5 Costly Mistakes Made by Property Buyers

Investing in property offers the opportunity to enjoy big potential projects, just as buying your own home is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make. However, buying property has its own set of risks.

If you’re not careful in the choices you make as a property buyer, you may risk making some costly mistakes when buying real estate:

Costly mistake #1: Becoming emotionally attached

How does playing poker have anything in common with real estate? It doesn’t, except that in both situations, there should be no emotional attachment to the outcome – to anyone who is watching you, at least!

Particularly when you’re buying your own home, it can be very easy to fall in love with a property and become so attached to the idea of living there, you’re willing to move mountains to make it happen. This can lead to costly mistakes, like paying more for a property than you can afford, or borrowing a greater amount.

Costly mistake #2: Going local when investing

First time investors tend to buy a local house from a neighbourhood where they are already familiar or comfortable. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it can limit your options for strong future growth if you fail to look elsewhere.

When looking for good investment properties, you should follow an objective set of criteria. Is this property attractive to tenants? Is the location a prime spot that is growing in population, infrastructure and amenities? How has the suburb performed historically, in terms of capital growth? Answering such questions increases your chances of making a profitable investment.

Big Property Market Trends In 2017 >>

Costly mistake #3: Lack of due diligence

Due diligence is another way of saying “do your research”. It’s essential, whether you’re buying a home or investment – and while it starts with the location and local amenities, it also includes research on the particular home.

Learning everything you can about the property can give you a better idea of what you’re in for once you move in (or for investments, rent it out). For example: do all the elements on the stove work? Does the air conditioning unit operate efficiently? Are there any maintenance issues that are raising red flags? These can be costly to fix once you own the property, so you’re much better off investigating deeply before you buy.

Costly mistake #4: Too much financial optimism

When you find the property you want, it can be tempting to try and make the numbers work regardless of how your finances actually look. If you work out that can afford a mortgage of up to $530,000, but you find a home that will give you a mortgage of $560,000, you might try to get the loan anyway. But that extra financial commitment could put you under financial stress. If the numbers don’t work, then you should not push ahead with the purchase – there are plenty more properties out there, including those that won’t add pressure to your budget.

Costly mistake #5: An unwillingness to walk away

The ability to walk away is crucial when it comes to buying real estate. If the figures don’t add up, you need to be able to walk away from the property. Similarly, if the terms are not going to be beneficial, you should walk away.

It can be a difficult call to make, especially if you’ve already invested a lot of time and effort (and even money on inspections and research) in the transaction. But committing to a property that is too expensive or somehow unsuitable can cause major headaches in the long term, so you need to review the property with a clear head and ask yourself: is it going to be in my best interests to continue with this, or would I be better off walking away?

At Think Conveyancing, we have seen first-hand the pressure that these kinds of costly mistakes can create. If you have any questions to do with your proposed property transaction, our highly experienced lawyers are available to you around the clock. For more information or to request a free quote, call us on 1300 932 738 and speak with one of our team members today.

Why Do You Need a Conveyancer?

Why do you need a conveyancer, anyway?

Buying or selling property is not a simple matter of transferring ownership. As anyone who has been through it before can attest to, the whole process can take a huge chunk of your time to coordinate, especially if difficulties or setbacks arise.

As such, it’s important that you have a qualified support team around you to make the process as seamless as possible. Hiring a conveyancer falls into this category – but what does a conveyancer actually do for you?

Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring property from one person or entity to another. Though you don’t legally need a conveyancer to buy or sell a property, they can help make the process much less stressful. Furthermore, a professional and experienced conveyancer offers a number of other benefits:

#1: Conveyancers can help save you money

Technically speaking, you will spend a little money to hire a qualified conveyancer. But the complexity of the conveyancing process means that this small outlay will be recouped (and then some) during the transaction, particularly due to the high risk of making mistakes while attempting to do it yourself.

Conveyancers help you avoid unwanted and expensive complications with your property transaction, which can lead to more savings down the track. For instance, as conveyancers perusing your contract, we may notice in the strata report that the apartment you are buying requires substantial and costly repairs. Alerting you to this early in the process can allow you to rescind the contract if you wish, rather than being stuck with a property that turns into a money pit.  

#2: Conveyancers can save you time

Conveyancing matters can take a fair amount of time and effort to review, analyse and finalise. You have to deal with real estate agents, vendors, banks, mortgage brokers, building inspectors and government agencies. Aside from that, you also need to understand all the legal, financial and governmental documentation involved, or you’ll risk putting yourself in hot water with your property purchase.

