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Buying Tips

Buying Tips

Licensed Estate Agents and Agents Representatives

When buying or selling property, most people will deal with an estate agent.  There are laws governing the licensing and conduct of estate agents.  Anyone in the business of buying, selling or leasing property on behalf of another person must hold an estate agent’s licence or be employed by a licensed estate agent as an agent’s representative.

During the buying process you can generally expect an agent to:

  • take your details and advise you about relevant properties for sale
  • answer any questions about listed properties
  • arrange inspections
  • provide a copy of a Section 32 Statement(vendor’s statement) upon request
  • communicate your offers to the seller, and
  • organise for the signing of the contract.

Choosing the right property and being informed about the property market

The purchase of a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make during your lifetime.  Buying a home can be complicated and time-consuming.  Planning is the key to having no regrets down the road.

Make a list of your preferred areas, essential features and your wish list of non-essential features.  Knowing what you want will help you avoid buying a property that does not meet your needs.

Be informed about the property market

Learn as much as possible about property buying and the market value of property in your preferred area by researching on the internet, in real estate publications, attending open houses, checking sales results and speaking to real estate agents.

Know what you can afford

Buying a property is a significant and ongoing financial commitment.  Before you start looking for a property you should speak to your bank or mortgage broker to work out exactly what you can afford and how much they will let you borrow.

You need to factor in additional purchase costs such as:

  • legal fees
  • loan establishment fees
  • mortgage insurance
  • stamp duty
  • building and pest inspection fees
  • moving costs
  • insurance (building and contents).


Buyers can arrange a time to inspect a property with an agent by either email or phone.  If a property is tenanted, at least 24 hours notice of the inspection has to be given to the tenant.

Alternatively you can attend Open for Inspections, the times are usually advertised in The Courier and on the internet.

Anyone entering the property may be asked for proof of identity and to leave contact details with the agent.  This is a security measure and provides the agent with a ready database of potential buyers, who can be notified if an offer is received on the property, or if other properties become available.

Section 32 Statement

Before a property is sold, the seller is required by law to provide the buyer with a Vendor’s Statement under the Sale of Land Act.  The Vendor’s Statement (often called a Section 32 Statement) is usually prepared by the seller’s solicitor or conveyancer.  It is then signed by the seller and made available to prospective buyers, usually via the agent before the sale or auction.

The vendor’s statement contains information about the property’s title, including mortgages, covenants, easements, zoning and outgoings such as rates.  It does not include any information about the condition of buildings, whether they comply with building regulations or if measurements on the title are accurate.  The responsibility is on the buyer to find out about anything that is not covered in the vendor’s statement.

What Is An Owners Corporation ?

An Owners Corporation (formerly called a body corporate) manages the common property of a residential, commercial, retail, industrial or mixed-use property development.  Common property may include, for example, gardens, passages, walls, pathways, driveways, lifts, foyers and fences.

An Owners Corporation is automatically created when a plan of subdivision containing common property is registered at Land Victoria.  The owners are referred to as lot owners or members.  As a member of an Owners Corporation, you have the right to vote on decisions about the operation of the owners corporation and will be required to contribute to costs for repairs, maintenance and insurance, not only for your own home but also for the common property shared with the other lot owners.

When buying a unit, flat or apartment, the buyer will be provided with their own certificate of title.  The buyer is not just purchasing the individual property but also the ownership of, and the right to use common property as set out by the plan of subdivision.

What is a multiple offer situation?

In many instances more than one buyer may have interest in the same property at any one time. We find from past experience and working in the Vendors best interest, that taking more than one offer at a time and giving everyone the same opportunity is the fairest way.

Can I make an offer subject to finance?

A finance clause is put in place for those who need to borrow to fund their puchase. A lender will normally be able to arrange your finance within 14 Days (10 business days).

An offer that is unconditional will carry more weight with the vendor so it is worth considering this if you are in a multiple offer situation and a position of not needing finance or only a small amount.

Trev Shand is our Loan Market representative and is available 7 days a week to provide you with the most up to date details on the loan that will best suit you. Even if you have pre-approval from a lender, Trev can give you some great advice at no charge to you.

Trev can be contacted on 0402 915 626.

Negotiating the purchase

Any offer to buy a property should be made through the seller’s agent.  It can be hard to work out how much to offer.  Do you make your best offer upfront, or offer a lower price and be prepared to negotiate knowing that that the vendor may accept another offer without you having a chance to increase your offer ?  In some cases the seller may not be prepared to negotiate at all.

An offer is not binding on the person making the offer until a contract of sale has been signed by all parties.  If you require anything to happen before settlement (for example obtaining finance or a satisfactory building inspection report), you should make the contract subject to that event occurring.  This is done by including special conditions in the contract that must be satisfied before you can be required to settle.

How long does it take to get an answer?

We understand how nerve racking a time it is once you have found the home you want to buy and how nervous you might be making an offer. We will endeavour to present your offer as soon as possible but this may be influenced by the availability of the Vendor and other offers being taken on the property. Generally we will have an answer for you within 24-72 hours, however we will keep you informed throughout the process so you are not left wondering.

The Deposit

The deposit is generally paid by the buyer to the seller’s agent either when the buyer makes their offer or by the date stated in the contract of sale.  It is held by the seller’s estate agent in a trust account until the settlement date.  Most deposits are 10 per cent of the purchase price.

Some buyers use a deposit bond for the deposit.  A deposit bond, or guarantee, is an alternative to providing a deposit upon signing the contract of sale.  The use of a deposit bond requires the specific approval of the seller and needs to be written into the contract of sale


Once an offer has been accepted, the agent will obtain the buyers details to enable the preparation of contracts.  A buyer may be required to put their offer in writing before the vendor will consider it.  The contract document outlines the terms and conditions of the sale and contains provision for:

  • the name and address of the seller
  • the name and address of the buyer
  • details of the property for sale
  • chattels included and excluded from the sale
  • the sale price (including GST if applicable)
  • deposits
  • settlement date
  • tenancy details
  • conditions of the sale (including finance conditions)

It is important to read and understand any legal document before you sign it.

Solicitors / Conveyancers

The transfer of ownership of land from the seller to the buyer is called a conveyance of land.  This process is usually undertaken with the assistance of a solicitor or conveyancer.

Buyers should engage their own solicitor or conveyancer to review and advise on the vendor’s statement and the contract of sale, and ensure that the transfer of title is done correctly.  They can also conduct title searches, advise about terms and conditions that need to be included in a contract, and on how different types of title may affect their ownership rights and responsibilities.