Investing in a freehold property in South Africa is a big step, and understanding the basics can make this process much more manageable. In simple terms, owning a freehold property means you have complete ownership rights over both the land and any structures on it. This type of ownership offers you more control compared to co-owned sectional title properties. Let’s explore some key considerations to help you make informed decisions when venturing into the world of property ownership.

Understanding Freehold Property Ownership

When you own a freehold property, also known as full title, you have complete control over the land and any structures on it. Unlike properties with sectional titles, you don’t need approval from a homeowners’ association for your decisions. This gives you more autonomy in managing and using your property.

Legal Requirements for Buying a Freehold Property in South Africa

Before diving into a purchase, it’s crucial to ensure that the seller is the legitimate owner of the property. To do this, carefully check the title deed and other legal documents. You can also seek help from legal professionals or property experts to make sure there are no hidden disputes or claims against the property. This step might seem like a formality, but it’s a crucial part of securing a smooth and secure property acquisition.

Voetstoots and Defects

When inspecting your potential property, be on the lookout for any defects or issues that might affect its value or habitability. These could range from structural problems to issues with electrical or plumbing systems. Also, be aware of the voetstoots clause, which means the property is sold “as is.” This clause implies that you accept any existing defects or issues present at the time of purchase. To be thorough, consider hiring a qualified inspector to help identify any problems you might overlook.

Title Conditions

Checking the title deed is crucial to ensure that there are no restrictions on the property’s use or sale. This document holds details about the property’s ownership and any associated conditions. Seeking guidance from legal professionals can help you understand these conditions better and avoid any surprises down the line.


Zoning considerations are essential to confirm that the property aligns with its intended use. This means checking if the property complies with local regulations. It’s a good idea to look into both the current zoning status and any potential changes that might affect your plans for the property. This proactive approach helps you navigate potential challenges related to the property’s designated use.

Check Building Plans Approved

Confirming that the building plans for your potential property are approved is a critical step. This ensures the property adheres to local building regulations and standards. Take a close look at existing structures to ensure they comply with the approved building plans and municipal regulations. This extra caution can save you from legal and financial issues in the future.

Rates Account Payments

Beyond the property’s structure, keeping an eye on its financial health is equally important. Make sure that rates and taxes account payments are up to date and free of any outstanding taxes or levies. This proactive approach not only prevents potential financial liabilities after purchase but also strengthens the property’s marketability and ease of transfer.


In conclusion, buying a freehold property in South Africa is a significant decision that comes with ownership advantages. To make this journey smoother, adhere to legal requirements, verify the seller’s legitimacy, and understand the implications of the voetstoots clause. Thoroughly inspect for defects, review title conditions, confirm approved building plans, and ensure timely payments of rates accounts. By considering these factors, you can confidently navigate the process and potentially secure a valuable investment in the realm of freehold property ownership in South Africa.

For any assistance, contact an attorney at SchoemanLaw.