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.


Laura Vickers

Principal Solicitor, Nest Legal

Marta McCormack

Solicitor, Nest Legal

Introduction to buying or selling a house

Last updated

1 July 2021

This chapter includes information about buying and selling a house where the property has a registered land title (see ‘Land titles’). The topics covered include conveyancing, mortgages, government assist­ance schemes, and the contract of sale.

A note on conveyancing

While this chapter contains information about conveyancing, it does not provide information detailed enough to enable you to do your own conveyancing. 

Furthermore, it is now difficult for a party to a real estate transaction to do their own conveyancing, as in Victoria, electronic conveyancing is now mandatory.

Most electronic conveyancing now takes place via an electronic platform (e.g. Property Exchange Australia), to which solicitors and conveyancers subscribe.

For more information, see ‘Conveyancing’, below.

Key terms

The key terms used in this chapter include:

  • vendor: the person or organisation selling a property;
  • buyer: the person or organisation purchasing a property;
  • discharging mortgagee: the bank lending the money to the vendor;
  • incoming mortgagee: the bank lending the money to the buyer.

All these four parties participate in the settlement of a conveyance.

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