Buying Your New Home

Buying your new home or even buying an investment property is a very exciting time.  There are however many things to be considered and attended to!  It can be a daunting process but you can relax knowing our team of conveyancing experts have done this many times before.  We will help ease your concerns as we guide you through the entire process, step by step.   

Finding the right property

Once you have a price in mind, it's time to go shopping.  You can contact your loca l real estate agents, browse the listing in the local newspaper or perhaps the most popular way to find your home these days, is to search the various online real estate websites before you arrange to view your selections.   


Deciding how you will finance your property should be carefully considered.  We would suggest speaking to your accountant or financial adviser before making any firm decisions.  It may also be prudent to make appointments with more than one lender to discuss your needs and goals.  Speaking with the lender can be helpful in that they can help you set goals and limits so that you make a realistic offer on your proposed purchase.  Meeting with the lender and having information and documentation arranged in advance can also help make the approval process much quicker when you do find the right property.

Most lenders will require mortgage insurance if you are borrowing more than 80% of the value of the property.  Ensure you allow for this in your budget and for any bank fees in relation to the loan.  You should always ensure you have written finance approval from your lender before you exchange contracts and this process can take some time. 

Stamp Duty

If you are required to pay stamp duty the amount will depend on the value of the property.  Please contact our office if you would like an estimate of stamp duty for your price range.  Stamp duty is in addition to the purchase price.

Property Searches 

When you have decided on the home you wish to purchase you should then commence ordering various property enquiries and inspections of the property. The Agent can assist you in this process.

These enquires and inspections will give you peace of mind, ensuring that everything is in order and that there are no unknown problems with the property.  The last thing you need is a nasty surprise. 

The suggested enquiries include: 

Pest and Building Inspection - a pest inspection ensures the property does not have a problem with pests such as termites, cockroaches, mice etc.  The building inspection ensures there are no structural defects.  

Survey Report – the purpose of a survey report is to identify the property, to check that the boundaries have not been moved and to locate any improvements that may have been made to the property. 

Electrical inspection – you should ensure that there are no electrical issues with the property and in particular ensure that the property does not have any cotton covered wiring as this can present insurance problems and be expensive to replace.

Building Certificate – a building certificate may be obtained from the local council.  This confirms that council does not have any outstanding or additional requirements in relation to the property. It ensures that the dwelling complies with all council building requirements.   It is usually necessary to first obtain a survey of the property.

Signing the contract

After all searches and necessary enquiries have been made on your behalf and you are happy and ready to proceed with the purchase of your new home, we will arrange for you to attend our office so that we can explain the contact to you and if all is in order, you will then sign your copy of the contract for sale.   

Exchange of contracts

When you have signed your copy of the contract for sale and confirmed finance approval, we will contact the vendors' solicitors to advise that we are ready to exchange contracts.  This is when you usually must pay a 10% deposit.

If the vendors have also approved and signed their copy of the contract we will arrange a meeting with their lawyers, where each party hands to the other party a signed copy of the contract (exchange of contracts).   Immediately before contracts are exchanged it is thoroughly checked by both party’s Solicitor to ensure that both contracts are identical and fully complete. 

Immediately on exchange you are legally bound to proceed with your purchase of the property.  A ‘cooling off’ period of 5 days is sometimes available but generally vendors require a purchaser to waive any cooling off period.

Auction note:  If you buy a property at auction you are bound to sign the contract as soon as the hammer falls if you are the successful bidder. It is imperative if you intend to purchase a property at auction that you discuss the contract with us before the auction.

Before settlement

After exchange of contracts, our conveyancing team now starts to work towards settlement of your matter which usually occurs 4 to 6 weeks after contracts have been exchanged.

At this point we attend to arranging payment of stamp duty.  We also communicate with your lender to organise the financial settlement of the purchase.  We will make arrangements for your lender to attend settlement on your behalf.

You will need to make arrangements to provide us with the balance of the purchase price and we will communicate with you about this. 

We will recommend that you do a final inspection of the property on the day of, or the day prior to settlement, to ensure that the property is as it was when contracts were signed.


A suitable time and venue will be arranged for settlement to take place.  Settlement generally takes place wherever the title deed is being held - usually the seller's law firm or at the sellers' bank.  We will attend the settlement meeting on your behalf and you are not required to attend.

We will hand a bank cheque for the purchase monies to the sellers' lawyer and in return they will hand us the title deed and a signed transfer to enable to the property to be transferred into your name.  

Generally you can take possession of the property at or immediately after settlement unless there is a lease in place.

After settlement

Our conveyancing team will then prepare and lodge the relevant documentation to ensure the ownership of the property is transferred into your name.


Gordon Garling Moffit Lawyers