Guide To Selling Your Property


Perhaps you’ve decided that it’s time to upgrade, downsize or even make a complete sea change from your current residence.

If you own your own home, being informed and prepared with what you need to do is extremely important to ensure a smooth and successful sale outcome.

So what are the keys steps you need to factor in when selling your property?

Let’s look at that now.

Step 1: Prepare A Contract With A Conveyancing Solicitor or Lawyer

Before you do anything, you’re going to need a contract. Properties cannot sell unless a contract has been prepared prior, it’s illegal.

A contract for the sale of land can be prepared by a conveyancing lawyer or a property lawyer like TY Lawyers in Chatswood, and it details the ownership, title details and the conditions of the sale along with what is included in the sale. Buyer details and sale price are left blank at this early stage.

Other documents also need to be attached to the contract, called ‘Prescribed Documents’, which include:

  • A zoning certificate (s.10.7) from council
  • A sewer diagram showing the location of the authority’s sewer main 
  • A full title search obtained from the Land Titles Office
  • Where a building is situated on the land – a statement that the building has smoke alarms installed in compliance with the laws relating to smoke alarms (from 1 November 2006)

If these documents are not included with the contract, a prospective buyer has 14 days in which they can pull out of the contract with no penalty.

There are also certain warranties that the seller must give as prescribed in law, which are called ‘Prescribed Warranties’. Prescribed Warranties are a guarantee that: 

  • the land is not subject to any adverse affectation, and
  • the land does not contain any part of a sewer main, and
  • the zoning certificate attached to the contract specifies the true status of the land, and
  • there is no matter in relation to any building that would justify on upgrading or demolition order, unless specified otherwise in the contract.

As at the date of the contract.

If any building works has been conducted in the past 6 years you will also need to let your property lawyer or conveyancing solicitor know.

Reading about all this preparation can be overwhelming, but again this is why it’s important to engage an experienced conveyancing solicitor or property lawyer.

Step 2: Hire A Real Estate Agent

Selling a property yourself without an agent can be time consuming and challenging. You want to ensure you cross all your t’s and dot your i’s to ensure the sale has been completed accurately and legally.

For these reasons, most people engage a real estate agent to manage the marketing and sale of their property. Once you’ve chosen an agent, an agency agreement must be prepared and signed prior to the property being marketed.

It’s important to note there are several types of agency agreements – most are exclusive agreements giving one real estate agent the rights to sell your property, whilst other agreements could mean multiple agents could potentially sell your property. Agreements generally last a specified amount of time.

Discuss which agreement is best for you with your property or conveyancing solicitor.

Step 3: Exchange Of Contracts

So your property has been marketed successfully and you’ve agreed on a price with a buyer. At this stage the contract is signed by all parties, meaning everyone agrees on the price and the conditions of the sale, as outlined in the contract.

A deposit is paid by the buyer and the contracts are then exchanged. Exchange of contracts simply means that each party ends up holding the copy signed by the other party – the seller has a copy of the contract signed by the buyer and vice versa.

The real estate agent or your property lawyer or conveyancing solicitor can organise the exchange of contracts on your behalf, taking into account any cooling off periods that may apply. 

Step 4: Discharge Of Mortgage 

If applicable, at settlement of the property, the mortgage will need to be discharged. Your conveyancing solicitor or property lawyer will assist with preparing the discharge of mortgage in readiness for settlement. You need to give authority to your conveyancer to communicate with your lender to avoid slowing the process down. 

Step 5: Sold Property with Vacant Possession but Tenant is in Possession - What Happens 

Something to consider is if the property you are selling has a tenant at the time of settlement. A tenant doesn’t have to move out of your property until the term of the lease has expired and a notice to vacate has been served. 

If your property is tenanted, you should try and make sure that the term of the lease has or will expire before settlement. 

You must also give 30 days’ notice to vacate to the tenant, and the settlement date is normally 42 days after exchange of contracts. Keep this in mind when selling your property if it is tenanted. 

Step 6: Settlement 

If your property is sold with vacant possession, you will need to ensure to vacate prior to or by the time of settlement. It should be left in a clean and tidy condition, and all possessions moved out. 

After settlement has been completed, your conveyancing solicitor or property lawyer will account to you the proceeds of sale that are to be paid to you after any adjustments and any loan repaid. 

Quite often sale proceeds are not available until the next working day. Also keep in mind the change of ownership details will be notified to Council, Water authority and Valuer General when documents are lodged for registration at the Land Titles Office following settlement. 

Having an experienced property lawyer or conveyancing solicitor is important when you’re selling your property for all these reasons discussed. Consider TY Lawyers in Chatswood for all your property law and conveyancing requirements. 

Have a confidential discussion about the sale of your property and get peace of mind throughout the process. Call: 02 8007 0135 today.

Please wait...