Buying a Residential Property

When You Find Your Dream Home What Happens Next?

Negotiations when buying property move quickly, particularly in a competitive market. A settlement period usually lasts between 6 – 8 weeks from when a vendor accepts an offer until completion of a purchase, however there is a lot of work to do during this time.

Conveyancing is the process of transferring legal title of a property from one party to another. This can generally be separated into 3 major stages, with various steps falling within each. The following outline will help you understand what is involved in purchasing property and how we can assist you throughout the process.“A settlement period usually lasts between 6 – 8 weeks from

Exchanging Contracts

Exchanging contracts is the formal process of committing the purchaser and vendor to the agreement. Each party signs replica contracts and their Lawyers swap and date the documents. The deposit, as agreed between the parties, becomes payable. Until contracts are exchanged no legal rights or obligations arise.

After exchange we will recommend further enquiries to ascertain whether the property is affected by Government proposals, work orders or land tax. Certificates from Council and water authorities provide rate details to be used for adjustments on settlement.

Stamp duty requirements and insurance are discussed and we will start liaising with your lender and vendor’s Lawyer in preparation for settlement.

Settlement statements are prepared to show the final balance owing on completion taking into account the deposit, rates and other adjustments. These are checked and agreed between the parties.

Finance, Contract Review and Pre-Purchase Inspections

If you are getting a loan, finance should be pre-approved. This means that you can look for a property within your price range and, subject to valuation and other lending requirements, formal approval generally follows quickly so you can proceed with the purchase.

Contracts should not be exchanged without formal finance approval.

Finding the right property is a chaotic time with offers going back and forward between the vendor, purchaser and agent. There is a sense of urgency, often with the perception that you will miss out if you do not act quickly. However, your decisions need to be informed and it is critical that your Lawyer reviews the contract before you commit.

We will go over the contract with you, discuss the title to the property and ensure that you understand your rights and obligations under the contract.

The contract will note the legal description of the property and show any interests affecting the land such as easements or restrictive covenants. The planning certificate confirms the permitted use of the land and sets out matters impacting upon it such as heritage listings or flood zones. This information is not apparent from a physical inspection of the property, and may prompt enquiries of Council.

Special conditions attached to the contract, usually for the vendor’s benefit, should be reviewed and, if necessary, negotiated.

Whilst the property and building may look sound, obtaining pest and building reports from a reputable inspector will flag existing or potential pest or structural problems.


On settlement the parties’ Lawyers and bank representatives meet and the purchase funds are handed over in exchange for the title deeds. Many settlements are now completed electronically.

Unless the contract provides otherwise, the property must be vacant for the purchaser’s possession on the day of completion. The keys may be handed over at settlement or collected from the agent.

If you have borrowed funds, your lender will arrange to have the title to the property transferred into your name and the Valuer General, local Council and water authorities are notified of the new owner. If the property is strata title, we will confirm your new details with the strata manager.

Information and preparation are key to reducing the stress that accompanies a property purchase. Our Sydney property law and conveyancing Lawyers have dealt with many residential purchases and will guide you along the way so that you can make informed and timely decisions.

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