Hiring an experienced and qualified conveyancer will save you hours of paperwork and legwork as they take care of almost all the legal work for you. They liaise with real estate agents and building inspectors, keep your settlements on track with the vendor, and arrange reports for government agencies, all on your behalf.

#3: Conveyancers provide you peace of mind

A quality conveyancer always has your best interest in mind, so you can be sure that they will perform their tasks to the best of their abilities and expertise.

This means you no longer have to worry about preparing and lodging legal documents, as your conveyancer will do this for you. They are also responsible for the checks that should be undertaken to find any easements, as well as the investigations of other key areas involved in the transaction. They will even handle the practical financial aspects of your property transaction, such as liaising with your lender to draw cheques for settlement and calculating adjustments to be paid at settlement.

If things go sideways, having a licensed conveyancer on your team provides you with priceless peace of mind, as you can rest assured that they will handle things for you and guide you towards a positive outcome.

A conveyancer is indeed an important asset when you’re buying or selling a property. Just make sure that you deal with a licensed and experienced conveyancer who knows the ins and outs of your local property market.

At Think Conveyancing, we are committed to delivering exceptional customer service. To get in contact with our friendly team today about your conveyancing needs, call us on 1300 932 738, or request a free quote online.

3 Biggest Property Risks in 2017

Australians consider residential property investment as one of the safest ways to build wealth, and for good reason: for decades upon decades, the upward trajectory of the property market has ensured that property buyers almost always multiply their initial investment.

That said, it’s important to remember that every investment has its risks, no matter how secure it may seem.

Following Sydney’s recent boom and with the changing real estate landscape in 2017, experts believe that the following risks will start to show up soon – and you should be ready for them:

Risk of rising interest rates

At the moment, global interest rates are at an all-time low, making borrowing costs easy to manage. Though Australian banks have recently tightened their lending criteria, interest rates still remain historically low, with both variable and fixed rates available at between 4-5%.

However, it is hard to predict if this will continue in the medium or long-term, and economists are split on where interest rates will go in the year ahead.

It’s also important to consider that homeowners on interest-only loans may not be able to pay their increasing mortgage expenses when rates increase and the loan converts to principal and interest. During times of evolving lending standards and a shaky interest rate outlook, it pays to ensure your financial ‘house’ is in order, and that you can afford an increase if applicable.

Risk of rising unemployment rates

Australia continues to enjoy a low unemployment rate at 5.8%. However, throughout 2016 we experienced flat employment growth, and more and more employers are hiring part-time or freelance workers instead of full-time.

If this trend continues, it may result in a slowdown of wage growth to a record low, just a little above inflation. Coupled with a possible interest rate rise, rising unemployment and stale wage growth could lead more home loan borrowers to have a difficult time managing their repayments. As conveyancers, we have seen countless situations where homeowners are forced to sell their beloved property due to financial difficulties, with interest rate rises a contributing factor.

Risk of property bubble getting bigger

Australia’s major banks have downplayed talks of a property bubble, but the huge recent annual increases in house prices have many experts worried that some markets are officially reaching ‘bubble territory’.

Across all state capitals, prices have risen 47% since June 2012 (on average), reports CoreLogic, with Sydney leading the charge at 75%. Such a growth imbalance should not be ignored, as any catalyst – like interest rate increases, an unemployment rate rise, a slight economic downturn, and/or higher debt levels – could pop the property bubble and send the market crashing back to reality.

The risks being faced by property owners in 2017 are not limited to what is happening within the country. They are also correlated with the threats within the global economy, such as the rising debt levels in China, the low performance of European banks, and the uncertainties brought about by new United States leadership. As a homeowner, being aware of these risks can help you make informed decisions when it comes to your home and property investments.

At Think Conveyancing, we aim to help you with your property and home ownership needs. To get in contact with our friendly team to discuss any aspect of your property purchase or needs, or to talk about your conveyancing needs, call us on 1300 932 738, or request a free quote online.

Understanding Stamp Duty: State-by-State Guide

Taxes and levies are part and parcel of buying property in Australia. One of the most expensive costs you’ll encounter when buying Australian properties is stamp duty, a tax imposed by the state government.

The revenue the state or territory receives from stamp duty is added to that state government’s budget, so it helps to improve various sectors like health, transport and emergency services. It’s good to know that your money is going to good use – but exactly how much will you need to pay?

The amount of stamp duty varies from state to state, as it depends on certain factors, including first home buyer benefits and concessions. As a rule, the pricier the property you’re buying, the higher the stamp duty is and the amount is generally payable within 30 days of signing a contract or 30 days from settlement, depending on the state or territory the property is situated at.

