Things to do before you sign

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.

The estate agent will usually discuss any prospective offers you make to purchase the property with the vendor and, when there is agreement for the terms of a sale, the agent will then prepare a contract. This contract will contain all of the relevant information relating to the sale.

The staff at Civic Conveyancing are happy to discuss the contract and section 32 statement contents with you before you sign the contract. You can also instruct us on-line to represent you in your purchase.

There are many other things that should be done or considered before a contract is signed, such as:

  • Measuring the property (the dimensions and location);
  • Determining the availablity of services;
  • Examining the property for illegal structures;
  • Considering whether you require the contract to be conditional upon you obtaining building and/or pest inspection reports and, if so, ensuring appropriate conditions are included in the contract.
  • Ensuring the contract is conditional upon loan approval if necessary;
  • Ensuring that you obtain advice from Civic Conveyancing if assistance is required in the drafting of any special conditions to be included in the contract.
Things to do after you sign

After all parties sign the contract, it will be forwarded to Civic Conveyancing, at which time we can proceed with arranging to transfer the property to you.

Civic Conveyancing will prepare the transfer documents.

Once you have signed the contract, you should take out insurance coverage for any buildings on the property.

If the deposit is due to be paid, you should do so, whether or not your finance has been approved.

Finance and Your Lender

If your contract is conditional upon the approval of finance, you must ensure that you make immediate application for your loan and do anything reasonably asked of you by your lender to secure approval.

It is the purchaser’s responsibility to advise the vendor if finance has not been approved by the approval date.

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

If you do not advise the vendor that finance has not been approved, the usual finance clause will allow the contract to become unconditional. It is critical that you ensure that Civic Conveyancing is made aware of any delay or problem with finance approval.


When you sign the 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 lender’s 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.

Meanwhile – What is Civic doing?

If you are obtaining mortgage finance on the property, Civic Conveyancing will make contact with your lender and will provide details required by them so that they can prepare the mortgage documents.

Some lenders (including most major banks) will arrange for you to sign mortgage documents at the branch. Other lenders send the mortgage documents to your mortgage broker to arrange for you to sign.

Civic Conveyancing will order a title search and certificates from various statutory authorities. If any of these reveal a matter that conflicts with the information provided by the seller, or otherwise contains information that you should be made aware of, Civic Conveyancing will discuss this with you.

Preliminary Settlement Arrangements

Shortly before settlement, Civic Conveyancing will prepare a statement of adjustments and settlement statement, which will be sent to you and to the vendor’s conveyancer.

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.

Civic Conveyancing will contact your lender and determine what funds the lender is providing. If the lender does not have all necessary funds, we will calculate the amount required from you, and let you know the details.

You should carry out a final inspection during the week leading up to settlement.


Settlement is the process where all 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. This attendance takes place in a secure electronic settlement workspace.

Generally, settlement takes place at a time suitable to the purchaser, but this will also need to suit the seller, the seller’s conveyancer, 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 the property by a specific time of day, you should let Civic Conveyancing know, and we will be happy to try and meet your needs.

Any funds being provided by you (not by your lender) must be transferred by you to the electronic settlement workspace 3 business days before settlement.

After Settlement

Civic Conveyancing will contact you to confirm that your purchase has been completed, and then contact the agent so that the keys can be released to you.

Civic Conveyancing will notify the local council and the water authority of the change in ownership.

The transfer documents are stamped and registered as part of the electronic settlement process. If you borrowed funds against the property, your lender will control the Title until you have repaid your loan. If you purchased for cash, Civic Conveyancing will control your Title on your behalf until you instruct us otherwise.

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