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Just a few basic tips to keep in mind when you want to acquire a property at a Sheriff's Sale in Execution. Remember, a Sheriff is not an auctioneer nor an estate agent. A Sheriff can only sell a property if he is in possession of a Court Order. A Sheriff is the only person who can execute a Court Order and this is what he does. A Sheriff's primary function is to collect the outstanding debt in terms of a Court Order. Should he be successful in collecting the debt he will not bring a property to a Sale.


So what has that got to do with me?

Just a short explanation why properties are canceled prior to the Sheriff's Sale.

Ok, so the property is not cancelled...

Try to view the property at least 14 days prior to the Sale to familiarize yourself with the state of the property. Try to do your own valuation of the property or at least try to determine what the property is worth to you. The Sheriff will also publish the Judgement debt (amount on the Court Order) on his web site. This is not a true reflection of the value of the property, but at least it gives you an indication or some direction as to the value.

Right, I have an indication of value, what next?

The next step is very important !

Determine from the Sheriff what the following outstanding amounts are on the property. If the Sheriff is unable to assist you with these outstanding amounts you have to do your own inquiries at the entities involved. Unfortunately the Sheriff will never be able to guarantee these outstanding amounts, if he can supply same, nor is there an obligation on the Sheriff to even supply these amounts.

1. Outstanding Rates And Taxes (Municipal charges)
2. Outstanding Body Corporate fees on sectional title schemes.
3.Outstanding Home owners association fees ( Usually in security villages)
4. Interest payable on purchase price from date of sale to date of registration.
5. Transfer fees
6. Transfer duties
7. Legal fees (Transfer fees).

Sorted, what now?


Let's do the calculation !


Your valuation                  

Less Out Standing Rates And Taxes

Less Outstanding Body Corporate Fees

Less Outstanding Home-owners        

Less Interested payable (+- 3 months) 

Less Transfer duties                       

Less Attorney fees                       


Your Bidding Figure

R 800,000.00

R 40,000.00

R 0.00

R 15,000.00

R 28,000.00

R 20,000.00

R 23,000.00

R 674,000.00

Yeah right !

Yes, you are right ! But lets look at a few more things to consider namely;

1. The amounts are not always available from the sheriff. You will have to do your own research as well through the local authority, bond holders, body corporates and home owner associations. Their details are usually available at the premises for example through gate security, occupier etc.

2. Make your own valuation using all information available. Try to determine what a similar property would cost to build (sq/m rate). What was the amount of the bond and when was the bond registered, and lastly and most important, YOUR GUT FEEL. Remember, this property will be yours should you be the successful buyer and you have to be happy with your purchase.


Buyer's remorse is not an option!


3. Once you bought the property, keep in touch with the transferring attorney and comply as quickly as possible with their requirements to ensure a speedy transfer.

This all sounds very complicated

It's not really, you will find your own way around all these problems once you start to get involved.Most important is to get your finances in place. Remember, the Sheriff does not have any discretion but to comply with the Rules of Court and of course, the conditions of sale, which lie for inspection at the Sheriff's office 20 days prior to the sale. You are welcome to inspect these conditions of sale at the Sheriff's office during this time. You are also welcome to discuss any problems that you encounter with the staff at the Sheriff's office as well.


What if ??

1. I am unable to pay the 10% deposit and Sheriff's commission ?

The Sheriff will there and then re-sell the property and you might be held liable for damages. Check out condition no. 4 under Conditions of Sale. You will notice that your bid is only accepted provisionally until you can satisfy the Sheriff that you are able to pay the deposit, Sheriff's commission and balance purchase price.

2. I am unable to get a bond ?

This is more difficult. The Sheriff will write a report to the Court and explain the circumstances. The Court may then declare the sale canceled and the Court will have to decide what to do with your monies already paid. The Sheriff will abide by the decision of the Court.

3. There is a tenant/occupier in the property ?

3.1 This is very important. If there is a tenant in the property, you will have to honour their lease agreement, but the tenant will have to pay the rent over to you in future.

3.2 If the occupier is the defendant, best is to try and negotiate a lease agreement with the occupier until such time as the property is registered in your name. At least this affords you some income during the transfer process.

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