Costs of buying a property in South Africa

House buying costs in South Africa
House buying costs in South Africa

For many of you out there interested in buying a property it can come as quite a shock when you discover just how much all the associated fees can cost you in addition to any deposits and costs you incur with renovations and furnishing your new home.

These costs can have a big impact for first buyers and for our many foreign readers may come as a nasty surprise compared to what they are used to in their home countries.

So below we give you the breakdown and pass our thanks on to http://www.sahomebuyers.co.za/ and Intergate Immigration for their help in putting this article together.

There are 2 main costs associated with buying a property in South Africa

  1. The costs associated with the actual property purchase
  2. The costs associated with any bond (home loan) that you may take out to fund your purchase.

Lets first examine the property purchase costs.

Conveyancers fees

The first cost item we will consider is the conveyancing (attorney) fees. Digressing slightly you should take note that although you, the purchaser, pay the Conveyancer’s fee, it is usually the seller who appoints the attorney. This ensures that the conveyancer acts in the Seller’s interest and prevents unnecessary delays in the transfer process.

Yes that’s right you the buyer pay but the attorney does not represent you – consider using a buyers consultant and make sure
you get legal protection (www.sahomebuyers.co.za)

Cost are based on a sliding scale and there is a recommended amount that conveyancers should charge:

Value of property Recommended Guideline of Fees for
Conveyance
of Immovable Property
R80 000 or less R3 200,00
Over R80 000 up to and including R90 000 R3 400,00
Over R90 000 up to and including R100 000 R3 650,00
Over R100 000 up to and including R125 000 R3 750,00
Over R125 000 up to and including R150 000 R3 900,00
Over R150 000 up to and including R175 000 R4 200,00
Over R175 000 up to and including R200 000 R4 400,00
Over R200 000 up to and including R250 000 R4 800,00
Over R250 000 up to and including R300 000 R5 500,00
Over R300 000 up to and including R350 000 R5 900,00
Over R350 000 up to and including R400 000 R6 400,00
Over R400 000 up to and including R450 000 R6 900,00
Over R450 000 up to and including R500 000 R7 500,00
Over R500 000 R7 500,00 for the first R500 000 plus R1000,00

per R100 000 or part thereof above that, thereafter,
up to
and including R1 000 000where after the
recommended fee be R500
per R100 000 or part
thereof up to and including R5 000 000
where after
the recommended fee be R250,00 per R100 000

 

Property Search Fee

Part of the conveyancers role is to carry out a Deed Search. This ensures there are no conditions in the title deed that
could prevent the transaction proceeding. The typical cost to do a Property Search ranges from R75 to R200 plus VAT.

Postages and Petties

The appointed attorney can recover any direct costs associated with the transfer of a property. This is generally covered by a quotation item labelled postage and petties. A vague term that does indeed include Postages and Petties but is in no way limited to just these. Expect to be billed for telephone costs, courier fees, administration fees and bank charges. Expect to pay somewhere in the range of R250-00 to R700-00 plus VAT for Postages and Petties.

Financial Intelligence Centre Act

Under this act it was made compulsory for conveyancers (as Accountable Institutions) to establish and verify the identity of a client prior to establishing a business relationship with them. In order to do so the conveyancer must be given proof of who you are and where you live, for example – proof of residential address and verification of Identity Documents and a face to face identification. The documents relating to this must be stored by the conveyancer for a period of at least five years. Typically you can expect to pay between R200-00 and R550-00 plus VAT.

Electronic generation fees

Not all conveyancers charge this but a good percentage do. In using a certain type of software conveyancers incur a fixed fee per set of documents they generated in using it, and this is passed on to the purchaser. The cost of Electronic Generation Fees for Transfers is usually around R150-00 per instruction plus VAT.

Rates Clearance

The conveyancer must obtain a Rates Clearance Certificate from the Local Authority to verify that there are no outstanding Rates and Taxes payable by the Seller. The municipality will not issue the Rates Clearance Certificate until outstanding rates are paid. The cost of a Rates Clearance Certificate is currently R165-00, depending on the Local Authority. And yes the purchase does pay for this even though it is the sellers clearance.

Provisional Rates and Taxes

The purchaser will have to pay all rates and taxes 4 months in advance before the registration of the property can take place. Check what the rates are with the current owner.

Home Owners Association Consent and Admin Fee

If you are buying a property that is in a Home Owners Association (HOA), such as an apartment or on a security estate, it cannot be transferred without the consent of the Home Owners Association. The cost differs from one HOA to the next, but typically is around R1000-00 plus VAT.

Deeds Office Fee

The Deeds Office’s Fee for transferring a property is charged on a sliding scale according to the purchase price of the
property. It is currently as follows:

Value of property Deeds Office Fee
R150 000 or less R70,00
Over R150 000 up to and including R300 000 R350,00
Over R300 000 up to and including R500 000 R550,00
Over R500 000 up to and including R1 000 000 R650,00
Over R1 000 000 up to and including R2 000 000 R850,00
Over R3 000 000 up to and including R5 000 000 R1 050,00
Over R5 000 000 R1 250,00

Transfer Duties

This is a big one. Transfer Duty is a Tax that is charged by the Government on property transactions. It again works on a sliding scale but also depends on the entity that is buying the property. For the purpose of this exercise we have assumed it is a natural person (not a company or trust).

Value of property Transfer Duty
From R0 up to and including R500 000 R0,00
Over R500 000 up to and including R1 000 000 5% of the amount above R500 000,00
Over R1 000 000 R25 000,00 + 8% of the amount above
R1 000
000,00

As an an example if you ate purchasing a ZAR 2.5 million rand property expect to play in the region of ZAR 136,000 in property purchase fees.
Okay now on to the bond (home loan)

Unless you are fortunate enough to be able to pay cash for your property purchase you will incur some bond costs.

Unfortunately there are four parties (the bank, SARS, the conveyancer and the Deeds Office) to whom five different bond related disbursements have to be made: conveyancer fees, Deeds Office registration fees, post and petty charges, VAT and an initiation fee.

All these costs, bar the initiation fee, which you will pay directly to the bank, you pay to your conveyancer who will, in turn, disburse the appropriate amounts to SARS, the Deeds Office and themselves.

  1. Conveyancer fees: Charged according to the size
    of you bond and are generally between 0.7% and 1.2% of the size of
    your bond.
  2. Deeds Office registration fees: Again depends on
    the size of your bond and starts at around ZAR 200.00 per
    registration.
  3. Post and Petty charges (again): These
    ‘incidental expenses’ should be between R 250.00 and R 500.00
  4. More tax in the form of VAT – charged at 14%
    of the total conveyancer fees and the post and petty charges.
  5. Be sure to argue this – it is a once off fee
    the bank charge for setting up your home loan. Not content with all
    the interest you will pay this fee covers once-off administrative
    expenses. It does differ and can be as much as ZAR 5,700.

Example

On a ZAR 1,500,000 home loan, the bond costs will be
as follows:

Conveyance fees – R 7,000.00
Deeds Office fees – R 400.00
Post and petty charges – R 250.00
VAT – R 1,015.00
Initiation fee – R 4,250.00

Total Bond Costs – R 12,915.00

Summary

If you are buying a property for ZAR 2,500,000 and taking out a home loan for ZAR 1, 000, 000 budget around ZAR 140,000 extra in fees on top of the purchase price.

* Please note charges do vary from time to time and some charges are at the discretion of the conveyancer so always check with your property buyers consultant oattorney and use the above information as a guideline.

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