Buying or selling a property and unsure what costs you will be responsible for?

The buyer will be liable for:

  1. The transfer attorney’s fees.
  2. The disbursements/ expenses relating to the transfer, which would include, but is not limited to, postages and petties, the Deeds Office registration fee, obtaining the levy and clearance certificates from various bodies such as the Body Corporate, Home Owners Association and the Municipality.
  3. Transfer duty that is payable to SARS is an amount that is calculated on a sliding scale and depends on the purchase price or market value of the property, whichever is the most. This can be accessed on the SARS website. Important: transfer duty is only payable should the seller not be registered for VAT.
  4. The bond registration costs. Often purchasers forget that there is a transferring attorney as well as a bond attorney and the purchaser will be liable for the bond attorney’s fees and their disbursements, as stated above.


The seller will be liable for the following costs:

  1. The estate agent’s commission, if applicable.
  2. The bond cancellation attorney’s fees and disbursements.
  3. Settling the current bond amount outstanding, in order to cancel the seller’s bond that is registered over the property, if applicable.
  4. Paying for clearance figures at the municipality at least 3 months in advance. The transferring attorneys apply to the municipality and obtain clearance figures that are issued for 3 months. This must be paid by the seller before a clearance certificate can be issued, which is necessary for lodgement at the Deeds Office. The seller will be reimbursed pro rata from date of registration for any amount paid in excess.
  5. Levy figures also issued in advance and similar to the above. However, this is payable to the Home Owners Association or Body Corporate, if applicable.
  6. VAT: if the seller is a registered VAT vendor, the seller will be liable to pay value added tax to SARS and no transfer duty will be payable by the Purchaser.


It is important to note that the costs mentioned above are merely a basic summary, and the actual fees and costs involved depend largely on the type of transaction that is being attended to. We suggest contacting all attorneys involved from the start of the process to obtain a quote for their services to be rendered. There are various types of transactions and if, for example, it is a deceased estate transfer, a donation, an asset for share transaction, subdivision or consolidation of property, the costs will vary.

 This article is intended for information purposes only and is a brief exposition of the abovementioned legal position. Mention is not necessarily made of all the finer nuances as set out in the abovementioned legislation. This article should under no circumstances be construed as formal legal advice. Contact VDT Attorneys for assistance in this regard.

April 1, 2021

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