The Process Explained
gallery/blue green line
What happens in the Deeds Office

The Conveyancer of the Transfer attorney firm will arrange upfront to meet the Conveyancer of the Bond attorney firm and the Conveyancer of the Cancellation attorney firm at the Deeds Office at the Lodgement counter.

gallery/lodgement counter

They link all their transactions to be handed in as one batch. This is also referred to by the conveyancing world as simuls as these transactions need to be registered simultaneously.

gallery/white lodgement cover
gallery/blue lodgement cover
gallery/yellow lodgement cover

The transfer document will be filed in a white lodgement cover.

The bond documents will be filed in a blue lodgement cover.

The cancellation documents will be filed in a yellow lodgement cover, (This may be different for the various Deeds Offices)

The conveyancers will have a lodgement cover (a file that can hold documents) on which they write all the transactions that are linked together. This cover has a unique bar code that conveyancers will use when they need information on these matters. On the inside of this cover will be all the documentation that the Deeds Offices will consider before registration can take place.


The Clerk at the Deeds Office will scan the bar code into a database called DOTS (Deeds Office Tracking System).


The status on the DOTS is set to Lodgement and can now be tracked by the different online systems that the attorneys use.

gallery/linked batches

The Clerk makes sure that all the various transactions listed on the front page is actually inside the file.

If all is in order, then the status on DOTS is changed to Link batches.

gallery/data preparation

The Clerk then does a Deeds Office search on the seller, the purchaser and the property.

The DOTS status is changed to Data Preparation.

The Clerk then includes these searches into the file so that it can be checked

gallery/level 1

Junior Level – Sorting of Deeds

gallery/examiner 1

The file is given to a junior examiner.

The bar code is scanned and the status on the DOTS is updated to Level 1

The examiner makes sure that the property on the searches and the property on the documents are the same.

gallery/examine documents

The examiner also makes sure that the seller is the actual owner of the property.

The examiner makes sure that all the documents as mentioned on the cover is in the file.

The junior examiner will check for spelling mistakes on names, id’s and property descriptions.

The Junior Examiner will make sure the Rates Clearance Certificate is still valid.

The Junior Examiner will also make sure that all relevant taxes to SARS were paid. For this purpose the Transfer Attorney will attach the Transfer Duty Receipt to his batch of documents.

The junior examiner will make notes on the documents if they find any mistakes or anything they don’t agree with.

gallery/level 2

Senior Level – Sorting of Deeds

The file is given to a senior examiner.

The bar code is scanned and the status on the DOTS is updated to Level 2.

The senior examiner confirms that all the documents are in the batch as per the junior examiner in level 1. The senior examiner also checks the data on the documents.

If the junior examiner raised a concern by way of a note on the cover page, the senior examiner will check to see if these notes are valid. The senior examiner will also add notes of his own if he finds any need to do so.

The senior examiner is able to also check whether the documents are legally correct.

gallery/check documents

The senior examiner then decides whether the pack of documents can proceed or must be rejected.

If a pack is rejected, it is sent back - the complete batch of document, to ensure that the conveyancers sort the notes on the documents out – regardless of who’s document has the issue on. Once the issue has been sorted, all the attorney firms need to re-lodge their documents and the process start all over again. Sometimes re-lodgement goes a bit quicker than a brand new set of documents.

Sometimes the senior examiner finds something on the documents that are very minor in his opinion and can be fixed. The pack is then not rejected, but given back to the conveyancer to fix. When they bring the document back, the process continue from where is stopped. There is no need then to go back to the start.

All notes are not necessarily errors from the Attorney’s side. Some notes come as a result of name changes by certain Government Bodies by political parties, new legislation that was passed and amendments are required to legal clauses on the documents.

gallery/level 3

Final Checking

The file is given to the Assistant Registrar. The bar code is scanned and the status on the DOTS is updated to Level 3.

gallery/assistant registrar

The Assistant Manager will go through the notes from Level 2 on the various Deeds and decide to either pass or reject the deeds.


The Assistant Registrar has the power to remove notes from the Senior Examiner if he doesn’t agree with the notes.

If the senior examiner missed something and the Assistant Registrar picks it up, then he can add a note to the cover and reject the batch of documents.


When all in order and no rejections are found on the document, then the Assistant Registrar will pass the Deeds and it will be given the thumbs up to proceed.

gallery/on prep


The batch of documents are sent to the preparation room.

The bar code is scanned and the status on the DOTS is updated to On Prep.

The deeds may still have notes, but they will be minor and doesn’t justify a rejection of the entire batch.

Deeds are on prep for 5 days to allow any minor notes to be dealt with. All the conveyancers can then get authorisation from the relevant banks to proceed to registration of the Deeds.

When all the different conveyancers are ready, the deeds are put forward for registration.


The deeds are received the day after they are handed in for registration. It never happens on the same day as when the documents were On Prep.

It may stay for 4 days in this phase. If not registered by the 4th day the deeds are automatically rejected and the status on DOTS is set back to Level 1.


The Registrar of Deeds will sign the Deeds and put his stamp on the Deeds.

The status on DOTS is updated to Registration.

This is when all the attorneys advise their clients and the bank that the property is now officially registered in the name of the new owner.

Only the DOTS system will at this point show that the transaction has been registered. The actual Deeds Office database takes a few weeks to show the new details.

gallery/data capture

From registration, it goes to a Data Capturer who will capture all the details manually onto the Deeds Office Database.

It is possible that errors may occur as the data is captured manually into the Deeds Office System.


After the transaction is captured on the Deeds Office Database, it gets captured on microfilm and the original Deeds are sent back to the Conveyancers.


If there is a bond over the property, the original Deeds go back to the bank. If it was a cash sale, the Conveyancer will send it to the new owner of the property.


Below is an example of a DOTS search done by the conveyancer’s office.Enter your text here