How many attorneys are really involved in a property transaction

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A question often asked by sellers, buyers and estate agents is how many attorneys are really involved in a property transfer and who pays them all. Buyers are very often shocked to find out that they will receive a bill from two attorneys. Somewhere between this all, mention is sometimes made of a bond cancellation attorney. So how do they all fit together.


The main attorney who in some way has to monitor and control the other attorneys involved is the transferring attorney or more specifically referred to as the conveyancer. The conveyancer is nominated by the seller and depending on what the deed of sale stipulates, the buyer will normally be responsible to pay all the costs involved in having the property registered in his or her name, including the transferring attorney’s fees. The conveyancer will be ultimately be responsible to transfer the property from the seller to the buyer in the deeds office and furthermore controlling the transaction and making sure every aspect of the deed of sale is adhered to.


The second attorney is the bond registration attorney. They are appointed by the bank who grants the buyer’s loan. Registering a bond over a property is a totally different transaction than the actual transfer, although these two transactions will be linked in the deeds office in order to happen at the same time. The bond registration attorney will have its own set of documents to be signed by the purchaser and he’s bill will also have to be paid by the buyer. Note that this is only applicable in cases where the buyer will be making use of a bond to purchase the home.


The third attorney involved is the bond cancellation attorney and will only be involved in cases where the seller has an existing bond registered over the property to be transferred. This attorney is also appointed by the bank which holds the existing bond. They normally don’t deal directly with the client (seller) and will more often liaise with the transferring attorney to provide the necessary and to collect any documentation they would need. Their fees are payable by the seller and will normally be deducted from the proceeds of the sale by the transferring attorney on date of transfer. Clients (sellers) are often surprised to find out that they will have additional costs to cancel the bond even after they have fully paid their bond together with any penalty interest, if applicable. The reason for this is that cancelling a bond in the deeds office entails another unique transaction and has to be done before transfer to the new owner can take place.


In transactions where all three attorneys are involved, they will all need to either supply or receive certain information or documentation from one another. The transferring attorney would normally be the link between them all. This is all part of the transfer process and is often the reason why delays can take place.


Buyers and sellers alike can be happy to know that the professional fees asked by all three attorneys are prescribed by the Law Society of South Africa and works on a sliding scale depending on the purchase price or bond amount (applicable to the transferring and bond registration attorneys). The bond cancellation attorneys fee is a set fee for every bond to be cancelled.


For more information and/or for a free table of costs, feel free to contact Venter Goosen from Venter Goosen Attorneys on 082 325 6060 or via e-mail at or visit the Downloads section on