Johnston Withers

When do I engage a Conveyancer?

Published on Monday 14 December, 2020 by Fiona Woolfitt

First home buyers
Buying or selling

So you’ve started shopping around with your local Agent to buy your first property – how exciting! Here’s a brief run-down of things to consider and what steps to expect once you’ve found a place to call home and you’re ready to make an offer.

A family of three being shown around an open house with a real estate agent. The mother is holding her child while her and her husband are looking very happy at the house.


The Agent will provide you with an offer form and the information you provide will enable them to prepare a contract. The contract sets out your negotiations with the Vendor. Are there any special conditions you want to include, such as:

  • subject to obtaining finance from your bank; or
  • subject to building and pest inspection; or
  • subject to the sale of another property; or
  • are you an Executor selling by way of probate?

Make sure your special conditions are specific with no ‘grey areas’ and give yourself sufficient time to carry-out the special conditions. Always keep the Agent informed of your progress so that you can negotiate an extension should the due dates for your special conditions expire. If you’re borrowing money for this purchase, be mindful when negotiating a settlement date as your conveyancer will require time to liaise with your nominated lender (the Vendor’s conveyancer will also need time to arrange the discharge of the Vendor’s mortgage). This can take more time than you would initially think so please consider these time requirements during your negotiations. As the Purchaser, you will need to sign the contract first and the Vendor will subsequently accept your offer.

Form-1 Statement

The Form-1 statement under Section 7 discloses specific details pertaining to the property, such as planning restrictions or covenants. It also sets out your cooling-off rights. You must pay close attention to this document and ensure you carry out your due diligence. If there is something you don’t understand, make sure you ask! Once the Agent has provided you with a fully executed contract and “served” you with the Form-1 statement, your cooling-off period commences. The Form-1 statement can be served personally or by e-mail. Make sure you clarify you preference with the Agent. The cooling-off period is 2 clear business days. The deposit you nominated in the contract is payable to the Agent the following day.

At the time of receiving your Form-1, you need to be investigating insurance cover for your new home. You should have a policy in place prior to the expiration of your cooling-off period. If you’re borrowing money for this purchase, the bank will want to sight your certificate of insurance

Once you’re through your cooling-off period and your special conditions in the contract are coming together, the Agent will ask for your conveyancer’s details. Now the negotiations are complete and the transfer begins.

Verification of your identity

Finally, when signing transfer documentation, we need to ‘verify your identity’ in accordance with legislation set down by our Registrar General. The process is a little different to the 100-point check the banks undertake as there are only certain ID documents you can use:

  1. Australian Passport & Driver’s Licence; or
  2. Driver’s Licence, Birth/Citizenship Certificate, Medicare Card, Marriage (or any other change of name) Certificate.

Please note if you’re using the Birth Certificate and Marriage Certificate option, these documents must be full certificates, from the office of Births Deaths & Marriages, which are stamped with the Government stamp. We cannot accept birth extracts and we prefer not to use the marriage certificate from the day.

Johnston Withers Lawyers and Conveyancers – We’re here to help!

Johnston Withers Lawyers and Conveyancers understand how overwhelming buying your first home can be. If you’d like advice from one of our helpful conveyancers, please contact Fiona Woolfitt or Carolyn Graves on (08) 8231 1110 or get in touch online.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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Fiona Woolfitt - Johnston Withers Lawyers


Fiona Woolfitt

Registered conveyancer

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