The Common Delays in Property Transactions

Admin May 06, 2022

Many buyers and sellers may be ignorant of the various steps that are involved in a property transaction and they are usually eager to conclude their property transaction as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, delays are extremely common during the transfer process and are often out of buyers’, sellers’, agents’ and or lawyers’ control. 

The most common delays that happen during property transfers are out of challenges faced on buyer financing, conveyancing, getting the required clearances and administration bottlenecks at various offices involved in the process. Below are some of the most common delays explained in detail and how to deal with them.


Purchase Price Payment Delays

It’s common with buyers in Zimbabwe to promise to pay within a few days of signing of agreement of sale or acceptance of their offers as they try and sweeten their offers to get sellers to accept. However, when it comes to the actual payment buyers usually face challenges which then delays the whole transaction process. 

Most purchases are financed by proceeds from sale of other properties and delays on the other transaction may affect progress on the next dependent transaction. Getting the proof of funds before committing to a transaction helps sellers to manage such delays.


Transfer Documents

Conveyancers typically begin preparing the transfer papers as soon as they are appointed after the agreements have been signed and purchase price has been paid. As part of this process, both the buyer and the seller are supposed to sign in person or through their representatives legally empowered to do so.

Being unavailable for signing or delays in procedures of appointing a legally empowered representative (through the Special Power of Attorney), usually creates delays in the transfer process as well. Planning well in advance on the process on how signing should be handled helps in managing the expected delays.


Clearance Certificates

Some conveyancing delays are out of the control of buyers and sellers, for example obtaining the Rates & Capital Gains Tax Clearance Certificates. Getting rates clearance certificates has become a major issue for conveyancers in the COVID-19 era.

ZIMRA is responsible for issuing the capital gains clearance certificate which has to be lodged with the Deeds Office (together with the rates clearance certificate and other transfer documentation) in order to conclude the sale. 

ZIMRA carries out interviews with both buyer and seller for the property, any errors or issues in the tax information submitted may cause delays. 

Registration of the property can only take place once the seller has paid all the taxes, arrear rates and the advance payments have been made for rates and services, a delay in payment could result in the process being delayed. 


Deeds office

Once your conveyancer has navigated the challenges of getting rates clearance and capital gains clearance, they can lodge the transfer at the Deeds Office for registration. Administrative delays at the Deeds Office may potentially cause significant delays on the transfer as well.


Transfer costs

Buyers at times may not be aware of all the costs involved in the transfer process, for example, they may not be aware that they have to pay transfer costs when requested to do so by the conveyancer. If the payment is delayed then serious delays and problems could result affecting the process. 

There are many other complications that could come about during the process because there are so many different parties that are involved. Also, the issues that could arise can create further delays.

It is therefore encouraged for buyers and sellers to enter into such transactions with professional advice to avoid running into serious difficulties and problems in the transfer process.

Share this article

More Articles