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Frequently Asked Questions

Selling Your Home

What is a “Section 32 Statement”? (also known as a “Vendor’s Statement”)

Under the Sale of Land Act 1962, a disclosure document known as a “vendor’s statement” or “section 32 statement” must be given to a purchaser before a contract is signed.

The statement must contain certain information about the property being sold. For example, information regarding the location of easements, particulars of building approvals given in the last seven years, and details of rates and charges that affect the property are just a few of the things that must be disclosed in a section 32 statement.

You can instruct us on-line to begin preparing your section 32 statement NOW.


Why do we have to do a title search?

When you are buying a property, we need to ensure that the person with whom you have contracted as the vendor is in fact the registered proprietor of the property, or otherwise ascertain their ability to sell the property. A title search provides the basis for this information.

When you are selling a property, we need to check that you are properly registered as the proprietor to ensure that you will be able to complete the sale.

A title search will also provide other information, such as the existence and particulars of any covenant, registered easements, and other registered encumbrances.


What do I do with the keys?

If you have sold your property through an estate agent, you should provide the keys to the agent on the day of settlement, prior to the appointed settlement time.

If no agent is involved, the keys would normally be provided to Civic Conveyancing to be handed over at settlement.


What time is settlement?

Generally, settlement takes place at a time suitable to the purchaser, but this will also need to suit the seller, the seller’s conveyancer or solicitor, the seller’s bank and the purchaser’s bank.

While this may seem complicated to arrange, Civic Conveyancing will make these arrangements for you.

If you require settlement to take place on a specific time of day, you should let Civic Conveyancing know of the time, and we will be happy to try and meet your needs.


Who pays the rates?

The land and water rates and other relevant charges are usually adjusted at settlement to ensure that you are liable for rates only for the appropriate period that you have owned the property during the current rating period.


How do I pay the agent’s commission on my sale?

It is usual practice for the selling agent to deduct their commission from the deposit held by the agent once settlement takes place. When the deposit is released the agent also becomes entitled to the commission.


Do I have to attend settlement?

A purchaser or seller would not normally attend settlement. The conveyancer or solicitor for each party usually attends on behalf of the party to carry out the settlement.


Where does settlement take place?

The usual rule is that settlement follows the title. This means that settlement takes place where the vendor's title is located. This is usually at the vendor’s bank or other lender. In many cases, the lender requires settlement at their main office (usually in Melbourne). This sometimes means that you will need to provide the cheques required for a purchase settlement one or two days before settlement so that they can be forwarded to a settlement agent.

If the vendor does not have a mortgage, it is customary for settlement to take place at the office of the vendor’s conveyancer.


What happens if the Vendor has not moved out of the house by settlement time?

If a purchaser is entitled to vacant possession of the property at settlement, the seller will need to be out of the property prior to the appointed time, as the purchaser is entitled to the property as soon as settlement has taken place.

You should let Civic Conveyancing know of any difficulties that you might experience in complying with the settlement requirements, so that alternative arrangements can be made.


When do I get my cheque?

If the settlement of your sale is taking place locally, you will normally be able to collect the cheque for the proceeds of the sale on the day of settlement. To find out if this is the case, just call Civic Conveyancing a few days before settlement.

Where the settlement takes place elsewhere, for example in Melbourne, it may take one or two days for your cheque to be returned to Civic’s office. If you have a bank account, you can arrange for Civic Conveyancing to deposit the funds into your account at the time of settlement.


What is a covenant?

Covenants are often registered on titles and usually require the land to be used in a certain manner. For example, a covenant may require any dwelling to be built in brick or with brick veneer walls, or might prohibit more than one single dwelling on the property.


What is an easement?

Easements are areas of land on a property that are set aside for purposes such as drainage or sewerage mains. Generally these cannot be built over without the consent of the appropriate person or authority.


Purchasing Your Home

How much stamp duty will I pay?

You can calculate the stamp duty and other government charges by using the link to the State Revenue Office website or contact Civic Conveyancing.

If you are borrowing to assist with your purchase, your lender will usually deduct the stamp duty and other government charges from the amount you have borrowed, and will then attend to payment of these charges on your behalf after settlement.

If you are a first home buyer or you are a concession card holder, you might qualify for a stamp duty concession. You can see if you can qualify for a concession by  visiting the State Revenue Office website or contact Civic Conveyancing.


What are the certificates we order used for?

When you purchase a property, certificates are obtained from various statutory authorities, such as the local council, water authority, State Revenue Office and Vic Roads.

When you are selling a property, these certificates may need to be obtained for use and display at an auction.

