Offers to purchase are prepared by estate agents on standard agency forms. These comprehensively set out the terms and conditions under which the buyer is prepared to purchase the property. This offer has to be in writing and signed by the buyer before being conveyed to the seller.
Under South African law only contracts which are in writing and signed by both parties are legally valid and binding on both parties. Verbal agreements have no force or effect.
Both parties are bound to the contract and neither party may attempt to withdraw from it. Once all the suspensive conditions in the contract have been fulfilled, the contract is forwarded to the conveyancer (an attorney who has specialised in property law and obtained the necessary qualifications) to proceed with transfer of ownership to the purchaser.
This is a regulated process and involves careful checking of Deeds Office records, the cancellation of any bonds registered against the property by the seller, obtaining rates clearance certificates from the municipality, payment of transfer duty on behalf of the purchaser and ensuring that all the necessary funds are in place.
Once all the formalities are completed, the Deeds are lodged in the Deeds Office where they pass through several checking process prior to registration. On date of registration the Conveyancer is responsible for the payment of the proceeds of the sale to all the relevant parties concerned in the transaction.