Leah Johnson, Solicitor and Conveyancer at Rethink Law

Last night, myself and Rethink Law Conveyancing Clerk Jacob Dyball attended the PRD Suite Session – “Investing in the Burbs”. Guest speakers gave their special insights into where to invest next and why. It was great to hear what the local council and developers have planned for the growing suburbs of Warners Bay, Fletcher, Minmi, Shortland and Raymond Terrace. Are you buying your first home or planning on buying an investment property?

If you need help reviewing a property contract, I’d love to support you. Feel free to book an appointment to come for a coffee (from our own in-house coffee shop, Recharge Espresso) and speak to one of our conveyancers (02) 4962 4440.

Alternatively please find below a buyers guide to Property Conveyancing.

Purchase of Property – Residential, Commercial & Rural

Buying a home or an investment property  can be one of the most stressful and expensive things you will ever do, but it is also up there with the most exciting! It’s vital that you seek legal advice from someone experienced in property law and who knows the area.

Before You Start

The first round of decisions you will likely need to make is in regard to finance. Make sure you read everything thoroughly, from the pre-contractual statement which outlines the fees and charges to which you’ll be subject to the actual mortgage contract itself. Remember you are entitled to legal advice and are under no obligation to sign anything on the spot.

Pre-purchase Inspections

Once you have found a property you like, you will need to arrange a pre-purchase building inspection report and perhaps a pest inspection report. These are written reports about the condition of the property and helps you find out any potentially costly problems. You may be able to use this information to negotiate a reduction in the purchase price. If you’re not sure who to trust to do this inspection, talk to us. We are well aware of which inspectors are worth hiring.

Making an Offer

If you’re happy to proceed, you can make an offer. You might be asked to pay a small sum as an initial deposit, but this is fully refundable if you don’t end up signing the contract. It does not mean that the property is yours yet either, as the agent can take other offers and you can be ‘gazumped’.

Signing the Contract

If your offer is accepted then bring the contract that you’ve been given to your lawyer to us and discuss your situation with them. There may be several things that can be negotiated in your favour, and you need to be absolutely clear on your rights and responsibilities before signing.

When you do sign the contract you will need to pay the 10% deposit, unless your lawyer has negotiated a special condition otherwise. This is held with the real estate agent and is released to the seller after the property is settled. If you don’t have 10% available your lawyer can advise in regard to getting a deposit guarantee in lieu of the cash.

Buying at auction

If you are the successful bidder at an auction then you have locked yourself into the purchase. You don’t have a cooling off period to find finance approvals, carry out inspections or further review the contract conditions. If you are considering buying a property at auction have the agent send us a copy of the contract and we will review it with you and talk about the other steps to being ready as the successful bidder.


After the contract has become binding, your lawyer has a number of legal services to perform including:

Arranging payment of stamp duty

Checking with various government authorities to see if they have a vested interest in the property Liaising with the lender in regard to the mortgage Checking to see if there are any outstanding debts to local council Calculating adjustments for council, water and strata rates Making final checks on the title

On settlement day your lawyer will attend a meeting that will include the seller’s lawyer/conveyancer as well as any lenders involved and the funds will be handed over in exchange for the title and the keys.

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