Conveyancing Survey 2010 Results

A hugely successful survey in which over 980 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. This left us with lots to work with as the following table and the graphs below show.

Region Responses Conveyancers Secretaries
Bloemfontein/Kimberley 20 22 39
Cape Town 169 218 396
Durban 62 74 122
Jhb - East 29 31 91
Jhb - Sandton 77 171 234
Jhb - South 23 26 86
Jhb - West 44 55 125
Nelspruit 17 23 54
PE/East London 46 67 146
Pietermaritzburg 29 39 100
Polokwane 8 6 12
Pottchefstroom 15 14 25
Pretoria 118 172 284
Total 657 799 1498

To start here are a few notes regarding the interpretation.

We have not reproduced all the answers as some of the questions were not clear enough while others such as the one about Internet Connectivity are pointless (only 19 firms still use a dial up connection). Unfortunately the question about the Internet Service Providers excluded a few ISPs from the list so it is skewd in favour of Telkom and Other. Turning to the graphs we see:

Size of firms

Postage and Petties recovery
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). In almost all such graphs what is apparent is how closely grouped the bottom ¼ and top ¾ of responses are. The heads are very long, yet amounts of R1000.00 for Postage and Petties recovery have been correlated, despite the disbelief it might give rise to.

Deeds Office Search recovery
Same point as above -

Rates Clearance Certificate costs
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.

Recovery of Electronic Bond instruction costs
Almost 50% of firms recover nothing, yet some see fit to recover R550 per transaction!

Fica Cost Recovery
A point to note is that averages are averages of those who do recover and do not include zero amounts. This is the method adopted throughout the survey.

Have you increased the conveyancing tariff?
Only 20 percent of respondents replied that they had increased the recommended conveyancing tariff, and then by only 10%.

Do you charge a minimum fee for ...?
Over 50% of firms do.

Fee discounting and transactional billing mark-ups
This is an interesting graph showing that almost 80% of firms discount fees at an average rate of 20% with the highest discount offered being 80%. 87% of firms do not mark-up the transactional billing cost and of the remaining 13% who do the mark-up is only 17%.

Average matters lodged per secretary
Here we have counted a transfer a bond and a cancellations as being one matter.

Conveyancer/Secretary ratio
This has changed from over 2 secretaries per conveyancer to the current ratio.

Interesting and worthy maybe of a survey by itself, on average secretaries in Sandton do well, yet the average matters lodged per month or which are active are in line with the national average.

Less than 20% of firms incentivise, so no graph is necessary.

Almost all firms have had a downturn.

Comprehensive summary

Links to regional results
Cape Town
Port Elizabeth/East London
Johannesburg East
Johannesburg Sandton
Johannesburg South
Johannesburg West

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