Devenish Lawyers offers a wide range of conveyancing and property law services to make the process as smooth as possible. Our goal is to ensure your legal rights are protected, and that your property is bought or sold without stress. With extensive experience in conveyancing, you can be confident we have the expert knowledge you need.

We offer the following conveyancing and property law services:

  • Sale and purchase of property anywhere in Victoria;
  • Preparation of Section 32 Statement and Contract of Sale for the sale of property through to settlement;
  • Conducting settlements electronically on PEXA (Property Exchange Australia);
  • Reviewing contracts before purchase through to settlement;
  • Off-the-Plan sale and purchase;
  • Property subdivision/consolidation;
  • Retirement Village sale and purchase and advice;
  • Loan and mortgage advice and preparation;
  • Lodging Caveats/Withdrawal of Caveats;
  • Adverse possession claims;
  • Stamp duty advice;
  • Commercial and Retail Lease advice and preparation;
  • Lost title applications;
  • Transfers pursuant to deceased estates;
  • Transfer between spouses;
  • Transfer due to breakdown of marriage/relationship.

Purchasing Property in Victoria

Property defects

We recommend that a building and pest inspection be conducted by an independent professional inspection company prior to the purchase becoming unconditional by way of including a Special Condition in the Contract of Sale. These inspections will verify the severity of defects (if any) and may even reveal unreported problems.  Depending on how the Contract of Sale is worded, the Contract can be rescinded if the building/pest inspection report shows major structural defects.  Alternatively, the Contract can be worded so that if the building/pest inspection report is not to the satisfaction of the purchaser (costly repairs needed), the purchaser can choose to rescind the Contract or alternatively the purchaser may wish to proceed with the purchase but renegotiate a lesser price.

Making an offer on a property

It is very important to have a complete understanding of the Contract prior to making an offer. Once the offer is communicated and the vendor accepts the offer, the Contract is made and it is very difficult (if not impossible) to get out of the purchase by rescinding the Contract without penalty unless Special Conditions are included.

It is very important that you have the correct wording on Special Conditions relating to your offer prior to making the offer. It is highly recommended that you seek your Conveyancing Lawyer’s assistance in the drafting of your offer and the conditions of purchase.

Your offer to purchase the property can be subject to certain conditions. The most common conditions are:

  • Subject to finance approval
  • Subject to satisfactory building and pest inspection reports

The Contract of Sale

Once all Special Conditions are satisfactorily completed, and your finance has been formally approved in writing, you are bound by the terms of the Contract and must continue to settlement.

If you have not already done so, you will now need to contact a Conveyancing Lawyer to assist you with the paperwork and settlement. Your Conveyancing Lawyer will prepare all the paperwork for you and ensure the property’s Title is transferred to you. You will need to provide contact details of your lender, and provide full contact details of Devenish Lawyers to the selling agent so that they can provide us with a copy of the signed Section 32 Statement and Contract of Sale.  You will also need to provide our office with 100 points of identification and your date of birth, together with signing a Client Authorisation form so we may sign certain documents on your behalf.

Your Conveyancing Lawyer will liaise with the vendor’s lawyer and your lender to arrange settlement.  We will communicate with you throughout the settlement process.

After settlement your Lawyer will telephone you to communicate the successful settlement, and that the keys can be collected from the real estate agent’s office (unless other arrangements are made).

Selling a property in Victoria

To sell a property, your real estate agent will require a Section 32 Statement and in some cases, a Contract of Sale prepared by Devenish Lawyers, or if an auction sale then they will also require Auction Contracts of Sale prepared by Devenish Lawyers.

Preparing your Section 32 Statement

The Section 32 Statement provides prospective purchasers with information about the property. The Sale of Land Act sets out what information must be provided, and any relevant warnings that must be given to potential buyers. For example, the statement must include notification of any rates or outgoings affecting the property such as council rates, water rates, land tax and Owners Corporation fees, whether any building approvals have been granted in the past 7 years and if so, provide that information, and whether the vendor has received any notices affecting the property (eg. any neighbours intending on building townhouses which a potential purchaser is entitled to know).

Your Conveyancing Lawyer will prepare the Section 32 Statement on your behalf.  Ideally the Statement should be prepared prior to advertising the property as your agent will be unable to sell your property without it. You should review the Statement very carefully after it has been prepared by your Conveyancing Lawyer.  False, incorrect or misleading information in the Statement causing it to be defective can result in the purchaser having the right to terminate the Contract.

At the time of instructing your Conveyancing Lawyer, you will need to instruct as to the method of sale (by way of auction or private sale) as we will also need to prepare Auction Contracts of Sale if the chosen method of sale is an auction.

Alternatively, you may wish to sell the property without using a real estate agent and we can prepare Contracts of Sale on your behalf.

Locating your Certificate of Title

Most likely your Certificate of Title shall be held by your bank (if you obtained a mortgage and regardless of whether the loan has been paid out or not), the lawyer who acted on your behalf when you purchased the property or by yourself.

If you are unable to locate your original Certificate of Title, you will need to inform your Conveyancing Lawyer immediately to make arrangements to have the Title replaced.  Of course we would conduct thorough searches first before taking this course of action to ensure that the original Title cannot be located.  To replace a lost Title is time consuming and expensive.  If you do not give your Conveyancing Lawyer sufficient time to replace the lost Title, settlement of the sale may be delayed therefore the original Certificate of Title to your property is a very important document and should be kept with your lawyer in one of their deed safes. Devenish Lawyers do not charge for holding documents in our deed safes.

Settling the property

We settle as many conveyancing matters as possible electronically on Property Exchange Australia (PEXA).  PEXA settlements will become compulsory in the near future.  The advantages of settling on PEXA are:

  • Vendors are paid their sale funds quickly into their specified bank account;
  • Home loans are paid out immediately;
  • Purchasers are registered on Title within approximately 30 minutes of settlement taking place;
  • All outstanding rates are paid directly to the authorities on the day of settlement;
  • Solicitors, conveyancers and banks can communicate easily and efficiently;
  • Land Victoria documents (eg. Caveats, Survivorship Applications) can be lodged and registered quickly.

Other important issues to consider

If you are buying and selling a property at the same time, it is possible to coordinate the settlements to coincide. This process is much simpler if the same Conveyancing Lawyer is managing both transactions. In some cases it may not be possible to coordinate settlement at the same time, as the vendor who you are purchasing from or the buyer who you are selling to, may not be able to accommodate your time or location of settlement (if a paper settlement).  However, often a short time frame between the two settlements can be arranged which should not unduly inconvenience you.

In some cases the buyer may wish to move into the property before settlement under a Licence Agreement. Obviously, if you are still living in the property, this is not feasible. However, if the property is vacant, you may wish to let the buyer take possession before settlement although we do not recommend this except in certain circumstances.

A Licence Agreement must be prepared detailing the arrangement, which needs to be signed both by yourself and the purchaser.  Pursuant to a Licence Agreement, the purchaser is accepting the property “as is” and they must arrange their own building and contents insurance from the date of possession.  Your Conveyancing Lawyer will be able to prepare the Licence Agreement and the purchaser is responsible for payment of the legal costs for preparation of the Agreement.


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