Where it all began: A history lesson in property transfers

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The conveyancing process and estate agents - both concepts feel like they've been part of the property transaction process since before time - but they weren't. As difficult as it is to believe, there was a time when these two aspects of the real estate world did not exist.

From as early as the feudal era the ownership of a property has been transferred in an official manner. Up until the 14th Century, though, the transfer of property was done through a livery of seisin, a ceremony where the original owner handed over a piece of his land - it could be a twig, a leaf or even a handful of ground - to the new owner, symbolising the passing of ownership. In the mid-1500s, though, with King Henry VIII's reform of English law, written title deeds became the official manner of transferring property. The deeds may have changed from parchment to paper over the years, but it remains this system we still use today.

Estate agents, however, were only introduced later. Nearing the end of the 1890s, as the concept of economy and business took on a greater meaning in society, estate agents were tasked with the facilitation of property sales. As the profession took form, agents were later obliged to obtain licenses and become formal estate agents in order to legally practise as estate agents. Entering the world as the Great Depression loomed closer, estate agents' role soon became that of guide and supporter as well. They had to give potential buyers the assurance that their money would not be wasted in a time when money had become so scarce.

Over the years, estate agents have been fulfilling roughly the same role - guiding potential buyers and sellers through a property transaction and giving them assurance. This role is especially important in turmoiled times and in the face of political or economic changes. Estate agents know how to market the property at the right time, in the right way to help the buyer and seller reach the best possible outcome. This service, a valuable one as it is, may cost you quite a bit. Estate agents' commission rates are usually calculated at between 5% and 7% of the sale.

It is trite law that attorneys have been selling properties from times immemorial.

In 1976, the Estate Agency Affairs Act ("the Act") was the first attempt to regulate the real estate industry in South Africa. Attorneys selling property, are excluded from the Act, and Attorneys are regulated by the Legal Practice Council.

3%. Com Properties may just be the solution to your property sale. We have combined the two services that make a real estate transaction seamless, having our trained conveyancing attorneys implement their extensive knowledge of the real estate world as acting estate agents. Because of this, we are able to cap the commission for our comprehensive property sales and legal services at 3% (Plus VAT).

Contact us today for property service that is, historically speaking, the most efficient option for you. Visit

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

Author: 3%.Com Properties

Submitted 15 Nov 19 / Views 849