Property Law & Conveyancing

Property law is something that most Australians will deal with at some stage of their lives – whether buying a first home, adding to an investment portfolio, selling, or leasing premises. Property typically involves some of the largest financial decisions we make, and is also at the heart of many family farming enterprises. The stakes are high, so it is important to be guided by trusted professionals. We have a wealth of experience in property law having managed numerous residential, commercial, and rural conveyancing transactions and complex land developments for a range of clients.

Buying Residential Property 

If you are buying property, getting legal advice helps you to understand contract terms and conditions, mortgages, covenants, easements, title and tenancies, etc., so you can make informed decisions.

We can review the contract and vendors statement (section 32 statement) and explain your rights and obligations, including your cooling-off rights. You should also consider arranging pre-purchase inspections – such as written reports about the condition of the dwellings on the property to help flag potential issues, which you may be able to use to negotiate the purchase price. 

If you proceed with your purchase you will need to pay a deposit, which is typically 10% of the purchase price, unless otherwise negotiated. The deposit is usually held in trust by the real estate agent and released to the seller after the matter is settled. If you do not have 10% cash deposit, we can advise about a deposit guarantee.

Once contracts are binding, there are numerous other steps that we will take to get ready to settle your purchase. We will guide you through this process and keep you informed at each stage so you can plan accordingly.

Selling Residential Property

Once you decide to sell your property, you will need a contract for sale of land and vendor’s statement. 

The contract will include the legal terms and conditions of sale, specify the items that are included or excluded from the sale, and include any other special requirements you might have like a longer or shorter settlement than usual, or that the contract be conditional upon another contract for you to buy your next property.

A vendor’s statement discloses information not readily found by inspecting the property, for example, details of mortgages and other charges, rates, covenants, restrictions, easements, and zoning information. This information helps the buyer make an informed decision as to whether they want to proceed with the purchase of your property and is an essential part of the conveyancing process. Failing to disclose certain matters can have serious implications.

We can prepare your contract and vendor’s statement, explain your disclosure obligations as a vendor, assist with any negotiations, and ensure your sale is completed as smoothly as possible.

Settling your Conveyancing Transaction Electronically

These days, most conveyancing transactions in Victoria are conducted online through a system called PEXA. This allows a secure and timely transfer of ownership without the risk of a paper title, which can be lost or destroyed. Electronic conveyancing enables each party’s representative to transact online and improves transparency and efficiency. In addition to streamlining previous manual processes, it facilitates the online lodgement of documents, and faster access to sales funds. We are PEXA certified and fully conversant with the e-conveyancing process.

Buying or Selling Rural Property

Buying and selling rural property generally requires additional considerations to a residential transaction. If the sale incorporates a farming enterprise, the business aspects of the transaction must also be considered including the appropriate treatment of Goods and Services Tax, as applicable.

In addition to buildings and fixtures, the contract may include livestock, crops, plant, and equipment. Land and/or stock should be checked for affectations by chemical residue, contamination, noxious weeds, infestations, livestock disease or feral animals. Buyers will need to investigate the existence of water-use licences and rural easements and rights of way.

Buyers should confirm the permitted use of the land and the types of agricultural activities allowed not only on the subject property, but on neighbouring land, which could impact the use and enjoyment of the property being purchased. 

Property Development

Property development is typically profit-driven and involves the process of transforming and improving land and/or buildings. Property development is governed by a matrix of legislation, regulations, planning schemes and policies administered by local councils and other government bodies. 

Over the years, planning and development laws have evolved and become more complex, taking into consideration a range of environmental issues and the need to balance public, social and cultural needs, and resources. 

Developers need an understanding of the marketplace, financing options, design and construction, and the legal and regulatory environment in which they operate. They must also be able to manage risks and navigate unexpected challenges that may arise during the development process. Collaborating with an experienced property lawyer and other professionals when embarking on a property development is invaluable for checking off due diligence and creating the best structures to help achieve your goals.

If you need assistance, contact one of our lawyers at [email protected] or call 03 5728 1866 for expert legal advice.