Avert Buying The ‘AIR'? Do I Need a Real Estate Attorney?

Admin June 24, 2022



Our reporter, Prosper (PRO) spoke to MR Godfrey Nyamukuwa (JJ) representing Juiah Julah LawChambers on the 3rd  of May 2022 in Harare* Here you go* Don't just enjoy the knowledge, but digest it well!


PRO: Is it important to have a lawyer when one thinks of buying a property? People are being sold air’ -non-existent residential stands, how does engaging a lawyer eradicate such incidents?

JJ: Thank you Prosper for the opportunity, Let me start by telling you one of the cases I had to deal with .There was this guy who was looking for a residential stand on social media. He found a certain guy who told him he was selling one place in Westgate and that he was in dire need of money to take care of his wife's hospital bills - this was something he just cooked up.

The buyer and that guy actually met and drove to the place, Sure, the place was there, it was nice as he had explained earlier on the phone, He even showed the buyer some papers. As they were viewing the place, the seller said,

“I wanted forty-five thousand This was tickling news to the ears of the buyer who later became my client, and abruptly, he got into his car. Grabbed a small bag and got into the seller's vehicle; counted four bricks of five thousand dollars each, and paid twenty thousand united states dollars on the spot. They agreed that they were to sign the agreements of sale when they finally meet for the balance and final payment which was now ten thousand dollars and the handover of title deeds would take place then. The purchaser drove home excited. But his ecstasy didn't last even for a night.

He realized he had just made a blunder I don’t know if someone had advised him, That is when he phoned me .We realized that the land he paid for was conned and the seller and his wife were currently undergoing divorce.

We battled in the courts and won ,but unfortunately my client never recovered the money. If he had sought legal representation before the transaction, it could have been a different result altogether!

PRO: So, how does one hire a

JJ: Approaching a lawyer is very easy. You just knock on their; door and ask what you need ad surely they know how to assist. Maybe most people's concern is about legal fees. But let me say this; The money you lose when things go wrong its unbelievable compared to the peanuts we can ask you to pay for consultations.

PRO: Can you give us figures sir?

JJ: Our fees structure is rot fixed, however there is a tariff guide by the taw society which stipulates consultation fees. Roughly its between fifty dollars up to a hundred united states dollars per hour.

The final bill depends on a number of factors Ike seniority of the attorneys one approach, how much time their matter requires, how much attention it demands, the complexity of the matter, the impotence of the matter to the client, how many offices they have to visit and how much paper work is involved-Maybe at the completion of the deal you might pay a total of five thousand dollars. But what is it compared to losing a whole hundred-and fifty thousand dollars in a shoddy deal?


PRO: What stages are the involved in the discharge of your duties?

JJ: The first thing your lawyer will help you with is doing the "Due diligence work” which involves verifying the title. When we say title it's a question of how the seller is proving ownership of that property? Immovable property's ownership is signified by its registration in the deeds office.

We have to verify who owns it? What is its history? Is it not an estate (nhaka) left by a deceased person? Is the property sellable or there are contentions around it?

Some properties are subject to pending court cases and people are still fighting about ownership. But one of them can go behind the court's back and dispose that property. Some have conditions that need to be met before they can be sold or bought? Some might have conditions of pushing construction developments to a certain stage before they can be sold. We do interviews with the responsible people like the city of Harare and scrutinize documents to sniff if there is no forgery et cetera. This is done until we establish the genuineness of that property. If there are impediments, we advise an the cure. The next stage is the "drafting of a contract of sale" which Involves compliance issues.

The contract also declares what rights each party is entitled to. Who Is supposed to pay what? If there is a breach, what are the rights of the parties and at what point are they enforceable? Are there conditions precedent before instituting any court processes? We interrogate all those issues.

The last stage is the "Transfer stage" and this is conveyancing work and the law society has percentages it stipulates to be paid in regards to that,

` who is licensed by the law after taking a course specializing in conveyancing work. So you con be a lawyer but not be a conveyancer. But most law firms have someone who is a conveyancer amongst their ranks,

PRO: Kindly explain this legal jargon about notarizing documents and so forth? Who is a notary public and what is to notarize a document?

JJ: A notary is one who attests, prepares and authenticate documents. It is a course that can be done as well and one has to be registered in terms of legal practitioners' act. They are authorized by state to certify documents, administer oaths and so on.

PRO: MR Godfrey, now the most Important question on my list is:

what is a title deed and what is a cession?

We hear some properties being labeled ‘with title deeds" while others, 'cession,' What's the difference?

JJ: A title deed is proof that a person is the registered owner of the immovable property and that one is registered in the deeds office. It is communication to the world because it is a public document which signifies ownership of a particular immovable property. But cession now-let's talk about transferring as I explain this one ,For example, when you are transferring a title deed, you are transferring your title to the next person but when you are transferring a cession you are not transferring your title, because you do not have title to that property but what you are transferring are your rights and liabilities to the property. Let's say when you have a property with the city of Harare, and it's a cession: you do not have title to it but what you have are rights and probably liabilities. When you still owe the city of Harare it means the buyer of the property under cession will have to continue paying the city of Harare since they have assumed your shoes.

So in simpler terms, to contextualize it, a cession is when you are ceding rights and liabilities.





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