Most state governments have online calculators to help you estimate the amount of stamp duty that you need to pay, but here is a guide on how much stamp duty should be paid in each state and territory. Note that the following rates apply to residential homes you intend to live in – higher rates may apply to investment property purchases:

Australian Capital Territory

In the ACT, the duty payable for properties worth $200,000 and below is $20 or $1.48 per $100, whichever is greater. The amount increases as the price of the property increases, going up to a flat rate of $5.09 per $100 (applied to the total transaction value) for properties worth $1,455,000 and above.

First homebuyers may be eligible for concessional rates, but certain prerequisites must be met first to do with property value, property type and occupancy requirements. The ACT government also offers stamp duty concessions and exemptions for eligible pensioners.

Estimated stamp duty on a $500,000 residential home in the ACT (without concession): $13,460

New South Wales

The rate varies widely, but for properties priced between $300,001 and $1 million, the NSW duty payable is $8,990 plus $4.50 for every $100 or part thereof over $300,000. Premium properties worth $3 million and above attract stamp duty of $150,490 plus $7 for every $100 or part thereof that the value exceeds $3 million. Take note that premium duty is only payable on residential land.

Like the ACT, NSW also offers concessions for first home buyers. It also has a First Home Owners Grant (FHOG) of $10,000, however, it does not offer exemptions for pensioners.

Estimated stamp duty on a $500,000 residential home in NSW (without concession): $17,990

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory follows a formula for the dutiable value of properties worth $525,000 and below. The complex formula is as follows: duty payable is equal to (0.06571441 x V2) + 15V, where V is the dutiable value of the property divided by 1000.

The formula is not applicable for properties exceeding $525,000. Instead, those properties (not exceeding $3 million in dutiable value) get a flat rate of 4.95% of dutiable value. If the property prince exceeds $3 million, the stamp duty is 5.45% of the dutiable value.

Pensioners can be eligible for Senior, Pensioner, and Carer Concession (SPCC) if they are at least 60 years old or a holder of Northern Territory pensioner and carer concession card. New homeowners can get up to $7,000 off stamp duty, provided they are not eligible for FHOG or SPCC.

Estimated stamp duty on a $500,000 residential home in NT (without concession)$23,928.60


Stamp duty rates at Tasmania start at $20 for properties priced $1,300 or less. Now, properties in Tasmania are cheap, but not this cheap! Therefore, most buyers will be paying much more than this. For instance, the rate goes up to $5,935 plus $4.00 for every $100 or part thereof over $200,000 but less than $375,000. Tasmania currently does not offer concessions for either first homebuyers or pensioners.

Estimated stamp duty on a $500,000 residential home in Tasmania (without concession): $18,247.50

South Australia

For properties worth $12,000 and below, stamp duty rates start at 1% of dutiable value. The highest amount is reserved for properties exceeding $500,000 in dutiable value in South Australia, as they are charged a stamp duty of $21,330 plus 5.5% of dutiable value over $500,000.

Estimated stamp duty on a $500,000 residential home in SA (without concession): $21,330


Stamp duty in Victoria is calculated on a sliding scale, starting at 1.4% for properties valued at $25,000 and below and going up to 5.5% for properties over $960,000.

First homebuyers have recently been dealt a lucky break, with news that from 1 July 2017, they won’t have to pay stamp duty at all for any property that costs less than $600,000, and a reduced amount on properties priced between $600,001 and $750,000.

Pensioners are exempt from paying stamp duty if their property is valued up to $330,000, while they get a part concession for properties priced between $330,0010 and $750,000.

Estimated stamp duty on a $500,000 residential home in Victoria (without concession): $25,070

Western Australia

In WA, for properties worth $120,000 and below, stamp duty is payable at a rate of 1.9%. It increases in increments to $28,435 plus 5.15% of dutiable value over $725,000.

There are no stamp duty exemptions in Western Australia for first homebuyers.

Estimated stamp duty on a $500,000 residential home in WA (without concession)$17,765


Queensland has no stamp duty payable for properties valued less than $5,000, and a rate of 1.5% applies between $5,000 to $75,000. However, this rises to $1,050 plus $3.50 for every 100 or part thereof over $75,000 when the property value falls between $75,000 and $540,000, and increases to as much as $38,025 plus $5.75 for every $100 or part thereof over $1,000,000 for properties valued at more than $1,000,000.

First homebuyers get concessions for properties valued at less than $550,000. No concessions are offered for pensioners.

