbing certificate
  • Gas certificate of compliance (if you have gas appliances installed)
  • Electrical certificate of compliance
  • Electric fence certificate of compliance (if applicable)
Bond Cancellation

If you have a bond, you will need to pay bond cancellation fees directly to the bond cancellation attorney. This fee is applicable even if your bond reflects a balance of zero. To do this, you will need to provide three months’ notice in writing to the relevant bank. If you don’t comply with this notice period, you will face a penalty equal to approximately one month’s bond repayment for every month of notice that you failed to give.

Additional Costs

Generally speaking, as a seller, you will need to pay your rates and taxes up to 60 days in advance, as well as settle any arrears owing on levies and homeowner’s association fees. Other costs that you may face as a seller include:

  • General financial undertakings
  • Obtaining a directive from SARS
  • Repatriation of funds
  • Bridging finance

Buyer’s Costs

As a buyer of a property, you will be required to pay for the following where applicable:

Occupational Rent

If you are planning to take occupation of the property before the transfer has been officiated, you will be required to pay occupational rent. Although some sellers don’t include this in their sale agreement, so it depends on the terms stipulated in the contract.

Bond Registration

If you are applying for a bond, you will need to pay bond fees to your chosen finance provider. There is also a bond registration fee that is charged by the bond origination attorneys who are tasked with registering the bond over the property on your behalf.

Transfer Costs

When it comes to transferring property into your name, you will be liable to pay transfer fees as well as transfer duty (also known as tax) on transactions that exceed R1 million. These fees are payable to the conveyancing attorneys before transfer takes place.


A VAT portion is applicable when purchasing property from a developer. This takes the place of transfer duty. And, in some cases, if the seller is VAT registered and the sale of the property forms part of their business or enterprise, the purchase price can be recorded as either VAT exclusive or VAT inclusive. This depends on the terms of the contract.

Phoenix Bonds – Bond Origination Services in South Africa

Knowing what costs are involved with buying or selling property in South Africa is a crucial step of the process. Educating yourself on what to expect will help you determine what you are able to afford, the deposit you are able to put down, and whether or not you need a bond.

Getting all this paperwork ready in advance ensures that you can act swiftly when you find the home of your dreams. Our bond originators can help you obtain several bond quotes as well as the lowest interest rates possible.

Contact us for assistance with bond origination.

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