The certificates serve several purposes. For example, a certificate from the local water authority may reveal the location of a sewer main if it transverses the property. Sometimes a sewer main is not laid within a registered easement, so this information is vital to a purchaser, especially when the purchaser proposes to carry out work such as a building or extension on the property.

Other certificates are used to ascertain the rates and charges on the property, to ensure that they are properly adjusted at settlement, and any arrears are dealt with to ensure that a purchaser does not become liable for the seller’s debts on the property.


Why do I have to insure the buildings before settlement?

When you sign a contract for the purchase of a property, you have what is known as an “insurable interest” in the property. Naturally, you will want to protect this interest.

While the seller of a property usually has certain obligations to provide the property to you as inspected (fair wear and tear excepted), there may be situations where you could be forced to accept a property that has been damaged where that damage may be able to be the subject of a claim under an insurance policy.

(For example, in some cases damage might occur that does not render a dwelling uninhabitable, and you may be forced to settle.)

You will not know whether the vendor keeps their policy current, or if the property has been insured at all, and some vendors might even cancel a policy when the property sells.

A lender often requires the borrower to arrange insurance cover, noting the lenders full name as “an interested party” or “as mortgagee”. Failure to provide a certificate from the insurer with the lender noted as an interested party can lead to a delay in settlement.

It is for these and other reasons that Civic Conveyancing recommends that you arrange building insurance as soon as a binding contract is signed.


When do I have to bring in my cheques for settlement?

When you buy a property, we will need to have any funds being provided by you ready for the settlement date and time. We would usually need to receive the cheques from you by 3:00pm the day before settlement.


Why do I have to provide Bank Cheques?

Under the contract, you are required to pay any money due either by cash, bank cheque or bank draft. The vendor may ask for up to three bank cheques to be provided at settlement. If the vendor requires more than three bank cheques at settlement then the Vendor must pay the bank cheque fees on the extra bank cheques.

Given the large amounts involved, cash is generally not suitable for a property settlement. You are therefore required in most cases to arrange a bank cheque for any funds that you are providing.

Personal cheques are not bank cheques, and cannot be used for settlement.


When should I do a final inspection?

The contract usually allows you to carry out a final inspection of the property within seven days prior to the settlement date.

A purchaser will normally contact the selling agent to arrange a final inspection of the property. If there is no agent, the purchaser will normally contact Civic Conveyancing to arrange access for the final inspection.


When can I move into the property?

A purchaser can usually move into the property as soon as the settlement has taken place.

Civic Conveyancing will call you as soon as settlement has taken place. The purchaser can then collect the keys from the selling agent.


What cheques do I need to bring for settlement?

Civic Conveyancing makes all settlement arrangements for your purchase.

We will normally ascertain from your lender the amount of funds that they are providing. We will then work out what, if any, funds will need to be provided by you. These are usually calculated two days before settlement.

The seller of the property usually provides details of the cheques required for settlement. We will be making arrangements with the seller’s conveyancer for those cheque details.


What is “Settlement”?

Settlement is the process where all the parties to a conveyancing transaction come together to complete the transaction.

The parties that usually attend a settlement are the purchaser’s conveyancer, the purchaser’s bank, the vendor’s conveyancer and the vendor’s bank.


Can I get the deposit before settlement?

After a property has been sold, it is sometimes possible to obtain a release of the deposit prior to settlement, provided that certain requirements under the Sale of Land Act are met.

When your property has sold, you need to tell Civic Conveyancing that you would like the deposit to be released. We will then send you the appropriate forms.


Who notifies the gas and electricity companies, council, etc of the sale?

Civic Conveyancing will send a notice to the local council and water authority notifying them of the change in ownership.

You should contact the gas, electricity and telephone service providers prior to settlement to arrange for the services to be read and finalised so that the seller receives a final account and new accounts issue to the purchaser.



What is "Cooling Off"?

A purchaser of residential property may be entitled to bring a contract to an end by written notice, without any specific reason being needed.

This is often called "the cooling-off period". It is available for three clear business days from the date the contract was signed by the purchaser.

There are certain situations where this cannot occur. For example, the purchaser cannot bring a contract to an end if:

  1. The property was purchased at an auction, or within three business days before or after the auction date;
  2. The property is not a residential property

The seller of a property does not have a right to cool-off after contracts are signed and exchanged.


What do I do if the finance for my purchase has not been approved?

Call Civic Conveyancing immediately!

It is usually the purchaser’s responsibility to advise if finance has not been approved by the approval date, or has been declined.

Therefore it is essential that you contact Civic Conveyancing by the approval date specified in your contract regardless of whether or not your finance has been approved.