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Who manages the legal side of buying and selling property

Who manages the legal side of buying and selling property

Posted 06 April 2024

About property settlement

The Essential Guide to Property Settlement When Buying a House in Victoria, Australia

Purchasing a home is a significant milestone, and understanding the property settlement process in Victoria, Australia, is crucial for a smooth transition. The settlement is not just a formal step but a pivotal moment when ownership officially transfers from the seller to the buyer. This guide aims to demystify the process, highlight key responsibilities, and provide additional insights to ensure you're well-informed.

Setting the Settlement Date

When you sign the contract of sale, one critical detail to note is the settlement date. This date, typically set between 30 and 90 days post-contract signing, is when the buyer and seller fulfill their contractual obligations.

Key Settlement Activities

On the settlement day, the buyer is expected to:

  • Pay the balance of the purchase price.
  • Receive the property title, becoming the registered owner.
  • Take possession of the property, unless previously arranged.
  • This process involves legal and financial representatives who ensure everything proceeds as per the legal requirements.

Financial Adjustments

At settlement, it's important to address all financial dues. The seller is responsible for property rates and charges up to the day of settlement, while the buyer assumes responsibility the following day. This clear delineation ensures no disputes post-settlement.

Insurance Considerations

While the seller's insurance may cover the property until settlement, it is recommended for buyers to secure building and contents insurance from the contract signing date. This step protects the buyer's and lender's interests in the property.

Pre-Settlement Inspection

Buyers have the right to inspect the property during the week before settlement. This ensures the property's condition aligns with the contract of sale's stipulations, maintaining the agreed-upon standards.

Taking Possession

Post-settlement, the buyer can collect the keys and officially take possession of their new home, marking the beginning of a new chapter.

Land Transfer Duty

The buyer must pay land transfer duty (previously known as stamp duty), calculated as a percentage of the purchase price or the property's market value, whichever is higher. This duty is pivotal for the legal transfer of the property and must be paid within 30 days post-settlement.

Types of Land Ownership

If the property is being purchased by multiple individuals, the land transfer document will specify the nature of ownership - either jointly held or as tenants in common. This distinction is crucial for understanding the rights and responsibilities of each party.


Understanding these elements of property settlement in Victoria can significantly demystify the process, ensuring buyers and sellers are well-prepared for this final step in the property transaction. For more detailed information, the State Revenue Office website is a valuable resource.

By grasping these essentials, buyers can ensure a smooth transition into their new home, laying the groundwork for a stable and secure future in their new residence. 

Last updated: 19/04/2016

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