Conveyancing 2011 Results

17 November 2011

A successful survey in which over 280 responses were received. Thank you all of you who participated, we hope very much that you will find the results as interesting and illuminating as we have. Before we turn to the analysis of the results, a quick note on the methodology we used to filter down the results, and the graphs we chose to present the most accurate picture possible.

  1. Responses were collected and divided into their relevant regions.
  2. Then sorted according to their IP Addresses (Survey Monkey, the software which we used to conduct the survey collects the IP Addresses of respondents, we can't know however who you are though) - those that were the same were highly likely to have come from the same firms, and in fact the high correlation between answers confirmed this fact. As an interesting aside quite a few of the more suspicious respondents read through the survey and did not answer anything, then re did it, this time answering the questions.
  3. A number of respondents did not respond at all apart from answering the first question, other responses were non-sensical, these too were excluded.
  4. The remaining data generated the graphs below.  However because of the insufficient responses from a number of the regions, we have decided to publish only the countrywide and not the regional results.
  5. Not every question in the survey has been used verbatim.


1. In which area do you practice?

The extremely good response from Cape Town will naturally skew the results nationally. 


2. How many partners does your firm have?


3. Do you advance commission to estate agents?


4. If "Yes", at what stage generally do you pay?



5. How do you fund the advance?


6. What percentage of the commision do you advance?


7. Generally how efficient are estate agents you deal with?


8. How does your firm manage and retain exisiting conveyancing clients? You may select more than one option below.

9. Does your firm have a website?
10. Are you on any financial institution panels for attorneys?
11. If "Yes" of how many institutions?
12. What percentage of your firm's revenue is generated by bank instructions?
13. Before the downturn of 2008 what percentage of your firm's turnover was made up of Conveyancing, MVAs, Litigation, Collections, Corporate and Other ... and currently?
What is apparent here is the drop in the percentage of attorney firms turnover on the conveyancing leg and a slight rise on other fronts.  The question is, have attorney firms actually diversified or have their other activities just stayed the same and grown proportionately bigger?
14. What amount does your firm recover from clients for Postages and Petties for ... Transfers, Bonds and Cancellations.
The following points apply here and to other graphs in this format. I divided the responses into the Lower ¼ (the amount below which a quarter of respondents fall); a Median point (half fall beneath this value and half above); ¾ (3/4 fall below this point) and High (the most any firm claims/charges etc).
15. What amount does your firm recover from clients for Deeds Office searches?
16. Have you increased the last published conveyancing tariff to keep pace with inflation?
17. Do you charge a minimum fee for the following?
18. If you discount fees, by what percentage do you normally discount them (If you never discount, please enter a 0), and what percentage mark-up do you add to the transactional billing charge?
19. What do you on average spend on getting a rates clearance certificate?
Here there was a very big variation, we can only assume that the amounts charged were dependent on the nature of the developments, kind of property transfers and what is necessary to get rates clearance certificates from the various municipalities.
20. What is the average time it takes to obtain a rates clearance certificate?
21. What is the average time it takes to obtain a transfer duty receipt?
22. Conveyancer/Secretary ratio
23. Have you started recruiting secretaries?
24. Average salaries of secretaries


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