Property settlement

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The seller sets the date of settlement in the contract of sale. The settlement period is usually 30 to 90 days.

Settlement is the date when you:

  • pay the balance of the purchase price to the seller
  • get the property title and become the registered owner
  • take possession of the property (unless otherwise arranged).

This is an official process, usually conducted between your and the seller’s legal practitioners or conveyancers and lenders.

At settlement, all outgoings such as rates and other charges are adjusted between you and the seller. The seller is responsible for rates up to and including the day of settlement and you are responsible from the day after settlement.

Taking possession of the property

Once settlement is completed, you can collect the keys from the agent and take possession of the property.

Land transfer duty

You are responsible for paying the land transfer duty (formerly known as stamp duty) on the sale. There are generally two duty rates, a:

  • general rate that applies to all types of property, including residential, commercial, industrial and rural
  • concessional rate if the property will be your principal residence.

This duty is calculated as a percentage of the purchase price or the market value of the property, whichever is greater. Duty applies to the GST-inclusive price of a new property.

It is usually paid at settlement but you have up to three months after settlement to pay. You cannot receive transfer of the title to the property until you have paid the duty.

For more information, visit State Revenue Office Victoria.

Transfer of land

The transfer of land document transfers ownership of the land from the seller to you.

If two or more people are buying the property together, the land transfer document sets out that they will hold the property; either:

  • jointly: If one person dies, ownership of the property automatically transfers to the survivor(s)
  • tenants in common: Tenants in common effectively hold shares (equally or otherwise) in the property and each has the right to dispose of their interest as they see fit.

The transfer of land is usually lodged with Land Use Victoria by your legal practitioner, conveyancer or lender. For more information, visit Property and land titles.