Buying a home is one of the most stressful and expensive things you will ever do. It’s vital that you seek legal advice from someone experienced in property law and who knows the area.

Before You Start

The first round of decisions you will likely need to make is in regard to finance. Make sure you read everything thoroughly, from the pre-contractual statement which outlines the fees and charges to which you’ll be subject to the actual mortgage contract itself. Remember you are entitled to legal advice and are under no obligation to sign anything on the spot.

Pre-purchase Inspections

Once you have found a property you like, you will need to arrange a pre-purchase building inspection report and perhaps a pest inspection report. These are written reports about the condition of the property and helps you find out any potentially costly problems. You may be able to use this information to negotiate a reduction in the purchase price. If you’re not sure who to trust to do this inspection, talk to your lawyer. They will be well aware of which inspectors are worth hiring.

Making an Offer

If you’re happy to proceed, you can make an offer. You might be asked to pay a small sum as an initial deposit, but this is fully refundable if you don’t end up signing the contract. It does not mean that the property is yours yet either, as the agent can take other offers.

Signing the Contract

If your offer is accepted then take the contract you’ve been given to your lawyer/conveyancer and discuss your situation with them. There may be several things that can be negotiated in your favour, and you need to be absolutely clear on your rights and responsibilities before signing.

When you do sign the contract you will need to pay the 10% deposit, unless your lawyer/conveyancer has negotiated a special condition otherwise. This is held with the real estate agent and is released to the seller after the property is settled. If you don’t have 10% available your lawyer/conveyancer can advise in regard to getting a deposit guarantee in lieu of the cash.


After the contract has become binding, your lawyer/conveyancer has a number of tasks to perform including:

  • Arranging payment of stamp duty
  • Liaising with the lender in regard to the mortgage
  • Checking with various government authorities to see if they have a vested interest in the property
  • Checking to see if there are any outstanding debts to local council
  • Calculating adjustments for council, water and strata rates
  • Making final checks on the title

On settlement day your lawyer/conveyancer will attend a meeting that will include the seller’s lawyer/conveyancer as well as any lenders involved and the funds will be handed over in exchange for the title and the keys.

For a Buyer, we will:

1. Advise you of your legal position and summarise your obligations under the contract you are to sign or have already signed;

2. Conduct searches on the property on your behalf;

3. Advise the Seller’s solicitors of your position with regard to finance and building and pest inspections;

4. Terminate the contract on your advice if finance is not approved or you are not satisfied with the Building and Pest findings;

5. Provide a cost appraisal including transfer duty, and disbursements such as search and registration fees prior to settlement;

6. Produce the legal documents required to transfer the property to you and have them signed by the seller and held in our office prior to the settlement day;

7. Liaise with your financier to ensure your funds are available at settlement;

8. Calculate adjustments to the amount payable at settlement to ensure that you are only responsible for rates and water, any Body Corporate levies and sewerage from the day of occupation;

9. Ensure that there are no outstanding Rates or Water and Sewerage bills on the property;

10. Book a settlement date and time, and ensure all parties are ready to attend settlement;

11. Send an Agent to settlement on your behalf to produce the Title Transfer documents and cheques to complete settlement or conduct the settlement on-line by PEXA;

12. Advise the Real Estate Agent on settlement to release the keys for the property to you as soon as the settlement is complete!

Contact us to discuss the specific property you are considering buying with an experienced property lawyer/conveyancer in Forest Lake.