Frequently Asked Questions

Conveyancing is the process of transferring the ownership of property from one person to another.

A Conveyancer is a licensed and qualified professional who can:

  • provide information and advice about the sale, or purchase, of property
  • prepare legal documentation for property transactions
  • represent either the seller or the buyer during the settlement process.

A Conveyancer will assist you to meet your legal obligations and protect your rights and interests.

Conveyancers are not legal practitioners, but conveyancing work can be undertaken by a solicitor.

Your Conveyancer will

  • Protect your interests
  • Be your advocate
  • Keep you informed
  • Ensure you can exercise your rights
  • Ensure you meet your responsibilities

You should see a Conveyancer as soon as possible when buying or selling property, don’t wait until legal documents are ready to be signed.

Never sign a contract without carefully reading it first. Do not sign it if there is something in the contract that you don’t understand or are unsure of.

Ask your Conveyancer to clarify information in your Contract or have them read the Contract BEFORE you sign it.

The earlier, the better.

You do not need to wait until you are ready to sign a contract, it makes sense to choose your Conveyancer as soon as you decide to buy or sell.

Yes, all Conveyancers who are Registered and Licensed are required to hold Professional Indemnity Insurance. This is to protect you, the consumer, in the unlikely event that something goes wrong.

Contact a Conveyancer as soon as possible to organise for a Contract of Sale and Form 1 to be prepared for signing by both yourself and the purchaser.

Your Conveyancer will guide you through the transaction from there.

Settlement is the finalisation of the sale and purchase process of a property.

It is the day of the land transfer.

This is completed on the electronic settlement platform PEXA, where both Conveyancers and Banks agree to a time for the documentation and funds to be exchanged and lodged.

Once completed, your Conveyancer will notify you via phone. You do not need to attend settlement.

Settlement is usually set between 30 and 90 days from the date of Contract signing, but this can be negotiated between the Seller and the Buyer. The agreed date is recorded in the Contract.

Once your Conveyancer has notified you and the Real Estate Agent that the settlement has been completed, you can collect your keys from the Agent.

An Easement is a ‘right over land’ granted to a third party – usually for underground pipes or wiring.

It is common for blocks of land in major land developments to contain an easement for stormwater or sewerage pipes.

Easements should be noted on the Form 1 and Certificate of Title.

Buyers should take SPECIFIC NOTE of where easements are located on a property as you cannot build a solid structure over an easement without the approval of the person to whom the easement is granted. If you do, and they want access to the easement, you must remove the structure AT YOUR COST.

An Encumbrance is a restriction over land.

It sets out the rules on what you can and cannot do with the land.

For example, you may not be allowed to erect a metal fence or a galvanised shed.

Make sure you read and understand any Encumbrance before you sign a Contract.

 In South Australia, if you buy a property (other than at auction) you have a cooling-off period when you can reconsider the purchase, conduct further inspections, or just change your mind if you feel you have made a hasty decision.

The Form 1 details your right to cool off and how you must go about serving a cooling-off notice.

The cooling-off period expires at the end of the second clear business day after the contract was made (if you received the Form 1 prior to making the contract), or the Form 1 was served on you (if you received the Form 1 after making the contract).

You cannot cool-off once settlement has occurred.

The cooling-off notice must be in writing and served on the vendor or the vendor’s agent.

Precise details of how the notice is to be served are set out in the Form 1. There is no special wording for the notice and no reason has to be given, however the notice has to be clear that the purchaser does not intend to be bound by the contract.

If a property is to be offered for sale by auction but you make a successful offer before the auction, a cooling-off period does apply unless you waive that right after obtaining independent legal advice.

You also have no right to cool-off if you buy after the auction but on the same day the auction was held.

You may have a limited right to cool-off if you buy by tender, or if the contract is made by the exercise of an option to purchase the property.

This is the Vendor’s (Seller) Statement that is a required statutory document and must be provided.

It discloses information so that the Purchaser is aware of any particulars of the land that could affect their purchase.

