After the exchange of contracts, a purchaser’s solicitor or conveyancer will:

  • Make the necessary enquiries to government departments and authorities;
  • Ask the vendor a series of contractually authorised questions known as ‘requisitions on title’; the questions are to test the strength of the title, attempting to reveal the particulars of the encumbrances held over the title, as well as general enquiries such as whether fixtures and fittings are included in a sale, or whether a registered builder performed improvements; standard sets of requisition questions are available from real estate agents;
  • Advise the purchaser about their stamp duty obligations;
  • Liaise with the purchaser’s lender to advise the purchaser in respect of the mortgage documents;
  • Advise the purchaser to take out building insurance to insure the property; while the vendor is responsible for the property until settlement, a prudent purchaser will take out insurance as soon as the contract is signed; this will not apply to a strata title unit, villa home or townhouse as the owners’ corporation must insure all buildings under strata title law. However, this insurance only covers the outside of the building and owners must have ‘gap’ insurance to insure items of a structural nature inside their property;
  • Arrange a suitable time and place for all parties to attend for settlement; the coordination of settlement can be very time consuming, particularly when there are a number of parties involved and agreed settlement appointments are cancelled or postponed;
  • In the case of a strata title property, ensure the vendor supplies the purchaser with an owners’ corporation certificate;
  • Advise the purchaser to carry out a final physical inspection of the property as close as possible to the appointed settlement day;
  • Carry out a final title search to ensure that it is clear of all encumbrances; and
  • Attend and carry out settlement to make sure that the purchaser receives a good legal title, free of any encumbrances.