Here you can find answers to our most common questions

buy  |  sell  |  lease


Do I need to appoint a Solicitor/Conveyancer whether I am selling or buying?

Victorian Legislation requires that a buyer must be provided with a ‘Vendor Statement’ or ‘Section 32’ prior to signing a contract to purchase a property.  Failure to provide a Vendor Statement (Section 32) prior to signing a Contract can render the contract void.  It is therefore important that the ‘Vendor Statement’ be completed correctly and in a timely manner.  A Solicitor or Conveyancer is the best person to undertake this task on behalf of the seller.

As a buyer, you may choose to engage a Solicitor or Conveyancer to review a Vendor Statement however you are not legally obliged to do so.

After the sale is confirmed, your agent will send copies of the documentation to your appointed Solicitor/Conveyancer.

What is a Section 32?

A ‘Vendor Statement’ is often referred to as a ‘Section 32’ as it is drawn up in accordance with Section 32 of the Sale of Land Act 1962.  It outlines important information about the property including a copy of the Certificate of Title detailing the dimensions of the land being sold, Town Planning information including the relevant zoning governing its use, Council & Water rates and the services available, amongst other information.

A copy of the ‘Section 32’ (Vendor Statement) must be signed by the vendor and given to the purchaser before a contract is signed.

Should I sell my current home before buying a new one?

This choice is yours.  Many vendors prefer to ‘know where they are going’ before they put their current home on the market.  This avoids the dilemma of selling and then not being able to find a suitable replacement.

Others prefer to have sold first and know how much they have to spend on their next property purchase.

There is no right or wrong answer.  Sometimes your ‘dream home’ comes up for sale and you just have to ‘go for it’

What does a ‘sellers’ market’ mean?

A ‘sellers’ market’ is often a reference to a strong or buoyant real estate market.  It is characterised by a strong demand and often a lack of supply of available properties.  It is definitely a good time to sell as there will usually be plenty of buyer interest, leading to more offers for your property, resulting in a potentially higher price.

What does a ‘buyers’ market’ mean?

This type of market is often characterised by a large volume of available properties and/or a lack of interested buyers.  When this happens, prices tend to remain stable or possibly decline depending on the severity of the oversupply.

What do I need to bring to auction if I intend to bid?

Bidding at auction in Victoria is easy. You do not need to pre-register as in some other Australian states and there are no paddles or silly rams looking over your shoulder!   If you are the successful bidder, you’ll need to sign the contract and be able to pay the deposit (usually 10% of the purchase price) either by cheque or electronic direct deposit.

How long can the vendor take to respond to my offer?

If you are serious about buying a particular property it will carry more ‘weight’ with the vendor if the offer is ‘in writing’ on a contract.  Once on a contract, the offer is conveyed to the vendor for their consideration.  It will be up to the vendor as to how quickly they respond, but as the purchaser you may withdraw your offer at any time, so it is in the best interests of the vendor to respond promptly.

What does under contract mean?

This is a term used to describe the period in which a property is sold to a particular buyer, but the contract may not yet be unconditional. By this, we mean, the contract to purchase may rely on the buyer obtaining approval for finance.  Under Contract may apply for a couple of days or a couple of weeks, but normally during that time another contract cannot be entered for the purchase of that particular property.

How does Stamp Duty affect me?

Land Transfer Duty, commonly known as ‘Stamp Duty’ is payable by the purchaser (not the seller).  It is payable to the State Revenue Office on final settlement of the property.  There are some exemptions available for eligible First Home Buyers up to a certain value and an additional duty payable by foreign purchasers.

Please refer to www.sro.vic.gov.au for the most up to date and accurate information about taxes, rates and grants.

Why should I consider getting pre-approval?

Going to your bank, finance broker or other lending institution prior to making a property purchase decision is always a smart move. Getting pre-approval for a loan enables you to bid or offer with an additional level of confidence that you will be able to complete the transaction, you will also know how much you’ve got to spend.  When a buyer has pre-approval for their required finance, a seller may also be more confident in accepting your offer.

Should I order a building inspection?

When purchasing an ‘established’ home it is important to thoroughly satisfy yourself as to its structural integrity.  This can be done by careful inspection and many potential purchasers undertake this themselves.  Major cracking and signs of instability in the building are sometimes easily identifiable through visual inspection.

For additional confirmation and advice, some potential buyers will engage the services of a Qualified Building Inspector.  For a fee of a few hundred dollars, a private building inspection company will conduct a thorough inspection of the home and identify any structural defects.  The purchaser is then in a more informed position as to the condition of the property.

Can my offer be ‘subject to finance’?

Provided you are not purchasing at auction, you are normally at liberty to make your purchase offer ‘subject to finance’.   By placing a condition on your offer, any subsequent contract will only proceed to settlement if you are able to obtain approval for the required finance. You as an intended buyer are therefore ‘protected’ and any deposit money will be returned to you, if the finance approval is not forthcoming.  Bear in mind that your offer may not appear as strong or as attractive to the seller if it is subject to a condition.

What does a cooling off period mean?

Section 31 of the Sale of Land Act (1962) provides for a ‘cooling off’ period for the buyer of property in Victoria.  In essence, a buyer may end a property purchase contract within 3 clear business days of signing the contract unless certain exceptions apply.

  • You bought the property at or within 3 clear business days before or after a publicly advertised auction; or
  • The property is used primarily for industrial or commercial purposes; or
  • The property is more than 20 hectares in size and is used primarily for farming; or
  • You and the vendor have previously signed the contract for the sale of the same land in substantially the same terms; or
  • You are an estate agent or a corporate body.

You must either give the vendor or the vendor’s agent written notice that you are ending the contract or leave notice at the address of the vendor or the vendors agent to end this contract within this time in accordance with this cooling-off provision.

You are entitled to a refund of all the money you paid EXCEPT for $100 or 0.2% of the purchase price (whichever is more) if you end the contract in this way.

Do I need a final inspection?

The purchaser has a right to conduct a final inspection within 7 days prior to the intended settlement.  ‘Settlement’ is the day on which the balance of the purchase money for the property is given to the seller in exchange for the Certificate of Title or Deed.  Any keys and the right to occupy (unless tenanted) is then given to the purchaser.

If the purchaser would like to inspect the property prior to settlement, they should contact the selling agent and they will arrange a suitable time

Disclaimer: The advice contained herein is of a general nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Attempts have been made to ensure its accuracy however it is recommended that you obtain your own legal advice and make your own enquiries.