Before You Buy


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 such as 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 you commit to purchase a property a number of reports should be completed. The cost of a professional property inspection is minimal in comparison with the cost of buying a property that requires 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 people purchasing home units as is a copy of the most recent body corporate minutes.

Building Inspection

A building inspection will give you 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 and identify and detect 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 or ask the vendor to have the problems repaired 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 you are buying an apartment, townhouse, villa or any property managed by a company or body corporate it is important to arrange a strata or company title search. This search will show you the history of the property, identify any problems the property has, list 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 and owners normally share the cost of these repairs.