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Buying your first home – Done and Dusted

We’re back with our second instalment of “Buying your first home”. In our last article we covered the preliminary steps you need to take in order to make sure you were set to purchase your new home. This instalment focuses on the final steps needed to finally receive the keys to your new abode.

The Conveyancing Documents

In order to legally own your new home, a particular set of conveyancing documents will need to be created and lodged to evidence the fact you are the new owner of the property. The main document, called a Memorandum of Transfer, is usually drafted by a registered conveyancer or lawyer in anticipation of settlement. The conveyancing documents are then held by the conveyancer or lawyer until settlement, when they are lodged.

In many instances, your lender will require you to provide them with the conveyancing documents in advance of your loan being approved. We therefore recommend that you meet with your solicitor or conveyancer as early as possible in order to get the ball rolling on the necessary conveyancing documents so that your loan application isn’t held up in any way.

Stamp Duty

Only two things are certain in life – death and taxes – and the purchase of your first home is no exception to that rule. The largest taxation liability when purchasing a home is stamp duty, which is incurred on the transfer of the property. The amount of stamp duty you are required to pay is assessed on the purchase price or the market value of the property at the date of settlement, whichever is the greater. Unfortunately, stamp duty must be paid in order for you to be registered as the owner of the property. Your solicitor or conveyancer will be able to provide you with details of your stamp duty obligations and will assist you in making arrangements for the payment of stamp duty.


The date on which you are set to receive the keys to your new home is called settlement. Settlement in South Australia takes place either in person at the Lands Titles Office, or online by way of the conveyancing portal PEXA. Settlement is the process where you, as the purchaser, make payment of the remainder of the purchase price to the seller of the property in exchange for title to your new home. Whilst the process may seem simple, there are numerous steps leading up to and at settlement. If your purchase is funded by a mortgage, the lender will have to be advised of and prepared for settlement so that they can organise all the relevant funding in time for cheque handovers. Your conveyancer or solicitor will normally assist you in organising the lender in this capacity. If the home you are buying already has a mortgage over it for the previous owners, they will also need to organise that their lender attend settlement to discharge that mortgage so that you can rightfully transfer the property into your name. It is not uncommon to find four different sets of conveyancers or lawyers at settlement for the one property purchase!! However, when the dust finally settles, when all cheques have been swapped and all documents have been lodged, you are at that stage officially the owner of your new home.


You should receive a call from your lawyer or conveyancer letting you know that settlement has been effected. You can then legally collect your keys from the agent and begin the arduous task of moving in – fun! At handover you should inspect the property to ensure it is in the same condition as what it was when you signed the Contract for Sale. Any substantial changes to the condition of the property should be raised with the agent immediately to ensure any damage is rectified.

Annnnnd you’re done! Congratulations, you are now the owner of your first home. It’s important to remember that the process for purchasing your first home will have bumps, sweat and some tears along the way. But purchasing your first home is a wonderful thing and with expert knowledge and experience guiding you in this process, you should find the experience more exhilarating than exasperating!

Georgiadis Lawyers are tried and tested in providing you with solid property and conveyancing advice. Feel free to contact us on (08) 8210 5400 to discuss your conveyancing matters. We offer fixed fees for all conveyancing services.

Blog post by Dimitri Panayotopoulos

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