Selling Your Property

Any transaction with property must be handled carefully and competently - it is often the largest asset an individual will ever have!

Our principal focus in acting on your sale is to:

  • Ensure that you properly represent to a purchaser what it is that you are selling
  • Properly inform you as to the impact of taxes and duties, where they apply
  • Achieve a quick exchange of contracts so as to "clinch the deal"
  • Keep you informed of the progress of your sale
  • Liaise with your financier to pay out the mortgage
  • Ensure you receive the money that you expect from the deal
  • Complete the sale efficiently and in a timely manner


Every purchaser under a Contract for Sale of Land relating to residential property may end the Contract if notice is given to the vendor or his or her solicitor within 5 business days of the date of the Contract. If the purchaser does elect to withdraw from the Contract within the 5 day period, then they forfeit 0.25% of the Contract price to the vendor as "compensation" for the vendor.

This "cooling off period" can be avoided by:

  • requiring a certificate from the purchaser in a required form before the Contract is exchanged; or
  • selling by auction, provided the Contract is dated the same day as the auction.

Land tax is charged on land owned by you as at midnight on 31 December each year. There is no land tax payable on your principal place of residence as at that time. However, land tax is payable on your principal place if the land value exceeds the premium threshold value (which at 31 December, 2011 is $2,421,000.00).

For further information in respect of Land Tax please contact us or click here to visit the Office of State Revenue's Land Tax page. 

In the case of a house or vacant land, "Land value" is the value of the land, ignoring the value of the house. In the case of a unit, "Land value" is the value of the land upon which the building has been erected. That value is then apportioned among the units in the Strata Scheme using the unit entitlement. In all cases, the land value is not the purchase price of the property. 

Once you have decided to sell your property you should contact us so we can prepare a Contract for the sale of your property. Your real estate agent will be unable to market the property without holding a Contract. Although this rule generally only applies to residential property, the trend is that a draft Contract be prepared for commercial property sales, too. 

If you have undertaken any building works to the property over the value of $5,000.00 between 1 May 1997 to 1 April 2002 or over $12,000.00 since 2 April 2002 then you are required to attach to the Contract a certificate of insurance covering this work. Normally, this insurance will have been effected by the builder, or, if you undertook the work as an owner/builder, a certificate of insurance must be arranged by you. If a certificate of insurance is not attached to the Contract when it ought to be, the purchaser will have a right to rescind (end) the Contract at any time before completion.

Similarly, any breaches of the Local Government Act in respect of any building or structure on your property must also be disclosed to the purchaser. Examples of breaches of the Local Government Act and Regulations are unauthorised building works (such as pergolas, verandahs, outbuildings, or extensions which have not received formal Council approval) stormwater downpipes not connected to the drainage system, an unauthorised "granny flat" or a kitchenette.

If a breach is not disclosed, then the purchaser may claim compensation from you to fix up the breach. Also, a purchaser may rescind (or end) a Contract if the purchaser discovers that there are any matters in relation to a building or structure that could justify the making of any upgrading or demolition order by the Local Council. 

Preferably, an up to date survey should be attached to the Contract so that any encroachments are disclosed to the purchaser and the purchaser is then stopped from making a claim for compensation because of any encroachment. However, it is not currently a requirement to attach a Survey to the Contract.

If you are selling your property by way of auction, we highly recommend that an accurate, up-to-date survey be available and included in the Contract. Most purchasers, and more particularly, their solicitors, are wary of bidding at an auction unless there is a current survey. The reason for this is that if there is no survey, the purchaser cannot be sure that what they are bidding for properly sits within the boundaries of the land yet, if they are the successful bidder, they will be bound to go ahead with the Contract.

In certain situations, GST may be payable in relation to the sale of your property. For instance, if you are in the business of buying, substantially renovating (or demolishing and rebuilding) and then selling property, or if the property is used for non-residential purposes, and you are registered for GST, then you may need to allow for GST in the sale price.

Property purchased after 19 September 1985 will in most circumstances attract Capital Gains Tax upon the sale, unless the property is your principal place of residence. The tax is levied on the gain in value of the property after deduction of the cost base. The "cost base" is the actual cost of a capital nature incurred by you; that is, the price which you paid, the stamp duty paid and other disbursements (e.g. enquiries of public authorities, title search and so on) paid on the purchase and the legal costs. Also, if you have made any alteration or addition to the property of a capital nature, then the cost of that alterations or additions is included in the "cost base" of the property.  

Once the Contracts for your sale exchange we will write to your mortgagee requesting that they prepare the discharge of mortgage documents. We also ask that you contact your mortgagee directly to confirm whether they require you to sign a discharge authority. In the weeks prior to completion we will receive your mortgagee’s advice as to the balance outstanding on the mortgage; we will then arrange for this amount to be drawn on settlement for your mortgagee in payment of the final amount due to them to pay out the mortgage in full.