PUBLISHED 19 FEB 2010
The primary duty of the conveyancer that
handles the transfer of a property is to protect the interests of the
seller, which is why it is usual for the seller to nominate the
conveyancer, even though it is the buyer who must pay the legal fees.
Occasionally, however, the buyer will argue that, as he is paying the
fees, he would like a friend, relation or colleague to handle the
transfer – and may even be able to show that this person will offer a
reduced fee. And if the seller has no reason to suspect the appointee,
he will quite likely accept this arrangement.
So far, so good – but what happens if the buyer then defaults on
payment or on some other aspect of the deal? And what can the seller do
if it appears that the conveyancing process is being deliberately
Anton du Plessis, CEO of Vineyard Estates in Cape Town, says that
before accepting an alternative nomination, sellers should ask
themselves whether a conveyancer that is close to the buyer either for
business or personal reasons will be diligent in protecting the
"And then if they do agree to the buyer’s nominee being appointed as
the conveyancer, they must be sure to insert a clause in the sale
agreement stipulating that they reserve the right to change conveyancer
at any stage of the deal, and that the buyer will be responsible for
any and all wasted costs."
It is further advisable, he says, to ensure include a provision that
the first conveyancer will without delay hand over to the new
conveyancer all documents relating to the sale, as well as all monies
and guarantees that are being held.
"The seller may also be at risk where guarantees are made out to pay a
specific law firm by a specific date. At the time of signing the sale
agreement, therefore, the seller should insert another clause saying
that any guarantees issued will be made payable either to the initially
nominated conveyancer or to another designated firm that the seller
stipulates at the time of signature."
Source: Property Trader