Since property transfers are some of the highest-value transactions that you may make in your lifetime, it naturally follows that you need to ensure that you don’t let your money go to waste – especially when choosing someone to handle the process for you. Choosing the right conveyancing attorney can save you a lot of headaches down the road.
As COVID-19 hit the shores of South Africa, there was already quite a clear indication of what the medium-term future might hold. Consumer spending dropped across the globe, and investors, in panic, were withdrawing the value from their financial assets. Over the stretch of 2020 in South Africa, this led to the need to stimulate the economy by lowering interest rates. In the middle of it all, the property market stands as a mirror image of the surrounding economy, where conveyancing attorneys are standing on the frontlines, as if fighting in a war.
The property market remains an active market right now because those who were adversely affected by the effects of the pandemic are selling off property to make ends meet, while for those who weren’t as adversely affected, there has never been a better time to buy property with sustained low interest rates on property bonds.
In the middle of the storm of the active property market are the conveyancers who are doing all the work to deal with the legal aspects of the property transfers taking place. This is why, for the buyers and sellers at the end points, the right conveyancer can mean a world of difference and should not be chosen lightly.
A conveyancing attorney is someone who helps both the buyer and seller navigate the terms of transfer of a property that will have consequences far into the future. With these long-term stakes, buying property is a big commitment. Perhaps the only greater commitment you can make in life is getting married. And just as much as you wouldn’t choose just any marriage officer to officiate your wedding, it is also inadvisable to pick your conveyancer at a whim.
What, then, are the qualities you need to look out for in a conveyancing attorney?
Knowledge and Expertise
A Conveyancing attorney, in the simplest of terms, is a lawyer who handles all the legal processes related to the transfer of a property on behalf of the buyer and seller. Since property transfers are high-value agreements, it is necessary that you pick a conveyancing attorney that knows the ins and outs of property law as one misstep can seriously delay the transfer process.
Conveyancers are qualified attorneys that have undergone additional training after obtaining their law degree and being admitted as an attorney in accordance with the terms of the Legal Practice Act. However, not all attorneys are created equally. So, choose one that is confident in their ability to handle all the legal matters and that has a track record to boot.
Some property transfers might also require specialised knowledge related to restrictions and conditions to the use of the property (such as servitudes). A good conveyancer will be able to point out anything that could become a cause for concern.
Accessibility and Transparency
When it comes to legal matters, staying up to date is key as things can change quickly and new issues can rapidly pop up. A good conveyancer will be accessible to you and inform you of any new developments in the transfer process. Not only should they keep you up to speed, but should also be available to answer any questions you might have regarding the process.
Poor communication is not a good look on a conveyancer. Make sure that your conveyancer is someone that will explain the processes involved in the property transfer as simply as they can.
Approachability and trustworthiness
A Good conveyancing attorney acts in the interests of both the buyer and the seller. Although the seller has prerogative when appointing a conveyancer for the transfer of their property, the buyer shouldn’t be left to bear the consequences of a poor decision. Therefore, the buyer and seller must find the conveyancer approachable and helpful when required.
A conveyancer that acts in the interest of both parties not only smooths the process of the transfer, but also helps to make the entire process an amicable experience.
The value of choosing the right conveyancing attorney cannot be overlooked. Peace-of-mind and clarity can go a long way towards making a house a home, while satisfying the seller’s needs as well.
Conveyancing: Conventional Deeds (Act 47/1937): Guideline of Fees
Legal Practice Act No. 28 of 2014
This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)