Peter Ndhlovu -Zimbabwe's most skillful footballer.

When people move from one trade to another they are wasting valuable productive time. But if one sticks  to one field during his entire career he or she  develops experience and skill as he solve the problems being faced in that area. All successful people know that problems are equal to opportunities so if you are always running away from problems you are in effect running away from opportunity. The short periods of time you take in a particular field will not give you enough time to develop skill that is competitive. Hence, they have said you become a jack of all trades but a master of none. Am no master of career guidance myself however, but my recent experience in an area I have mastered reaffirmed the immortality  of the aforementioned fundamentals. I therefore, do not intend to lecture on career guidance but rather to share my real estate experience as reminding evidence that the old principles still live.

This week I was impressed by how a skillful conveyancing officer won business from me despite bare knuckled competition in the legal fraternity. A conveyancing officer is a person in a legal firm responsible for the creation of title deeds when immovable property is sold and he or she gets most of this business from us- estate agents. But competition is so great in this lucrative niche that some firms offer agents up to half of their transfer fees in order to get business. I wasn’t however, offered this money in order to give business but value for money!

My need was that I was looking for what is known as simultaneous name transfer in order to save time. Saving time was of essence to me because the purchaser was to fly to UK by 1700hrs that day and my seller was to go back to South Africa in two days. If these people where delayed then my commission payment would also be delayed. But this conveyancer told me he could do simultaneous transfer and he emphasized that I also would get my commission the following day instead of weeks. This instantly allured my heart! Simultaneous transfer is needed when a property going through a change of ownership into the name of a buyer is however sold by this buyer to another person before new title deeds come out. So this means ownership will go first from the seller to the buyer and then from this buyer into the name of the new buyer. But when signatories do not have much time this process is too long and then this is when simultaneous transfer will come in because it will facilitate ownership transfer from the seller straight into the name of the new buyer.

 Nevertheless, when the first sale’s ownership transfer is at an advanced stage which is when capital gains tax CGT is already paid its however, difficult to have this simultaneous transfer. To get a tax  clearance certificate you need proof of ownership and it seems at ZIMRA  the only proof of ownership the revenue authority recognized  was a full title deed. So before the payment of CGT simultaneous transfer could use the first seller’s title deed but when its paid ZIMRA would insist that the new buyer must wait for the old buyer’s title deed to come out first in order to have a proof of ownership that would be used as basis for new ownership transfer.

So faced with this dilemma the conveyancing officer came with an ingenuous proposal. Noting that the revenue authority was in need of cash he suggested  that  ZIMRA use  a tax clearance certificate as proof of ownership for the first buyer without title deeds simply because the issuance of a tax clearance is recognition  by the tax  authority that the first buyer is inevitably the new  property owner. This would benefit ZIMRA because it would immediately get  revenue from the new buyer’s capital gains tax payments instead of having to wait for weeks.  With this irresistible  carrot dangling in its eyes the authority accepted it. And as they say the rest is history. Indeed, everyone went home happy and I of course got my commission the following day.
This conveyancing officer has twenty years experience and his ingenuous solution was obviously a result of this because his moves flew in the face of conveyancing tradition but clearly were distilled from twenty years of watching how the system works.


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