This page will outline the conveyancing process for those who are in the process of buying property or making preparations to buy property in the future.

The first steps that a purchaser should take are:

  • Deciding on a solicitor or conveyancer to hire.
  • Requesting a copy of the Contract of Sale for prospective properties.
  • Obtaining pre-approval finance.

front page of the 2017 contract for sale and purchase of land

A property must have a Contract of Sale prepared before it can be advertised. This means you can obtain a copy for your conveyancer or solicitor to review prior to attending any auctions or open homes. This is advantageous because:

  • You can buy on your terms -  Occasionally, a selling party may include a clause in the contract, that works in their favour, such as an extended settlement period. A conveyancer or solicitor is able to negotiate these clauses and possibly have them altered or removed. Ideally, the contract will be standard and mutually beneficial.
  • You can learn more about the property - The contract will include information such as inclusions (i.e. stove and light fittings), exclusions, town planning (i.e proposed constructions that could block your view), zoning, property certificates, cooling off periods, et cetera. This information is vital and may affect your original evaluation.

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The below diagram represents the typical stages a buyer will go through when acquiring a property.



Pest and Building Inspections

You are not legally required to acquire pest and building inspections before purchasing a property, however, they are very important. The reports are relevant for knowledge of the property, identifying risks, future maintenance and can also play a role in negotiations.

When buying at private treaty - The purchaser should organise pest and building inspections during the cooling off period after contracts have exchanged.

It should be noted, during a private treaty sale, a vendor can verbally accept an offer, then allow the person to organise (and pay for) pest and building inspections, and then decide to sell the property to another buyer. This is known as gazumping, and the person will forfeit the costs of the inspections and miss out on the property. You can contact us to learn more about avoiding gazumping.

When buying at auction - The purchaser should organise pest and building inspections prior to attending the auction. The purchaser or their conveyancer is able to organise these inspections with the selling party before the auction, giving the buyer time to consider the findings.

Occasionally, a seller may organise pest and building inspections of their own property. When these are performed by a reputable company, it can improve the peace of mind for buyers and potentially increase the interest in a property. In addition to this, buyers can also obtain their own inspections, for total confidence.

Please note, Hunter Legal & Conveyancing is able to organise fully licensed and qualified professionals on your behalf.

NSW Taxation & Other Costs

Stamp Duty - When purchasing a property, the NSW Office of State Revenue will impose a levy, which scales with the purchase price. For example, for a owner-occupied property that costs $530,000, the stamp duty would be $19,340. In NSW, first home buyers are often eligible for a concession to this levy, visit our first home buyers page to learn more.

There are many variations to be considered when calculating stamp duty. Contact Revenue NSW or ask your conveyancer to calculate this for you.

How you pay for everything 

The majority of the time, when a person is obtaining loan approval for a property, the bank will also allocate money towards the upcoming legal and associated costs. The conveyancer will use these additional funds to pay for the legal costs on their client’s behalf.

As an example, buyers don’t need to directly liaise to Revenue NSW when paying stamp duty. The conveyancer simplifies the process by performing these tasks for their client, and then lists these costs as disbursement fees on their invoice.


If you decide to call HLC, and provide us with an overview of your buying situation, we can give you a quote and some guidance over the phone. We do this so;

  • You’re aware of the pricing up front and can save time
  • You can ask any preliminary questions
  • We can obtain the Contract of Sale and review it for free

We are able to guide you through the entire purchasing process. Everything is performed in compliance with the NSW Conveyancing Act. We will also take care of the following:

  • Helping you prepare to buy at auction or private sale
  • Educating you on the contract of sale, and how this affects you both in the short and long term
  • Organising pest and building inspections upon your instruction
  • Making enquiries about the property, such as council planning and conducting title searches
  • Liaising with all relevant stakeholders, such as mortgage brokers, vendors and councils


Can you negotiate the purchase price with the sales agent for me?

No. However, if you would like to negotiate a different purchase price and we’re instructed by you to forward this to the selling party’s legal representation, then we can perform this. In terms of directly negotiating with the sales agent on the purchase price, this is not something we can do.

Can the seller decide to not sell the property after contracts have exchanged?

No. After contracts are exchanged, the selling party is legally required to sell.

I’m actively searching the market, some homes are selling at auction, and some are selling at a private treaty, what can I do to prepare for either circumstance?

We would recommend you obtain a copy of the contract and forward it to us for review. We offer complimentary contract reviews.

As mentioned in our selling property page, a Contract of Sale must be prepared before a property can be advertised. So whether you’re attending an auction or a private sale, you can contact the seller and obtain a copy of the contract in either circumstance.

Auctions can be high pressure situations. So by having our conveyancers peruse the Contract of Sale prior to attending, you’ll be in a much better position to make a confident decision on the property.

Can you help me understand the differences in ongoing costs between properties? For example, two properties might have different land tax and strata fees and I'm trying to calculate each property from an investment point of view.

No. In more complex scenarios like this, we often recommend you engage a quantity surveyor, which we can organise on your behalf.  A quantity surveyor will be able to perform these calculations for you, so you can make a better financial decision.