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A quick guide to interstate conveyancing

A quick guide to interstate conveyancing


  • Are you looking at purchasing interstate?
  • Did you know that Conveyancing transactions are different in each state?
  • Did you know some States has different stamp duty concessions that apply to both first home buyers and non-first home buyers?

When Purchasing and Selling property, it is important to know and understand how the process works in each State and Territory. It is also important to know the key conditions and benefits that apply to either buyers or sellers in each State. The process for conveyancing, along with the key points differ between all States and Territories and knowing the difference between each can assist when completing a conveyancing transaction.

Queensland (QLD)

In NSW when purchasing a property, the buyer is required to finalise finance and obtain any property inspection reports either prior to an unconditional exchange or within the cooling off period, where applicable. What is the contract process in QLD? The same requirements apply, but the conditions surrounding each requirement is different. In QLD Contracts can be (if required) conditional upon a buyer obtaining finance to complete and/ or the buyer obtaining any property inspection reports. These conditions are additional to a cooling off period and normally vary between 7 to 21 days dependent on what both parties agree.

Victoria (VIC)

What documents are required to sell a property in Victoria? When selling in NSW, Contracts need to include a list of prescribed and mandatory certificates, without this Contracts are not valid and cannot be exchanged. The concept is very similar in VIC; however, the documents are provided by way of statement, known as a Vendor Statement; it is legally required and is mandatory with every Contract of Sale prepared.

Can a deposit be released early after an unconditional exchange of contract? Another key point for VIC when selling or purchasing, is that the Contract on most occasions will automatically allow an early release of deposit once Contracts are unconditional. The release of deposit is subject to specific conditions, however if a buyer is not aware of this the condition, they may be caught off guard and unaware of any risks the release of deposit may cause to them and the transaction.

South Australia (SA)

Conveyancing in South Australia is very similar to QLD and VIC. Contracts in South Australia can be conditional upon finance and property inspection reports if required. Just like VIC and NSW, the Contract has a legal requirement to include specific documents and warranties. In SA this is known as the Form 1; this is prepared and provided by the seller to the buyer. Without the Form 1, Contracts cannot be exchanged unconditionally.

How long is the cooling-off period when buying a house in South Australia? Upon the Form 1 being provided, a buyer is entitled to a 2-business day cooling off period.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

Can you own land in ACT? In NSW and other States mentioned above, when entering a Contract, a buyer is entering a Contract to purchase the land and any dwellings constructed on the land; in the ACT however, this is not the case. When you enter a Contract in the ACT, you are not entering a Contract to Purchase the land, you are instead entering into a 99-year lease with the Crown being the Government. Therefore, at the end of a conveyancing transaction in the ACT a buyer will enter a lease registered on title and the title will remain registered to the Crown.

Tasmania (TAS)

What is the conveyancing process in Tasmania? Like most states in TAS, when a person is selling the agent prepares the Contract to market the property, whereas in NSW a solicitor or conveyancer will prepare a Contract and then send it to an agent to market the property. Purchase Contracts in TAS aren’t automatically conditional upon a buyer obtaining satisfactory finance or building inspection reports, unless these conditions are requested and negotiated between the parties.

Western Australia (WA)

In WA an agent can assist a person to prepare a Contract with the mandatory documents to allow the agent to market the property.

What happens to outstanding rates when buying a property? In WA on settlement of a property, the seller allows any outstanding amounts due for Council and Water rates payable to the buyer and the buyer is responsible to pay the rates after settlement to finalise registration of the property into their name.

Northern Territory (NT)

In NT a Contract of Sale can be prepared by either a Conveyancer, Solicitor, or an Agent; however, an agent cannot finalise a Contract and exchange it unless it is approved and finalised by a Solicitor or Conveyancer.

Are fixtures and fittings included in a property sale? In Northern Territory, the contract will provide for all fixtures and fittings, which normally include items that are screwed, bolted, joined, nailed, glued, or plumbed into a property. If any fixtures are not included in the Sale, there to be noted as exclusions in the sale. All private treaty sale Contract include a cooling off period of 4 business days.


Every State and Territory in Australia have consistencies as well as differences with the way they handle their residential conveyancing processes. As a buyer and seller, these variables can have a major impact on your rights, as well as the financial burden that you may incur; therefore, it is important to remember this when purchasing or selling property interstate.

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This blog is merely general and non specific information on the subject matter and is not and should not be considered or relied on as legal advice. Coutts is not responsible for any cost, expense, loss or liability whatsoever in relation to this blog, including all or any reliance on this blog or use or application of this blog by you.

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