Buying a property, whether it is to live in or as an investment, is a big decision to make, after all it is likely to be the most expensive purchase you will make. You want to make sure the property is the right price, location, value and size. 

Once you have decided to buy it is important to undertake thorough research in order to determine your budget and location. Neighbouring suburbs can vary considerably in price, as can houses in the same suburb but in different areas. It is also helpful to look at properties that have sold recently in the areas you are looking in. This will give you a more accurate guide as to what properties sell for rather than looking at advertised price ranges, which can often be misleading. Attending a number of inspections and auctions will also give you an idea of what you are able to buy for your budget. 

When you have found a property you would like to purchase, you may wish to have a builder/ architect inspect the property to determine if there are any significant issues with the building or to provide information on any work that may need to be carried out. If you are borrowing money, your lender will usually have to undertake a valuation of the property prior to lending the required funds.

Whether the property is for private sale or auction you are able to make an offer, which you would do formally in writing. The seller can then accept your offer, negotiate or decline. Any offer you make is not legally binding until both the seller and purchaser have signed a contract of sale.

If the seller accepts the purchaser's offer, contracts are exchanged and an agreed upon deposit is paid (usually 10%) and is held by the real estate agent or solicitor/ conveyancer. If a Real Estate Agent is involved, the buyer needs to advise them of their solicitors/ conveyancers details so the contact can be forwarded. If there is no agent involved, the buyer needs to ensure the contract is delivered in a timely manner. 

Once the contracts has been signed and exchanged a cooling off period (which varies from state to state) allows the purchaser to rescind the contract during this time. Please note, cooling off periods do not apply to auction sales.

If the contract is subject to finance, the purchaser needs to provide a copy of the contract to their financial institute and advise of their solicitor/ conveyancers details. A transfer document is prepared by the purchasers solicitor/ Conveyancer, which is signed by the purchaser and stamp duty paid and then forwarded to the vendor’s solicitor/ conveyancer for the vendor to sign. 

A property is said to settle on the day the purchasers pays out the remaining balance of the purchase price. A final search of the property is obtained and the title documents are exchanged for payment.

Post settlement, the purchaser’s solicitor/ conveyancer will contact any relevant parties to advise of the transfer and will forward payment of transfer duty to the appropriate State Revenue Office. A letter is usually sent to the purchaser by their solicitor/ conveyancer containing the settlement statement and copies of searches that were carried out on the property.

Conveyancing Process for the Buyer

Conveyancing is the process of transferring the ownership of a property from one person or entity to another and is a required step when someone buys or sells a residential or investment property.

  1. Preparation of the Contract of Sale: Depending upon which Australian state the transaction is taking place in, either the Vendor’s Real Estate Agent or Solicitor/ Conveyancer prepare the Contract of Sale. Under various laws the contract must contain specified documents, certificates and disclosures. In most states and under usual circumstances the Vendor’s Real Estate Agent facilitates the negotiations and exchange of contacts. 
  2. Exchange of Contracts: If the vendor accepts you as the purchaser's offer, contracts are exchanged and an agreed upon deposit is paid (usually 10%) and is held by the real estate agent or solicitor/ conveyancer. If a Real Estate Agent is involved, the buyer needs to advise them of their solicitors/ conveyancers details so the contact can be forwarded. If there is no agent involved, the buyer needs to ensure the contract is delivered in a timely manner.
  3. Cooling Off Period: Once the contracts has been signed and exchanged a cooling off period (which varies from state to state) allows you the purchaser to rescind the contract during this time. Please note, cooling off periods do not apply to auction sales.
  4. Finance: If the contract is subject to finance, you will need to provide a copy of the contract to the seller's financial institute and advise their solicitor/ conveyancers details.
  5. Transfer of Property Titles: A transfer document is prepared by the purchasers solicitor/ Conveyancer, which is signed by the purchaser and stamp duty paid and then forwarded to the vendor’s solicitor/ conveyancer for the vendor to sign.
  6. Settlement: A property is said to settle on the day you as the purchaser pays out the remaining balance of the purchase price. A final search of the property is obtained and the title documents are exchanged for payment.
  7. Post-Settlement: The purchaser’s solicitor/ conveyancer will contact any relevant parties to advise of the transfer and will forward payment of transfer duty to the appropriate State Revenue Office. A letter is usually sent to the purchaser by their solicitor/ conveyancer containing the settlement statement and copies of searches that were carried out on the property.