Frequently Asked Questions

What is Conveyancing?

Conveyancing is the process undertaken when a registered owner of a property agrees to transfer their ownership rights to another party. This could be in the form of a contract of sale, devise under a will, spousal transfer or a family relationship breakdown as some examples.  

What is the difference between a Contract of Sale and a Section 32 Vendor Statement?

You will quite often hear a real estate agent or conveyancer refer to a section 32 or a vendor statement. This document is required to be provided to any prospective purchaser prior to signing a contract of sale, under the Sale of Land Act (1962) Vic, s32 – hence the name – section 32.

This document contains information which allows purchasers to undertake their due diligence and understand what they are buying. Such as title details, insurance, building or restriction information, the authorities relating to the property, planning information and financial details, such as rates and charges.

Whereas a contract of sale, includes the particulars of the sale agreement, such as purchase price, settlement date and any terms and conditions that the parties have agreed to.

Once the contract of sale is signed by both parties, it becomes a legally binding document.

When do I engage a conveyancer?

It is best to engage your conveyancer prior to making any offers for a property when you are purchasing. This will allow your conveyancer to review the sale documentation and they will be able to point out anything of interest or concern, such as any contractual conditions, planning controls, building restrictions and the like. This information will allow you to make an informed decision and lessen any surprises after settlement.

When you are selling, you will need to engage your conveyancer when you have made the decision to list your property for sale. They will then be able to prepare the sale documentation required in time, before you start having purchasers knocking down your door! The timeframe from instructions provided to our office to the contract of sale provided to the real estate agent, varies property to property however we pride ourselves on being able to provide such documents within 7 – 10 days (usually less but somethings are out of our control!)

When will my deposit be due?

Every contract is different, however many contracts state that a 10% deposit is to be paid within 14 days of all parties signing.

If you purchase at auction, it is expected that you will pay the deposit amount on this day.

Who is responsible for Insuring the property?

Whilst all vendors should maintain the property insurance, it is recommended all purchasers take out their own insurance as soon as you have an unconditional contract of sale. This covers you for any damage that may occur prior to settlement.

Do we need to attend in person or can you complete our transaction all online?

Our office utilises all of the technology available to us. This allows our office to operate fully remote and paperless. This means that we can serve clients from all over Victoria, without every meeting in person! We have the ability to undertake Zoom or Telephone conference calls, and complete majority of transactions online.

Of course we love our clients, so when we get to meet face to face it is a highlight also! So if you would prefer our conveyancer meet with you, all you need to do is book an appointment.

I’m getting a loan, can you speak with my lender?

Our conveyancers will liaise with your lender or broker closely to ensure that everything is completed on time and that the correct amount of funds are provided. If you have the opportunity to provide an authority to your lender for them to draw shortfall funds at settlement, this is a great way of ensuring that settlement is not held up in any way due to incorrect funds.

Can I have my deposit once the purchaser has paid it?

It can vary from situation to situation as to whether the deposit can be released prior to settlement. It is usually held on trust until settlement by the real estate agent, or our office. If you require these funds to be released prior to settlement, we will need to discuss what is called a Section 27 Release of Deposit Statement.

Your speaking another language – PEXA, Duties Form, SecureExchange!?

Whilst there is alot of paperwork to get through, our conveyancers will do their best to explain everything to you so that you understand what is happening.

PEXA – is short for PROPERTY EXCHANGE AUSTRALIA. It is the online settlement and lodgement platform which is used by our office, other conveyancers, lawyers, and lenders within Australia.

Within this settlement platform, the settlement documents such as transfer, mortgage and discharge are prepared, and funds for settlement are uploaded and directed to their destination accounts.

We work closely with the other conveyancer and finance institutions to have everything ready for settlement, and once we are all satisfied that everything is correct and balanced with funds, we all sign the workspace and your settlement can proceed as scheduled.

Duties Form, is a form which is signed electronically by both the vendor and purchaser. It is prepared by both legal representatives, and includes all information from your name and address to the purchase price and settlement date. It is provided to the State Revenue Office of Victoria, and is also used by their office in your stamp duty assessment.

SecureExchange is an online document signing software that our office uses to send and receive forms. We will always advise you when we are sending a form, and explain how to sign electronically.

Let’s talk fees, costs and charges!!

As every transaction is different, it is hard to put an exact figure on the cost of buying, selling or transferring ownership in Victoria.

We would prefer you reached out via telephone or email, and discussed your individual needs. We love having a chat so give our office a call and see what we can do for you.

Our point of difference is that you will always speak with the same person handling your file from start to finish. So no need to have to tell your story a million times to a receptionist to another file handler to another person. We value your time and want your transaction to be as effortless as possible.

Don’t forget if you are purchasing, you will also have Land Titles Office registration fees, and stamp duty if applicable. For calculators and more information, please ask your conveyancer, or click the below links:

There are also PEXA Workspace fees. Currently (2024), for a single property transaction, the fee is $132.66 – for both a vendor and a purchaser.

If you are discharging a mortgage or registering a mortgage, the current (2024) fee is $118.40.

