Frequently Asked Questions

What is Conveyancing?

In simple terms, conveyancing is the process of transferring the title of a property from one person or entity to another. 

Why should I use a Conveyancer?

Due to the financial and legal aspects of transferring property, the consequences of making a mistake can be costly. By having a licensed conveyancer take care of your property transfer, their qualifications and experience can help protect your assets. Conveyancers focus entirely on property transfers, and are required by law to carry professional indemnity insurance.

What is the cooling off period?

A cooling off period is a purchaser's right to terminate the agreement within a certain “cooling off” timeframe, and notice must be served in writing to the vendor or the vendor's representative. Terminating a contract to buy a property within the 3 business day cooling off period will incur a penalty; being $100 or 0.2% of the sale price (whichever is greater). 

Why do I need a building inspection?

A building inspection is recommended to rule out any deficiencies the property might have that could change your mind about purchasing the property. These might include termites, water damage, or structural issues. You will buy the property ‘as is’ on the day of sale. That means that if the air conditioning doesn’t work, the plumbing has problems, or it is infested with termites, the vendor won’t fix those issues before settlement. Having a fresh pair of eyes who knows exactly what to look for is a valuable asset that can save you a lot of stress further down the line.

For new buildings, even if your property has a current builder’s warranty insurance policy, you should be aware that non- structural defects (which comprise more than 90% of the issues that we see) are only typically covered for the first 2 years. Trying to get a builder to rectify works once a development is finished is not always easy, so obtaining a building inspection for new properties is just as important as older properties.

Why and when should I do a final inspection?

You should contact the selling agent to arrange a time to conduct your final inspection. This usually occurs in the week before settlement (ideally two days before settlement in case the vendor is occupying the property). This is your opportunity to make sure that the property is in the same condition as the day that you signed the contract (excluding fair wear and tear). If you feel the property is not in the same condition, you should immediately contact your conveyancer to discuss your options. It’s a good idea to take photos of the property when you first inspect it, so you have concrete proof of any major differences found in the final inspection.

What is Stamp Duty and how much do I have to pay?

The greatest additional expense of purchasing a property is the payment of stamp duty. Stamp duty is a government charge, and it is calculated on a scale determined by the State Government. The stamp duty payable depends on the purchase price of the property. Rates of stamp duty that will be applicable to your purchase can be found on the State Revenue Office website at and clicking on the stamp duty calculator. Please feel free to contact our office if you are unsure of the amount and we would be happy to assist you. 

When do I pay the Stamp Duty and Registration fees?

If you are purchasing a property and are borrowing funds from a lending institution, normally the lender will usually take out the Stamp Duty and Registration Fees, together with any application fee from the loan, before settlement. If you are using your own money and no lender is involved to buy the property, then we will attend to the Stamping and Registration of your title after settlement.  

How do I obtain a stamp duty concession or exemption if I am a first home buyer?

From 1 July 2017 first home buyers can obtain a full exemption of stamp duty if the purchase price is up to $600,000, and a reduced rate on a sliding scale for properties between $600,000- $750,000. We prepare all necessary documents to be submitted to your lender (or directly with the State Revenue Office) as required.

Buying subject to finance: Can the Vendor withdraw from the Contract?

You must insure that your finance is approved formally as opposed to a 'Pre-Approval'. If you need more time we will be able to arrange this for you. Often the owner will be just as keen to continue with the sale, as you are to purchase. If you comply with the conditions of the Contract, an extension can be requested. If the Vendor will not grant this extension, it is the Purchaser who has the option to withdraw from the Contract and get your deposit back. If the Purchaser does not wish to withdraw, then the Contract of Sale will become unconditional and the purchase will proceed to settlement. 

What about the deposit?

You must always pay the deposit by or on the day it is due. Be guided by the contract. When does it say you must pay it by? Even if you're still waiting for your finance to be approved, you must still pay the deposit. Contact us if you are unsure about deposit payments.

What are Disbursements?

Disbursements are expenses incurred when obtaining a certificate  for required searches about a property  (e.g. title searches, council rates fees, water fees, land tax). 

What are adjustments?

Adjustments are prepared by the purchaser’s representative to calculate the monies that are owed on the property. Adjustable items include council rates, water rates, land tax, body corporate fees (if applicable) and rent (if applicable). Adjustments are apportioned so that the vendor pays for everything due on the property up to the date of settlement and the purchaser pays for everything due from the settlement date until the end of the rating period. We manage the calculation of all adjustments, and all other fees, as part of our Conveyancing service.

What happens at settlement?

Settlement is the final step of the sale/purchase process. Most of the time, there are four parties involved - the buyer and sellers' respective conveyancers, and the banks for the vendor and purchaser. At settlement, the purchaser's bank will provide cheques as per the instructions of the Purchasers conveyancer and in return, receive the Certificate of Title and the 'discharge of mortgage' (if applicable) from the Vendors bank. Once settlement has occurred, the keys are handed over to the purchaser and the deposit is released (from trust) to the Vendor. The buyer's bank registers the change of title and mortgage, and arranges for payment of stamp duty and other government fees. 

What are the documents you have sent me?

Every client will have different needs, but in a general sense you can expect the following:

  • Appointment authority- this is the official document you sign to appoint us to be your conveyancer. This will be sent to you after we have opened your matter based on your initial instructions and includes the cost disclosure of our fees which will become due at settlement.
  • Verification of Identity (VOI)- this is a government mandated identity check for all property transactions in Victoria. The purpose of this check is to prevent fraud. A VOI is valid for two years, so if you buy or sell property with us again you will not need to do another one.
  • Client Authorisation Form- by signing this form you allow your conveyancer to complete your settlement electronically (electronic settlements have been compulsory in Victoria since 2018).
  • Duties Online Form- this form contains all the information that is required by the State Revenue Office, to determine how much stamp duty will need to be paid. Your conveyancer will fill out the information for you; you will only be required to check this information and sign off that it is correct.

This is a brief rundown of some of the documents involved in a property transaction. You can always contact your conveyancer for more information, or to discuss the documents required for your settlement in more detail.



What fees are payable at settlement?

In general, for a standard settlement, the following will be payable:

  • Stamp duty - paid to the State Revenue Office
  • State Revenue Office stamp duty certification
  • Land Titles Office lodgement fees
  • Electronic settlement fees- paid to the settlement platform provider e.g. PEXA (now compulsory in Victoria)
  • Title Insurance Fees -this is an optional insurance policy with a one off-payment that is due at settlement, paid to the insurance provider
  • Fees charged by your lender to complete the settlement
  • Council and water rates (plus land tax and owner’s corporation fees if applicable)
  • Conveyancing fees are paid at settlement.

You will be sent a breakdown of what fees are owing closer to your settlement date, at which point these can be discussed in more detail with your conveyancer.