Selling your home can be a lifechanging decision and whilst your first consideration may be to engage a real estate agent, you should also consider engaging a solicitor to assist you complete the sale.

Preparing a Contract for Sale

Before you even put your house on the market, it is a legal requirement that you prepare a contract for sale. The law requires that certain information is included in the contract for sale and the seller must make certain promises, known as “warranties”, about the property they are selling.

The following documents must be included in the contract for sale:

  • A title search confirming that you own the property
  • A deposited plan showing land boundary information
  • A planning certificate issued by council confirming the information the council has on file about planning controls or other issues affecting the land
  • A service location print and sewer service diagram showing the location of any sewer lines
  • Copies of any documents creating easements, rights of way, restrictions or covenants
  • Certificate of compliance/non-compliance for any swimming pool

A solicitor can help you obtain the information and documents required for the contract for sale and ensure that the contract complies with the law. If you do not include the required information and documents or if you breach one of the warranties, the buyer may be able to rescind the contract.

Negotiating the Contract for Sale

A lawyer may advise you to insert special conditions into the contract for sale to protect your interests. These special conditions can create consequences for breach of contract, interest for delay in settlement and can relate to deposits, the completion date and sunset conditions. The buyer will likely want to negotiate some terms in the contract, for example, altering the completion date, lowering the deposit amount or including certain items as “fixtures” to be included in the purchase of the property. An experienced solicitor can negotiate with the buyer’s solicitor to ensure that the sale is agreed upon on your terms prior to exchange.


Exchange occurs when the buyer and the seller each sign a copy of the contract and exchange those copies so that the seller has the contract signed by the buyer and the buyer has the contract signed by the seller. At exchange the buyer will also pay a deposit. At auction exchange occurs immediately however if the property is not sold at auction, then your solicitor or real estate agent may exchange the contracts.


Settlement or “completion” occurs when the buyer pays the balance of the purchase price as well as any money owed to you to complete the purchase. This amount takes into account any council rates, water rates or land tax you have already paid for the property and a solicitor will be able to calculate these on your behalf prior to completion. If you owe money on the property, such as a mortgage, your solicitor will be able to liaise with your bank to determine exactly how much you will need to discharge the mortgage. Almost all settlements are completed online via the platform PEXA which is only accessible to lawyers and conveyancers. PEXA allows for the electronic lodgement of documents and secure payment of settlement funds so that that settlement is quick, effective and streamlined.

If you are looking to sell your house, contact Dettmann Phair Lawyers today to get the process started!