Buying and selling real estate involves one of the biggest investments many of us will make in our lifetime, so it is important you are equipped with comprehensive legal advice. In this article we provide some tips to ensure your purchase or sale runs as smoothly as possible.

Do the right thing

There are many stages of the conveyancing transaction (the legal process by which a person becomes the lawful owner of a property) requiring attention to detail.

A typical transaction starts with a sale and purchase agreement. You usually cannot change an agreement after you have signed it without the agreement of the other party, so seeing your lawyer first can help prevent small problems turning into big ones.

Sold by auction

Auction agreements are usually significantly different from standard sale and purchase agreements. For example, you cannot make an offer subject to finance or conditional on checking title matters and council records after the auction.

Stay in control

Whether you are buying or selling a property, you are the one who must be satisfied with the outcome – not the agent, your family, or friends. Stay in control of the process and let your lawyer help you understand the process, including loan documentation, financial commitments, and pre-purchase due diligence (title certificate, LIM and building reports).


Getting ownership right the first time saves extra cost later. Should you own the property in your own name, a trust, or a company? There are also taxation and other implications if you are buying property as an investment.

Pre-settlement inspections revealed

The pre-settlement inspection is your opportunity to check that what you have signed up for is consistent with what you will pay for. It’s a chance to check that the chattels you have agreed to in your agreement have remained and that they are in working order, with fair wear and tear excepted.

The inspection happens in the last few days before the settlement date. Any queries must be with the vendor’s solicitors prior to the actual settlement date.

Aspects that have changed, have not been rectified as agreed, or are not in working order, may be queried. Settlement is not able to be held up, but compensation or the retention of funds on the day to cover rectification is possible.