Purchasing A Unit Or Townhouse

We offer fixed price professional fees for your purchase of a unit or townhouse. All of our conveyancing files are managed by qualified solicitors and we will work with you to take care of the process

What we will do:

A summary of what we do on a standard purchase is set out below:

  • Once the contract of sale is received from the seller or Real Estate Agent, we will review the contract and advise you of your rights and obligations including calculating due dates
  • Once you advise us of the searches you require and place money in our trust account to cover costs, we will order your required searches, review them and advise you on your rights
  • We will advise you of any conditions that you or the seller need to meet and ensure all contract conditions are satisfied when they fall due
  • We will advise you of your stamp duty obligations and any concessions you may be eligible for (for example, first home buyer grants and concessions)
  • Once the offer is unconditional, we prepare for settlement – we will contact your lender to confirm they are ready for settlement, prepare the transfer, verify the settlement statement figures, stamp transfer documents in readiness for settlement, advise you on your obligations under the foreign resident capital gains tax withholding scheme, and conduct a check title search just before settlement to ensure no encumbrances or caveats have been registered on the title
  • We will attend to settlement, paying the balance of the purchase price to the seller’s solicitor, receive the release of mortgage and certificate of title (if any) and let you know once settlement is completed; and
  • Where necessary, we will attend to registration and post-settlement matters. Note, if you borrow money to complete the purchase, the lender will attend to registration.

What you need to do:

In order to ensure the purchase goes through as smoothly as possible, we ask that you:

  • Respond to our initial letter and request for information as soonas possible
  • Provide written confirmation (either personally or through your lender) advising whether your finance has been approved, declined and you wish to terminate the contract, or you wish to seek an extension of the Finance Date
  • Ensure that all mortgage documents are signed and returned to your bank in readiness for settlement
  • Arrange for building, pest and pool inspections (if relevant) to be conducted on the property at least two days before the Inspection Date in the contract and let us know if you are satisfied with the inspection, are not satisfied and wish to terminate the contract, or seek compensation or rectification of the significant matters raised by the inspector, or if you wish to seek an extension of the Inspection Date
  • Review the survey plan we send you to confirm that the property that is being transferred is the property you are intending to purchase
  • Provide funds for stamp duty and/or registration fees (unless being provided at settlement by lender)
  • Provide any funds you are contributing to complete settlement at least 4 business days before the Settlement Date
  • Carry out a pre-settlement inspection of the property; and
  • Attend to matters such as connection of telephone and electricity services and insurance for the property.

Things you need to know

When you buy in a community title scheme not only do you acquire your unit or townhouse, but you take on a relationship with the other owners in the body corporate such as:

  • Sharing the ownership of common areas, eg lifts, stairwells and front entrances
  • You are automatically a member of a body corporate which is regulated by fairly complex rules – you are jointly and severally liable for the body corporate debts
  • Deciding issues about the common property, concerns of owners and maintenance of the complex; and
  • Regularly contributing money to the body corporate for day-to-day ongoing expenses and anticipated long term costs.


You should be aware of the following:

  • Contract – check with the agent that the correct contract is being used for a community title purchase
  • Disclosure statement – in Queensland, the seller must provide the prospective purchaser with a disclosure statement before signing the contract. Make sure you receive this and read it as it will contain important information on levies payable and rules governing the use of your lot and common property
  • Due diligence – the contract for a unit or townhouse has extra pages that disclose information about a number of matters, including ‘Latent and Patent Defects in Common Property or Body Corporate Assets.’ We recommend that any contract be subject to the buyer completing due diligence investigations. As part of a purchaser’s due diligence investigation we recommend that the purchaser inspect the body corporate records or appoint an agent to undertake the search and prepare a summary report – we can arrange this for you. The purpose of this search is to identify any issues which have not been disclosed, and allow you to withdraw from the contract without having to rely on the restrictive provisions of the legislation
  • Building and pest inspections – building and pest inspections are still important when buying a unit or townhouse. Even though the body corporate may be responsible for repairs to common property, they may not have been carried out properly or the body corporate may lack the finances necessary to undertake the works
  • Payment of the deposit – payment of the initial deposit is due on the day that the contract is signed unless another time is specified in the contract. If you do not pay the deposit by the required date, the seller may have a right to terminate the contract and claim compensation from you even after you pay the deposit. To reduce this risk, we recommend stipulating in the contract that the deposit is ‘payable three days from the contract date’ to allow you to time to arrange payment on or before the due date
  • Cooling off rights – standard REIQ contracts provide for a period of five business days cooling off – the cooling off period starts on the day you receive from the seller or their agent a copy of the contract signed by both parties or, if that day is not a business day, the next business day. If the seller signed the contract before you did, the cooling off period starts on the day you signed the contract and communicated your acceptance to the seller. The cooling off period ends at 5.00pm on the fifth business day. You are entitled to terminate the contract during the cooling off period for any reason whatsoever. If you do, the seller may retain a penalty of 0.25% of the purchase price from the deposit paid under the contract. The balance of the deposit (if any) must be refunded to you within 14 days after termination
  • Insurance – the property will be at your risk from 5.00pm on the first business day after the contract date. We recommend that you immediately arrange insurance cover so that it is in place before the property is at your risk
  • Searches – in order to be fully aware of the risks you are taking on with a property, it is recommended that you instruct us to obtain searches as soon as possible. A failure to act in time in relation to a date relevant to the transaction may mean the loss of rights under the contract or an exposure of liability in connection with the property.

Government Charges and Fees

Buying a property unfortunately comes with the added obligation of Government charges and fees. In order to ensure that you are fully informed of your obligations, we provide links to the relevant calculators below. Alternatively, we are happy to advise you on your obligations or answer any questions.