Guide to Purchasing a Property



If you want to buy or sell a home, land or investment property you’ll have to sign a contract. The legal work involved in preparing the sale contract, mortgage and other related documents, is called conveyancing.

Most people employ a Conveyancer/Settlement Agent or Solicitor to do legal work involved in purchasing a property including preparing documents, giving legal advice on contracts and explaining the implications.

The conveyancing process can involve the following steps:

  • Examining contract of sale
  • Examining a strata inspection report if the property is part of a strata scheme
  • Arranging payment of stamp duties
  • Checking any outstanding arrears or land tax obligations
  • Finding out if any government authority has an interest in the land or if any planned development could affect the property
  • Finding out any information that may not have been previously disclosed such as a fence dispute or illegal building work
  • Calculating adjustments for council and water rates for the property settlement
  • Completing any final checks prior to settlement
  • Attending settlement
  • Arranging payment of stamp duties
  • Overseeing the change of title
  • Exchanging the contract of sale and paying the deposit
  • Arranging finance if necessary
  • Arranging building and pest inspections
  • Preparing and examining the mortgage agreement

Your Agent can explain this process as it applies in your state or territory. 


Before committing to purchase a property a number of reports should be completed. The cost of a professional property inspection is minimal compared with the cost of buying a property requiring extensive and unforeseen repairs. The most common reports requested by purchasers are building inspections and pest inspections. A strata or company title report is important for anyone purchasing home units, as is a copy of the most recent body corporate minutes.

Building Inspection

A building inspection records an expert’s opinion on the condition of the property you’re interested in buying. The report should provide information on the property’s condition, detecting and identifying any significant building defects or problems.

The consultant will inspect:

  • Interior of the building
  • Exterior of the building
  • Roof space
  • Under-floor space
  • Roof exterior
  • Site

If problems are identified you can get specialist advice, ask the vendor to have the problems rectified or try to negotiate a lower price for the property.

Pest Inspection Reports

A pest inspection will detect whether or not there is any termite activity or any pests that may exist in the property.

Strata and Company Title Searches

If buying an apartment, townhouse, villa or any property managed by a company or body corporate, it’s important to arrange a strata or company title search. This search shows you the property’s history, identifies any problems it has and lists past repairs, and proposed repairs, to other units and the common areas. This information is important as the cost of repairs to common property can in some cases be substantial with owners normally sharing the cost of these repairs.