Estimated stamp duty on a $500,000 residential home in Queensland (without concession): $15,925.00

At Think Conveyancing, our goal is to help you navigate the process of buying and selling property with as little stress as possible. If you have any questions about stamp duty or any other aspect of your property transaction, please contact our friendly team at Think Conveyancing on 1300 932 738, or contact us online here.

How to Find a Qualified Conveyancer

If a hassle-free and straightforward property transaction is your goal, then one of the most important tasks on your to do list should be to hire a qualified conveyancer. Conveyancing is the legal aspect involved in the transfer of properties from one person to another, so seeking the services of a professional conveyancer helps to ensure that you meet all your legal obligations, while also protecting your rights and minimising stress along the way.

Not all conveyancers are created equal, however. Just as you would meticulously screen a real estate agent or a mortgage broker, you should also exercise the same care when looking for a conveyancer.

Here are some tips on how to find a qualified conveyancer:

Ask colleagues for referrals:

The best referral comes from someone you know and trust. If you have friends, family members or colleagues who were recently involved in a property transaction, ask them what their experience was like and if they would recommend their conveyancer.

Seek professional opinions:

A good conveyancer will have a positive reputation in the industry, so you also want to ask your real estate agent, accountant, mortgage broker, or other trusted property expert which conveyancer they have used, or who they have heard good reports about.

Go to the source:

If you don’t know anyone personally who can refer a conveyancer to you, start with the website of the Australian Institute of Conveyancers. This organisation is the peak body representing registered, licensed and certified practising conveyancers across the country. Its website lists conveyancers in each AIC division in your state, allowing you to create a short-list of prospective conveyancers in your area.

Online searches:

When all else fails, try the Google approach! Search for conveyancers in your area and see what information you can find online. A website is like a digital business card, so narrow your search down to those conveyancers that have professional, modern and reputable websites.

Interviewing prospective conveyancers

Once you have created a list of possible conveyancers in your area, whether you’ve found them from online searching or personal referrals, it’s time to give them a call and ask them a few questions to see if they’re suitable for your needs.

Keep in mind that there are conveyancers who specialise in different types of real estate, like apartments, subdivisions, and off the plan projects, so it may be worth finding a legal practitioner who has expertise to do with the type of property you’re wanting to buy or sell.

Ask your prospective conveyancer about their fees and charges, as well as any extra costs. Also ask them about the timeframe of the transaction, and what to expect in terms of communication: will they primarily correspond through email? Regular phone calls? Or will you be expected to visit them at their office?

Don’t forget to do a background check

To make sure you’re working with a professional and reputable conveyancer with a solid track record for delivering exceptional service, you may want to do some background research about them and their previous work. Make sure their former clients are happy with the service they received and that there are no complaints against them.

Most of the time, after talking to a potential conveyancer, you will have a ‘gut feeling’ about whether this person is the right fit for you. Don’t be afraid to listen to red flags: for instance, if you are having trouble scheduling a meeting with them in the first place, or they take days to respond to your emails, then maybe this person is not very good at communicating.

Ultimately, it is your decision, so make sure that the conveyancer you choose is not just licensed and qualified, but also someone you can easily work with.

At Think Conveyancing, our goal is to help you navigate the process of buying and selling property with minimal stress. We aim to deliver exceptional customer service and invite you to contact us for an obligation-free discussion about your needs: call us at Think Conveyancing on 1300 932 738, or contact us online here.

3 Stages of the Conveyancing Process

When you’re buying or selling a home, knowing the conveyancing process can help you understand the legal intricacies of how a property is transferred from one owner to another.

Though the exact details differ depending on your situation, typically there are three stages of a conveyancing transaction: before the contract, contract to settlement, and after the settlement.

Before the Contract

The conveyancing process doesn’t start when you have a contract in place; it begins when you express interest to purchase a property. Before you give the vendor an offer to purchase their property, you should be in talks with your conveyancer to talk to them about your plans and goals for the purchase.

As a purchaser, you will generally pay a deposit when you place an offer on a property. However, this doesn’t mean that there’s a binding contract in place or that the property can’t be removed from the market. It just means that you’re serious about your offer.

As a seller, accepting an offer verbally doesn’t mean you’re legally bound to any agreement, either. The transaction only becomes official once both parties have signed the contract with mutually agreeable terms. Ideally, you want your conveyancer involved in the process of creating and/or reviewing the contract of sale, as it spells out the conditions of the transaction.

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Contract to Settlement

After you’ve exchanged contracts, there is generally a cooling-off period, which gives you time to rescind the contract if you wish to do so (save for auction contracts, where the cooling-off period does not apply).

