Seek expert advice on property
A buyer’s advocate is a licensed estate agent who, for a fee, acts for a buyer instead of a seller. A buyer’s advocate cannot act for both a buyer and seller on the same property transaction.
They can source properties, bid at auction and generally represent you throughout the buying process.
Talk to several buyer’s advocates before you decide who to use. Ask about their services and fees. Read the agency authority carefully before you sign it to appoint a buyer’s advocate.
Make sure the buyer’s advocate is licensed or authorised to deal in property by checking the Victorian Business Licensing Authority’s public register of estate agents.
An agent’s responsibility is to the seller, but they are obliged to act responsibly and ethically when dealing with both buyers and sellers.
You can expect an estate agent to:
Transferring land ownership from the seller to the buyer is called conveyancing.
Usually, buyers and sellers each engage a legal practitioner or conveyancer to handle this process. There are differences in what legal practitioners and conveyancers are allowed to do on behalf of a client.
We recommend you:
If you do your own conveyancing, you will not have a legal practitioner’s or conveyancer’s professional indemnity insurance if something goes wrong.
There is a lot at stake, so you must be confident of your ability. If you are not, use a conveyancer or legal practitioner.
Do-it-yourself conveyancing kits are available by searching online and in bookshops. Consumer Affairs Victoria does not endorse any specific private suppliers.
A legal practitioner must hold a current practising certificate and have professional indemnity insurance. They can:
If you use a legal practitioner make sure they have a current practising certificate by checking the Legal Service Board of Victoria’s public register of legal practitioners.
Some legal practitioners specialise in conveyancing and property law.
A conveyancer is a person other than a legal practitioner, who can:
A conveyancer must hold a licence and have professional indemnity insurance.
You can engage a conveyancer to:
If you use a conveyancer, make sure they are licensed by checking the Victorian Business Licensing Authority’s public register of conveyancers.
If your legal practitioner or conveyancer misuses a deposit held in trust on your behalf, you can seek compensation from a statutory compensation fund. The relevant funds are:
Before a property is sold, the seller is required to provide the buyer with a Section 32 statement.
This document is called a Section 32 statement because the information the seller must provide is outlined in section 32 of the Sale of Land Act 1962.
The Section 32 statement is:
It is a legal document and must be factually accurate and complete. If it contains incorrect or insufficient information, a buyer may be able to withdraw from the sale or take legal action.
You should have the statement checked by your own legal practitioner or conveyancer before you buy.
The Section 32 statement contains information about the property’s title, including:
It does not include any information about:
It is your responsibility to get any information that does not legally have to be included in the Section 32 statement.
A prospective buyer makes an offer to buy a property by signing a contract of sale. The offer is accepted when the seller signs the contract. A property is sold when both buyer and seller have signed the contract of sale.
The contract of sale contains:
The contract must clearly specify whether the sale price includes or excludes the goods and services tax (GST) and, if it is included, how the amount will be calculated.
Generally, the GST only applies to the purchase of new homes. It does not apply to established homes unless the seller is registered for GST.
You can check a seller’s GST status on the Australian Business Register.
Last updated: 07/07/2015