The Form 1 contains details relating to the property being sold and must also set out:

  1. the purchaser’s cooling-off rights
  2. all mortgages, charges and encumbrances affecting the land
  3. if the vendor acquired an interest in the land within 12 months before the contract of sale date
  4. matters prescribed by regulations

The Form 1 must be given to the purchaser no later than 10 clear days before the settlement date. It can be provided either before or after the signing of the Contract.

The Stamp Duty rate is charged depending on the purchase price.

You can get an idea of what you are likely to pay by using the stamp duty calculator on the Revenue SA website.

Land Services SA fees vary depending on the purchase price.

You can use their transfer fee calculator to figure out the stamp duty, lodgement and transaction fees associated with a property transfer.

The only Land Services SA fees applicable at settlement on the sale of a property are for any applicable mortgages, encumbrances or caveats required to be removed.

Land Tax is only applicable when the property is not your principal place of residence and is over a certain threshold.

If you would like to know how much tax you may pay, use the calculator on the Revenue SA website.

The first two people you should contact are a Surveyor and a Conveyancer.

The Surveyor will organise the plan and consents from Council, SA Water and the State Commission Assessment Panel.

The Conveyancer will organise the consent from the bank or other interested party registered on the Title and the Land Services SA office.

A Memorandum of Transfer is the document that transfers land (the Certificate of Title) from the Seller to the Buyer.

It is lodged with the Land Services SA office by your Solicitor or Conveyancer at Settlement.

A Certificate of Title is an official record of land ownership in South Australia.

It provides the details of the land, the Registered Proprietor, a description of the land and any limitations, easements and encumbrances.

The Certificate of Title is required to be handed over to the purchaser’s Conveyancer for settlement.

Property in South Australia falls into three categories

  1. Torrens Title
  2. Strata Title
  3. Community Title

If you are buying a home on its own block of land, it is likely to be a Torrens Title property.

If you buy a unit, flat, townhouse or apartment it may be a Strata or Community Title.

A solicitor or Conveyancer will be able to advise you on how the various types of title affect your ownership rights and responsibilities.

When inspecting a property, ask about the Title. The agent or owner should have copies of the Title and any other relevant documents which show restrictions or encumbrances on the land.

Under the Torrens Title system a Certificate of Title exists for every separate piece of land.

The Certificate contains a reference that consists of

  • a volume and folio number
  • ownership details
  • easements and/or rights of way affecting the land
  • any encumbrances including mortgages, leases and other interests in the land.

If you are buying a property in a unit development, the land may be divided by Strata Plan and referred to as Strata Title.

A Strata Plan under the Strata Titles Act divides land into units (of which there must be at least two) and common property.

Unless the Strata Plan indicates differently, the boundaries of the unit are defined by reference to the structures (i.e. walls, floors and ceilings) in a building, not by reference to the land. There must be an area of common property for which everyone is responsible.

A Strata Corporation is established to administer and maintain the common property for the benefit of all unit holders. All unit owners are automatically members of the Corporation.

There are two types of Community Title – a Community Scheme or a Community Strata Scheme.

A community title divides land into lots (of which there must be at least two) and common property.

Where the community scheme is not a strata scheme, the boundaries of the lots do not relate to a structure but are defined by surveyed land measurements and are unlimited in height and depth unless otherwise specified.

The owner of an individual lot is responsible for the maintenance and insurance of any structure on that lot and has no obligation for maintenance of other lot owners’ buildings.

In a Community Strata Scheme the lot boundaries are defined by reference to structures (usually parts of the building), similar to a Strata Title.

The structure itself is common property and it is therefore the responsibility of the corporation to maintain and insure it.

If you are buying a property with another person you must decide whether to hold the land as ‘Joint Tenants’ or ‘Tenants in Common’.

In a Joint Tenancy, each owner owns all of the property jointly and there is one Title containing the names of all owners. If one of them dies, the property automatically passes to the other(s).

In a ‘Tenants in Common’ situation, each party holds a set share of the whole property. Tenants in Common can sell their shares or leave them to someone in their will.

If you are considering these forms of ownership but are not sure about them, seek professional legal advice.

Stamp Duty is a government tax that is calculated on the value of the transaction at the date of the Contract of Sale. Some Stamp Duty exemptions or concessions may apply.

Contact Revenue SA on 8226 3750 for complete details or visit revenuesa.gov.au