Fees when buying a house

Although it is now generally known that transfer tax is not payable on properties priced below R600 000, many of those buying homes in the affordable market do not realise that they still have to pay the Deeds Office a processing fee.

This fee, says Lanice Steward of Anne Porter Knight Frank is even charged on homes priced below R150 000.

At this ultra low price level, says Steward, the Deeds Office charge is R70. It then escalates steadily to R950 for a home priced from R2 million to R4 million to a maximum of R3 000 for a home sold at R20 million or more.

Buyers, says Steward, are also often not aware that fees have to be paid to register a bond. Here, she says, charges have just been raised, making properties under R150 000 liable for a R310 charge.

"These charges appear to be cases where the levelling principle, which results in high level buyers paying significantly more tax than small buyers, is not applied," says Steward. "R70 could pose a real problem for a low cost buyer whilst R3 000 will almost certainly be no difficulty for a R20 million plus buyer.

"Similarly, an affluent buyer would probably have little problem with the current bond costs (e.g. R4 000 for a R30 million home), but R310 would be quite a burden to a buyer purchasing at R150 000 or less.'

If not trained in this matter, estate agents, says Steward, are sometimes remiss in not informing their clients of these extra charges.

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