The Transfer [Conveyancing] process

The Transfer [Conveyancing] process

There are essentially two contract processes that enable you to buy a property, whether residential  [our main focus in this article] or commercial.. These are the Bond Registration process and the Transfer [Conveyancing] process.

We covered the Registration process in our last article. Remember what is happening here in the Transfer [Conveyancing] process is that a qualified Transfer Attorney is assuring that the property is transferred from the Seller to the Buyer without any doubt as to ownership in the future.

Thanks to attorneys Yammin Hammond Inc. for their easy-to-understand Transfer [Conveyancing] process:

Transferring ownership of a property from the Seller to the Buyer (i.e. conveyancing) is a complicated and often misunderstood process. It involves a number of parties, many of whom have conflicting interests. All of them, however, have to coordinate their efforts to ensure that the documents arrive at the Deeds Office on the same day.

There are other parties, such as the Estate Agent, Mortgage Lender and Bond Originator, who have a financial interest in the transaction and often want it to be completed in the shortest possible time.

Understanding the sequence of events will help you monitor the process accurately and also give you an idea of the time remaining at each stage.

Below are some of the steps typically required to transfer a residential property. It has been written in simple language and illustrates the relationships between the various parties.Much of the jargon and key concepts are explained in the notes on the right hand side.

Step Description Notes
1. You sign an offer to purchase a house from the Seller using an Estate Agent


The Sale Agreement (or Deed of Sale) is a binding contract between the Buyer and the Seller that forms the basis of the transaction.
2. You apply to the Bank for a loan or a Bond Originator applies on your behalf A bond application normally forms part of the “suspensive conditions”, i.e. events that need to happen before the sale is finalised. Another common suspensive condition is the sale of an existing property.
3. The Estate Agent sends the Sale Agreement to the Transferring Attorney The Sale Agreement (or Deed of Sale) is a binding contract between the Buyer and the Seller that forms the basis of the transaction.
4. The Transferring Attorney contacts the Seller’s bank and requests the original Title Deed and the cancellation figures If the Seller has a bond over the property, his/her bank will hold the Title Deed in safekeeping. The bank will also provide cancellation figures (or discharge costs), i.e. how much is required to settle the Seller’s bond.
5. Your bank instructs their attorney, the Bond Attorney, to register a Mortgage Bond A Mortgage Bond is a special loan which uses fixed property (e.g. a house) as security and it is registered in the Deeds Office.
6. The Seller’s bank instructs their attorney, the Cancellation Attorney, to cancel the Seller’s bond The Cancellation Attorney sends the Title Deed and guarantee requirements (i.e. the cancellation costs) to the Bond Attorney and the Transferring Attorney.
7. The Transferring Attorney requests a Rates Clearance Certificate from the Local Authority A property cannot be transferred if there are outstanding rates and taxes. The Transferring Attorney will also do a Deeds Office search at this stage to check the details of the property.
8. The Transferring Attorney assembles and prepares the documents This can take up to 3 weeks.
9. You will be called by the Transferring Attorney to come in and sign the documents You will be required to sign a Power of Attorney to Transfer as well as a number of affidavits to verify your marital status, financial status and identity. Remember to take your identity document and FICA documents.
10. You pay the transfer costs and your share of the rates and taxes You will be presented with a pro-forma account, which is an estimate of the costs. You will get a final account after registration when the actual costs are known. The costs vary because the date of registration is unknown at this stage and some of the costs are determined by this date. Note: The Seller will also pay his/her share of the rates and taxes at this time.
11. The Transferring Attorney instructs the Lodging Attorney to lodge the documents in the Deeds Office The Lodging Attorney is located near the Deeds Office and acts on behalf of the Transferring Attorney (who may be far away from the Deeds Office – even in another town).
12. The Lodging Attorney contacts the Cancellation Attorney and Bond Attorney to ensure the documents are lodged together on the same day The documents have to be registered at the same time because the Seller’s bank has guarantees that ensure it will be paid when their bond is cancelled and they are not prepared to cancel the bond until the new bond is registered.
13. The Deeds Office Examiner carefully checks all the documents This stage is called “on prep”. It can take between 7 – 10 working days depending on how busy the Deeds Office is.
14. The Deeds Office Examiner contacts the Lodging Attorney, Bond Attorney and Cancellation Attorney to inform them the documents are ready This stage is called “up for prep” or “up for fees”. It means the documents are all in order and they will be registered the next day.
15. The documents are registered The Buyer becomes the owner of the property and the Seller is paid out the net proceeds. The Estate Agent is paid their commission.
16. The Transferring Attorney sends the Title Deed to your bank It can take up to 3 months for the Deeds Office to send the Title Deed to the Attorneys. If you don’t have a bond, the Title Deed will be sent to you.

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Jack Trevena
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