Why Are So Many Lawyers Involved in Buying a House?

When you buy or sell a house, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes. One thing you might notice is that a lot of lawyers are involved. Why so many? Let’s break it down with our Quick Guide to the Different Lawyers in Your Property Deal:

When you start the process of buying a property, you will sign an Offer to Purchase or Sale Agreement, (which is a binding agreement as soon as the seller signs it). That’s just the first of many signatures before you finally own your new house or property. Most homeowners will finance their purchase with a mortgage bond or home loan – which adds yet another party – the Bank – to this transaction.

Here’s a rundown of the different attorneys the buyer and seller might use:

Transferring Attorneys: These are the lawyers that are stipulated in the Offer to Purchase or Sale Agreement. As buyer, it is sometimes possible to negotiate to use your preferred Attorneys. These Attorneys manage the registration of the property in the new owner’s name in the applicable Deeds Office.

Bond Attorneys: These lawyers come into play if the buyer is getting a loan to buy the house. They are chosen by the bank giving the loan and make sure everything is legally in order for the loan. Most banks in South Africa will have a panel of pre-approved Attorneys that they’ll appoint to handle the Bond registration process on behalf of the buyer. 

Bond (Cancellation) Attorneys: These lawyers are in charge of making sure the seller’s loan on the house gets paid up and cancelled.

Sometimes, the buyer and seller might need additional attorneys if they have loans on other properties they need to sell to buy the new house. These lawyers might not be from the same law firms as the ones mentioned before.

Every loan that gets registered or cancelled is reflected on the property’s Title Deed and is recorded at the Deeds Office. This means all the attorneys have to work together to make sure everything happens at the same time. In an ideal world, one group of lawyers would handle everything – the loan, the transfer, and the cancellation. This would make things simpler at the Deeds Office.

There’s one attorney we haven’t added to the mix, and that’s the Advising Attorney. If you are involved with a particularly complex or large property transaction, it is a good idea to consult an experienced property or conveyancing attorney who will be able to explain the processes to you and give you piece of mind that everything is being handled correctly and promptly.

 Happy House Hunting!

By Gustav Meyer|Meyer Attorneys