Significant differences exist between different titles (e.g. strata titles and off-the-plan titles). DIY conveyancing is risky. Mortgages are offered in many forms. The First Home Owners Grant has strict eligibility terms. Compare real estate agents’ costs when selling. Buyers should be prepared for auction tactics and signing the sale contract. Cooling-off applies but deposits can be forfeited if the contract is broken. Buyers must pay stamp duty and pay for caveats and Land Registry searches.

Contributor

Laura Vickers

Principal Solicitor, Nest Legal

Conveyancers’ duties

Last updated

1 July 2020

A buyer’s conveyancer

The duties of a buyer’s conveyancer include:

  • reviewing and advising on the contract before it is signed and recommending amendments;
  • advising on how the property should be owned and on stamp duty treatment;
  • conducting a verification of identity;
  • liaising with the incoming mortgagee to satisfy their requirements;
  • ordering and reviewing the searches and certificates needed for the statement of adjustments and comparing them against the vendor’s statement;
  • advising on any section 27 deposit release statement;
  • reviewing the GST withholding notice and capital gains tax clearance certificate;
  • preparing the Duties Online documentation to enable the buyer’s stamp duty to be assessed a reasonable time before settlement with regard to the type of transaction involved;
  • setting up an electronic conveyancing workspace;
  • preparing the statement of adjustments;
  • calculating what funds are needed for settlement and making sure that these are available from the lender and/or buyer, and directing where funds are to be transferred;
  • advising the authorities of the change in ownership.

A vendor’s conveyancer

The duties of a vendor’s conveyancer include:

  • taking detailed instructions to enable preparation of the vendor’s statement and contract;
  • ordering the searches and certificates needed for the vendor’s statement;
  • preparing the vendor’s statement and contract of sale;
  • providing the contract to the selling agent;
  • conducting a verification of identity;
  • preparing a section 27 deposit release statement and agitating for early release of the deposit;
  • preparing the GST withholding notice and assisting a vendor to order a capital gains tax clearance certificate from the ATO;
  • initiating the Duties Online documentation to enable the buyer’s stamp duty to be assessed a reasonable time before settlement;
  • arranging for discharge of the vendor’s mortgages (if applicable);
  • reviewing the transfer, statement of adjustments and settlement statement;
  • directing the buyer how the sale proceeds are to be applied;
  • setting up an electronic conveyancing workspace and coordinating electronic settlement on the vendor’s behalf.

Fees and charges

The buyer must pay:

  • Land Use Victoria’s search and certificate fees (it is common for a buyer’s conveyancer to pay these fees and then seek reimbursement from the buyer at settlement; this reimbursement is usually identified as a ‘disbursement’ in their tax invoice);
  • registration fees to Land Use Victoria on all the instruments registered on the title (e.g. a caveat, transfer, and mortgages) – see the calculator here: www.propertyandlandtitles.vic.gov.au/forms-guides-and-fees/fees/transfer-of-land-fees-calculator-2019-20;
  • land transfer duty – the amount of duty is based on the purchase price (for current duty rates, see www.sro.vic.gov.au);
  • the fee to use the electronic conveyancing platform;
  • their conveyancer’s fee plus GST.

The vendor must pay:

  • the estate agent’s fee (this is usually deducted from the deposit);
  • the expenses of the sale (e.g. advertising, marketing), which are usually deducted from the deposit;
  • the fees for certificates and searches necessary to complete the vendor’s statement;
  • the fees for discharging a mortgage and withdrawing a caveat, which are necessary to hand over a clear title to the buyer;
  • the fee to use the electronic conveyancing platform;
  • their conveyancer’s fee plus GST.

Back to
Houses, communities and the road

Buy the chapter ‘Buying or selling a house’