Property Transfer Steps: Process Explained!

Navigating the intricate world of property ownership is a significant milestone in many individuals' lives, and Namibia offers a secure and well-regulated framework to ensure a smooth transition of property rights. The property transfer process in Namibia, overseen by specialised legal professionals known as conveyancers, is a carefully orchestrated dance between buyers, sellers, and a host of legal and administrative entities. In this article, we will delve into the key stages and vital aspects of the property transfer process in Namibia, shedding light on the roles of conveyancers and the robust legal framework that underpins property transactions in this nation.


Sale Agreement: The first step is for the seller and buyer to sign a Sale Agreement. This agreement should contain all the necessary details, such as the property's location, price, deposit, commission and conditions of sale.

Building Compliance Certificate: Securing a building compliance certificate is primarily the responsibility of the seller, with associated costs covered by them. This certificate serves as an official confirmation of the property's compliance with municipal building regulations. It is crucial for the seller to obtain this certificate promptly, ideally before listing the property for sale, especially if recent renovations or additions have taken place or if no prior certificate exists. Failing to secure this certificate can significantly disrupt the transfer process, causing delays ranging from 3 to 6 months or even up to a year or longer, as property transfers typically cannot proceed without it. This certificate not only provides peace of mind to the buyer but also plays a pivotal role in ensuring a smooth and timely transaction.

Deposit: Once the Sale Agreement is signed, the buyer is usually required to pay a deposit, usually 10% of the purchase price. This deposit is held by the conveyancer in their trust account until the transfer of ownership is completed.

Title Deed: The seller's conveyancer will obtain the title deed for the property. This document shows proof of ownership and confirms that the seller has the legal right to sell the property. This document also confirms that there are no outstanding debts or legal issues that could affect the sale.

Transfer Documents: The seller's conveyancer will prepare the necessary transfer documents, including the transfer agreement, power of attorney, and other supporting documents.

Bank Valuation: If the buyer is financing the purchase through a bank, the bank will usually require a valuation of the property to determine its market value and the loan amount that can be offered. The bank will send a valuator to assess the value of the property. This is to ensure that the property is worth the amount being borrowed and that the bank is not lending more than the property is worth.


Municipality Clearance Certificate: The seller's conveyancer will obtain a municipality clearance certificate for the property. This certificate confirms that the property has no outstanding rates, taxes, or other municipal charges owed. The municipality clearance certificate is important because it ensures that there are no outstanding debts that could affect the sale, and it gives the buyer peace of mind.

Bond Cancellation Figures: If the property is being sold with an existing bond, the seller's conveyancer will need to obtain bond cancellation figures from the bank.

Bond Approval: Once the bank has completed its valuation and other checks, it will issue a formal offer of a loan to the buyer, subject to certain conditions.

Property Insurance: It is recommended that the buyer takes out property insurance to protect the property from unforeseen events such as fire, theft, or natural disasters. This is required by the Bank when applying for a loan.

Transfer Fees: The buyer is usually responsible for paying the transfer fees, which are calculated based on the property's value. These fees are typically remitted to the conveyancer, who, in turn, disburses the duties to the Receiver of Revenue as Namibian Government tax.

Attorney Costs: The buyer is usually responsible for paying the attorney costs, which are calculated based on the property's value. These fees are paid to the conveyancer who is doing the transfer.

Bank Costs: The buyer is usually responsible for paying the bank costs, which are calculated based on the property's value. These fees are paid to the conveyancer who is doing the bond registration.

Securing Funds: The conveyancer must ensure that the full purchase price is secured before the registration of transfer takes place. The conveyancer will confirm that the funds have been secured, either by guarantee or cash, before transferring ownership to the buyer.


Transfer of Ownership: Once all the necessary documents have been signed and fees have been paid, the conveyancers will arrange for the transfer of ownership to be registered with the Deeds Office together with the registration and/or cancellation of any bonds on the property. This process can take several weeks to complete.

Bond Cancellation If the property is being sold with an existing bond, then the bank will cancel the bond on the property. This is done by the bank's appointed conveyancer and is usually paid for by the seller.

Bond Registration: If the buyer is financing the purchase through a bank and accepts the loan offer, then the bank will register a bond over the property. This is done by the bank's appointed conveyancer and is usually paid for by the buyer.


Commission Payment: Upon successful transfer of ownership, the seller is responsible for paying the commission to the real estate agent/s involved in the transaction. Typically, this commission is deducted from the proceeds received by the seller through the conveyancer, ensuring that the real estate agent/s receive their rightful payment.

Final Payment: Once the transfer has been registered, the conveyancer is required to pay the balance of the purchase price to the seller less any other expenses like the bond cancellation, commission, municipality clearance and any other costs that are payable by the seller.

Possession: The final step is for the buyer to take possession of the property. This usually involves the seller and/or real estate agent/s handing over the keys and any necessary documents, such as the alarm codes and remote controls.

Property Inspection: Before taking possession of the property, the buyer should conduct a thorough inspection to ensure that everything is in working order and that there are no defects or issues that were not disclosed during the sale.

Completion Certificate: If the property is a newly built property, the seller's conveyancer may need to obtain a completion certificate from the local authority to confirm that the property is safe for occupation.

What steps to take after transfer has taken place?

Rates and Taxes: The buyer is responsible for paying any outstanding rates and taxes on the property from the date of transfer onwards.

Notify Utilities: The buyer must notify the relevant utilities, such as electricity, water, telephone, internet and security providers, of the change in ownership so that they can update their records and billing information.

Homeowner's Association/Body Corporate: If the property is part of a homeowner's association and/or body corporate, the buyer is responsible for paying any outstanding levies and complying with the rules and regulations.

Insights from Philip Swanepoel Attorneys: Questions and Answers

1. How to Minimize Transfer Costs
To minimize transfer costs, consider dividing the Purchase Agreement into two separate contracts, each involving a distinct purchaser.

2. How to Accelerate the Transfer Process
For a faster transfer process, it's crucial to secure a building compliance certificate from the local municipality before finalizing the purchase agreement. After signing the agreement, promptly initiate the loan or bond application process while also securing your life insurance.

3. Are Transfer Costs Uniform?
Yes, transfer costs are generally consistent across conveyancers due to regulatory guidelines. However, slight variations may occur, often attributed to postages, miscellaneous expenses, and administrative fees.

4. What's the Duration for the Transfer and Registration Process?
On average, the transfer and registration process typically takes between two to three months.

5. Is a Building Compliance Certificate a Requirement for Property Transfer?
Yes, a building compliance certificate is a mandatory requirement for property transfer.

These insights from Philip Swanepoel Attorneys provide valuable information on minimising transfer costs, expediting the transfer process, the uniformity of transfer costs, the expected duration of the transfer and registration process, and the necessity of a building compliance certificate in property transfers.