Real Estate Conveyancing: The Ultimate Buyer’s Checklist

Real Estate Conveyancing Checklist for Buyers

1. Finding a Property

  • Determine your essential and non-essential property requirements.
  • Set a budget that includes all transaction costs.
  • Conduct background research on the area and neighbourhood.
  • Decide on the ownership structure (sole owner, joint tenant, tenant in common, or trust).
  • Obtain pre-approval for financing but remember it’s conditional.
  • Engage a lawyer for reviewing the contract of sale and Vendor’s Statement (Section 32).
  • Consider special conditions for the contract, including repair requests.
  • Document the property’s condition through photos or videos.
  • Decide on a reasonable settlement period with the seller.
  • Avoid pressure from agents or sellers; make decisions at your comfort.

2. Before Signing the Contract

  • Review the total cost of the transaction within your budget.
  • Confirm financing capability; avoid unconditional contracts without financial certainty.
  • Have a lawyer review the contract of sale and Section 32.
  • List special conditions for the contract.
  • Don’t rely solely on verbal assurances; trust only the contract of sale.
  • Negotiate the property’s price, if necessary.
  • Arrange for professional building and pest inspections.

Note for Victorian Buyers

  • Remember the 3-day cooling-off period in Victoria after signing the contract.


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3. After Signing the Contract

  • Exchange contracts and pay the deposit.
  • Instruct your lawyer to prepare for settlement.
  • Complete verification of identity with original documents.
  • Authorise your lawyer for PEXA transactions through Client Authorisation.
  • Ensure property insurance from the day of the sale.
  • Coordinate between your mortgage broker and lawyer for finance application.

Before Settlement

  • Let your lawyer conduct necessary checks (title, caveats, easements, etc.).
  • Review adjustments sent by your lawyer.

On Settlement Day

  • Pay the balance of the purchase price, stamp duty, and outgoing adjustments.
  • Prepare an additional contingency fund (e.g., $5,000) for unforeseen adjustments.
  • After title transfer, ensure your lawyer notifies relevant authorities.
  • Stay in touch with your lawyer and collect keys from the agent post-settlement.

Additional Specific Checks

  • Measure the property boundaries accurately, even for apartments.
  • Review the certificate of title for easements, covenants, or other restrictions.
  • Confirm that property measurements match the title certificate.
  • Investigate any registered interests (e.g., family court orders, caveats) that may affect settlement.
  • Check council rates and assessed property value.
  • Inquire about land tax obligations and amounts.
  • Understand any planning, zoning, heritage listings, or overlays affecting the property.
  • Ensure all services (water, sewerage, gas, electricity, telephone) are connected.
  • Investigate potential property contamination.
  • Confirm the presence of heating and cooling systems.
  • Check for any unlawful or illegal building works.
  • Verify permits and certificates for any renovations.
  • If a new home, check for occupancy certificate and builders warranty insurance.
  • Assess for building defects, termite damage, and strata or owners corporation issues.
  • Review owners corporation charges and potential special levies.
  • Consider additional charges like GAIC.
  • Ensure financial readiness for deposit and balance payments.
  • Compare recent property sales in the area for price validation.
  • Determine the correct purchasing entity (individual, partner, company, etc.).
  • Evaluate the settlement period feasibility.


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