On the Rise: Women Property Owners in South Africa

It’s hard to believe it wasn’t too long ago that the idea of women having the right to own property or inherit land in South Africa was seen as absurd by the patriarchal society and oppressive Government. Not only is it now a very different story- thankfully-but women property owners in South Africa are on the rise, and single women are now the biggest group of property owners in the country. Forget the sexist “homemakers” label, women are quickly becoming homeowners!

 Yes, sisters are doing it for themselves! Women property owners in South Africa

According a report by research group Lightstone, 72 000 single women bought residential properties in 2018- more than single men and couple and married couples. And, as Gerhard Kotzé, Managing Director of the RealNet estate agency group, points out in a feature for IOL’s Personal Finance, “there is high and growing demand now and in the foreseeable future for rental properties, which makes this a good time for women to become property investors and start acquiring rental homes that will provide them with capital growth along with an independent income stream”.

This is so inspiring…what should I look out for if I want to buy my first property?

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Potential women property owners must acquaint themselves with the hidden costs of buying a house in South Africa.  “Unfortunately, most first-time buyers aren’t aware of the fact that the price listed on the actual property ad doesn’t reflect the full amount that needs to be paid in order to legal own the property,” mentions Adv. Jackie Nagtegaal, Managing Director at LAW FOR ALL.  Some administrative costs to be aware of include the deposit, transfer duty tax, transfer attorney costs, bond attorney costs and bond administration fees.

A deposit

This is an initial down payment for your home that you should save up. Deposits can influence whether or not a financial lending  institution will grant you a better payback rate on your bond. (Note- a deposit isn’t technically a “hidden cost”, but it is best to be aware of it.

Transfer tax duty

This is a Government-imposed tax to cover the transfer of the property from the seller to the new buyer.  This amount is calculated using a table created by The South African Revenue Services. There is no transfer duty on properties under R900 000.

Transfer attorney costs

These fees pay the conveyancers who legally transfer ownership of the new property to you.  Additional costs also include fees for the Deeds Office registration, postage and disbursements charged by the conveyancers.

Bond attorney costs

This fee is paid to the attorneys who register your bond.

Bond initiation and administration fees

The institution or bank will charge certain amounts for the initiation and future administration of the bond.

All together these fees (excluding the deposit) can add an additional 10% to the amount on the property ad.

Ok, I’ve made some notes. What else should I add to my checklist?

In addition to the admin side of things, you should look into any physical structural issues the property might have. Sellers are definitely legally obligated to submit a thorough report on any leak, mould, moisture damage, cracks etc, but it’s best to conduct your own inspection with the help of a professional. It’s also best to get an attorney involved to oversee and sign off on you and the seller agreeing on the structural issues on paper.

Side note: if you are not quite ready to buy a home just yet, here’s a basic guide to renting property in South Africa.

How #LAWFORALL can help!

Smiling law student

As a LAW FOR ALL policyholder, you will receive a significant discount on the transfer fees mentioned above! The amount you will save depends on the policy you take out with us, but it ranges from 35% to 60% off the transfer fee. As always, we are your caring legal friends in the law! This will certainly help future women property owners in South Africa.

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LAW FOR ALL policies are pocket-friendly and provide comprehensive cover for whatever legal challenge life throws your way. For more information on how LAW FOR ALL can become your friend in times of need and help you navigate life have a look at our policies here.

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