How do I find about any stamp duty concessions or grants?

Whilst undertaking your initial appointment, our conveyancer will discuss with you whether you will be eligible for any concessions, such as First Home Owner, Pensioner Concession, Primary Place of Residence etc. We will then apply for these concessions on your behalf, and advise you of the outcome.

If you require a First Home Owner Grant, your lender will assist you with this, and provide the funds at settlement.

For more information, we suggest checking out the State Revenue Office website, as they have great information and calculators to assist you in your planning.

What is VOI? – Verification of Identity

As your conveyancing representative, we are required to verify all of our clients, so that we can ensure you are who you say you are, decreasing the risk of any unauthorised property transactions.

It is a simple process, that we can undertake either in person, or online via InfoTrack our search provider. If you have any trouble with the process, we can always discuss other options of completing the VOI.

Do we need to be present at settlement?

No, you will not need to attend any settlement. All settlements are conducted online via PEXA. We will be able to advise you of the time that settlement is scheduled for, and will telephone you as soon as everything is completed.

You will then be able to meet with the real estate agent and collect your keys!!

Do we need to do a final inspection of the property before settlement?

Yes, you most definitely should undertake a final inspection. The contract states that you are able to conduct this inspection within 7 days of the settlement.

This will allow you to check that everything is as it was on the day that you signed the contract of sale. Check that any appliances work and there are no issues with the property.

This will then allow you and your conveyancer to work through any issues found prior settlement.

I am selling my house and I cannot find the Certificate of Title. What do I do?

Do not worry! We can assist you with a Lost Title Application. There is a fee for the application, and also a small professional fee for our time, but if you have searched high and low and have had no luck, we will prepare and lodge the application.

In most cases a new folio for the property is provided and we can continue working on your file.

What happens after settlement?

When you are purchasing: Once we contact you that settlement has completed, you are able to collect the keys and move on in!!!

You will need to organise the connection of services such as gas and electricity, however our office will advise the relevant council and water authorities, and any owners corporations if applicable of the ownership change.

When you are selling: We will telephone you to advise that settlement has completed, and the settlement funds should be in your nominated account!!!

Again, we will advise all relevant authorities of the change in ownership, and as long as you have disconnected your services such as electricity and gas, there is nothing else for you to do!!

I am selling my property, do I need a Section 137B report?

Section 137B Owner Builder Defect Reports are required if you have undertaken certain works on your property that did not require a council permit or approval. The report is carried out by a registered practitioner, and the report is provided within the contract of sale, which assures the purchaser that the works that were undertaken are up to standard.

Another point to note, is if your works were over $16,000.00, then you must obtain building insurance also. The certificate of currency must also be provided within the contract of sale, and the insurance must cover any structural defects for 6 years and any non-structural defects for 2 years.

If you would like more information on this, please speak to your conveyancer, or check out the below link!

What is a cooling off period?

A cooling off period allows you as the purchaser, to change your mind, and terminate the contract – within three business days of signing the contract.

This entitlement is not available to all purchasers, for example if you purchase at or within 3 days of a publicly advertised auction or you purchase a property over 20 hectares, or the property is an industrial/commercial property.

You will need to ensure that you provide written advice to the vendor or the vendors legal representative within the cooling off period, that you wish to terminate.

Joint Tenants or Tenants In Common?

When you purchase a property with other purchasers, our conveyancers will discuss with you, how you wish to be registered on title following settlement.

Joint Tenants – means that if one of the joint tenants pass away, the deceased persons share of the property will pass to the other surviving proprietor.

Tenants In Common – means that if one of the tenants pass away, the deceased persons share will pass to the beneficiaries as outlined in their Will. The other tenant registered on title retains their share of the property. You may registered as Tenants In Common in equal or un-equal shares.

We will discuss these options with you prior to settlement.

We need to change the settlement date – is it possible?

Yes – if something comes up and you need to change settlement day, whether you are buying or selling, all we need to do is contact the other legal representative in writing, requesting the change. If all parties agree (including any financial institutions) then it can happen!

I have lived in Australia my whole life why are you asking me to complete a Foreign Resident Capital Gains Withholding Certificate?

The ATO requires, that all vendors of properties that sell for over $750,000.00, provide to the purchasers, a Foreign Resident Capital Gains Withholding Certificate.

Basically, if you are foreign resident selling Australian real estate worth more than $750,000.00, the purchaser must withhold 12.5% of the purchase price and send it to the ATO on settlement. You are able to claim this money back when you lodge your Australian taxation form.

The objective of foreign resident capital gain withholding is to assist collecting foreign residents’ capital gains tax liabilities. The 12.5% withholding applies regardless of whether your gain on the sale of the asset is subject to tax under capital gains tax or as ordinary income.

The withholding obligation applies to both Australian resident and foreign resident buyers.

Its a simple and easy application process, which our conveyancers will direct you through. Once you have completed your application, the ATO will provide to you a certificate and this will show whether the purchaser is required to withhold any funds at settlement.

For more information, you can speak with your accountant, or check out this link: