Queensland Conveyancing Process
Buyers often ask us
How do I buy a property in Queensland?
The Offer and the Contract
Make an offer on a property through the Selling Real Estate Agent. Often the Sales Agent will take the details of your offer through an informal Offer Form.
The Real Estate Agent will prepare the draft Contract for Sale. The most common form of Contract is copyright of the Real Estate Institute of Queensland Ltd.
We strongly recommend that you provide the draft Contract to an experienced property lawyer for review to ensure that the details on the Contract are correct, you are buying the right property and the terms are fair. Many lawyers offer a complimentary contract review prior to signing. One of the most important aspects to discuss with your Solicitor is the timeframes in the Contract because time is of the essence in QLD property contracts. If you require any changes to the contract you can ask the selling Agent for a new version prior to signing.
Sign the Contract and return it to the Sales Agent along with payment of the initial deposit listed on the Contract to the Agency’s Trust Account. Ensure that you always confirm bank account details by phone or in person prior to transferring funds.
The Sales Agent will present your formal offer as a signed Contract to the Seller. If the Seller accepts and also signs the Contract, it will be dated, and you will have entered into a legally binding Contract for your purchase.
Ensure that your lawyer receives the fully signed and dated Contract from the Real Estate Agent.
The Contract Conditions
7. Once you have a signed Contract the firsts thing to immediately focus on are fulfilling the Contract Conditions such as arranging your Building and Pest inspection and putting in your finance application with your preferred broker or bank.
8. Most Queensland Contracts for properties that are built on specify that the property is at the Buyer’s risk from 5pm on the first business day after the Contract Date therefore we strongly recommend that you arrange your building insurance over the property as early as possible.
9. Your lawyer will open your file and provide you with initial advice and instructions which may include verifying your identity, outlining key dates for your matter and requesting copies of your building and pest inspection reports and your formal finance approval once you receive them.
10. If you have any concerns about any aspect of the property or the contract you should discuss these with your Solicitor as soon as you become aware of them. Your lawyer may be able to conduct conveyancing property searches immediately to address your concerns. In some cases, if you are not satisfied you may be able to terminate the Contract.
11. In order to satisfy the Contract conditions, you will instruct your lawyer that you are happy to proceed. A letter from your Solicitor will then be sent to the Seller’s Solicitor satisfying each condition and making the Contract unconditional. Any balance of deposit is usually payable to the Agent’s Trust Account when the Contract goes unconditional.
12. If you are unable to meet any of the timeframes in the Contract, it is important that you tell your lawyer immediately so that they can request an extension for you. Time is of the essence and failure to meet a Contract deadline without a written grant of extension will give the Seller the right to terminate the contract.
Preparing for Settlement
13. If you are obtaining a loan for the purchase, your lender will provide you with a loan offer and mortgage documents for signing in the presence of a Justice of the Peace of Solicitor. Physical copies of the mortgage documents need to be express posted to your bank so that the incoming mortgagee can prepare for settlement.
14. Your conveyancer will order the pre-settlement property searches which include rates, water and land tax financial searches to ensure that any debts owing on the property are paid on settlement and that you only pay for the property outgoings from the date you own the property. These searches will be used to calculate the settlement adjustment figures.
15. Your Solicitor will prepare the Form 1 Transfer document and Form 24 Property Information. Solicitors can sign Transfer documents on behalf of Buyers.
16. Your Solicitor will prepare the Transfer Duty Lodgement Form including assisting you with applying for the First Home Buyer Concession or Home Concession if you are eligible.
17. A settlement booking will be arranged with the Seller’s Solicitor and your bank.
18. The Seller’s Solicitor will generally decide whether the Settlement will be conducted by paper or electronically via PEXA. PEXA electronic settlements are now the most common in Queensland and your conveyancer will ask you to sign the PEXA Client Authorisation form.
19. The final settlement adjustment figures will be agreed with the Seller’s Solicitor in a Settlement Statement.
20. You will be provided with the Settlement Statement and all costs involved in your purchase transaction including legal fees and disbursements, settlement costs, Queensland Transfer Duty and Queensland Land Titles Registry lodgement fees. Your Solicitor will direct you to place your savings required for the purchase either in your nominated bank account with your lending institution or in the law practice’s trust account.
The Settlement Day
21. As close as possible prior to settlement, you should arrange a final inspection of the property with the Real Estate Agent to ensure that the property is in a condition ready for you to own. Contact your Solicitor if there are any issues.
22. Your lawyer will send you copies of the final settlement documents and financial payments for your approval.
23. On the Settlement day, settlement will be conducted by the Seller’s Solicitor, the Buyer’s Solicitor, the mortgagee currently on the title and your incoming mortgagee. The balance of the funds required to buy the property will transferred to the Seller in exchange for your name being registered on the title to the land. All participants in the sales process will also be paid on settlement.
24. Settlements in Queensland generally take place between 2-4pm.
25. You will receive confirmation from your Solicitor when settlement is complete and the Real Estate Agent will be authorised to release the deposit monies to the Seller and the keys to the property to the Buyers.
26. You are now officially the new owner of the property. Government authorities will automatically be notified so that future rates, water and land tax notices will be sent to you. Congratulations on this property investment for your future.
This article is general in nature and legal advice specific to your matter should be obtained from your Solicitor. Every property Contract and Conveyancing transaction is different.