This is also the time to prepare for a smooth settlement, so you need to do several things, such as arrange payments for stamp duty; prepare and examine any mortgage agreements; check any planned developments that could affect your property; and do the final inspection.

Meanwhile, your conveyancer will calculate settlement adjustments for council and water rates and, if applicable, land tax, rent and body corporate contributions. Your conveyancer may also send the vendor a list of formal questions about the property, known as requisitions on title. This document reveals information that may not have been previously disclosed during the initial property inspection.

When the settlement date arrives, your conveyancer or their appointed agent will attend settlement on your behalf to meet the vendor’s representative and both parties’ respective bank representatives to exchange transfer documents, relevant stamp duty forms and any other legal documents and pay the sum owing to the vendor including the balance of the purchase price, adjustments and legal fees. 

Overall, your conveyancer ensures the completion of all necessary conveyancing steps so that the settlement will run without a fuss. But that’s now  not where their role ends…

After the Settlement

Before breathing a sigh of relief, there are still some things that need to be done after settlement.

This is the time to register the transfer documents with the Land Titles Office to formally change property ownership. During this stage, there will also usually be a discharge of any existing mortgages, withdrawal of any existing caveats, transfer of title, and transfer of the mortgage to the new mortgagee. If you are purchasing the property through a loan, your bank will do all this for you. Otherwise, your conveyancer can assist you with the stamping and lodging of these documents for registration after settlement.

You might also need to inform relevant authorities – like the relevant owner’s corporation or property manager – that you’re the new property owner, thereby completing the conveyancing process when you buy a home. Again, your conveyancer will handle this for you.

At Think Conveyancing, we aim to make the process as seamless and stress-free as possible for you, which is why we take care of all of the above-mentioned tasks and more! For an obligation-free quote, don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team on 1300 932 738 or contact us online here.

The Key Differences Between Strata And Community Title

Thinking of buying an apartment near your workplace, or a unit in a glamorous new high-rise development?

If you’re not yet ready to purchase your dream home with a sprawling garden in the suburbs, you may be considering a more economical choice, as a unit or apartment. These types of properties have a strong appeal with tenants and owner-occupiers alike – plus, they have their own set of rules that ensure equal rights and obligations to every homeowner.

But before you dive into an apartment purchase, you must familiarise yourself first with strata and community titles, which are the two kinds of titles you’re likely to encounter.

They are key differences between the two types of titles, such as the following:


When referring to strata titled properties, we are generally talking about townhouses, units and some commercial properties.

The common link in these dwelling types is the fact that they are divided into units, rather than land allotments. Unit divisions are determined through structural divisions of a building, not by reference to the land. For instance, the inside lining of the wall, the bottom of the ceiling, the top of the floor – all of these can be used as references of where a particular unit begins and ends.

On the other hand, community titles are divided by land allotments referred to as lots rather than units. Instead of dividing the space based on building parameters, each lot owner is awarded their respective parcels of land with its own title, defined by surveyed land measurements, often without limitations on height and depth unless specified in the community scheme.

Both strata and community titles have common property areas like shared driveways, swimming pools, and other amenities. These common areas are shared by the members of each strata or community and generally aren’t exclusive to any particular unit or land owner unless exclusive use of a particular common area is allocated by the developer or granted by the strata or community corporation (e.g. car spaces, lift foyers, rooftop access, etc).

This means that as an owner of a strata titled property or community title property, you may be buying into a property with access to other lifestyle amenities, such as bike tracks, outdoor entertaining areas, parks, playgrounds, communal relaxation areas and lakes.

If you’re confused about the boundary lines in regards to a property you’re considering buying, your conveyancer should be able to shed some light on the situation for you!

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For strata titled properties, a legal entity called a strata corporation (or also known as an owners corporation or body corporate, depending on the type of scheme and which state or territory the property is situated at) administers and maintains the common properties on behalf of all unit owners. The unit owners themselves comprise the corporation.

The same goes for community titles, with a community title corporation that is responsible for administering the rules within the community, as well as maintaining and insuring common properties.

To maintain the common areas, owners in either type of title have to raise funds and contribute based on their unit or lot entitlement – the capital value of their unit or lot compared to the value of all units or lots (as the case may be). In other words, the bigger your unit or lot is, the higher your contribution to the corporation will be.


A key difference between community and strata titles is insurance.

Strata corporations take care of the building and public liability insurances to cover the whole building and its common properties. However, it’s the unit owner’s responsibility to cover the contents insurance of his or her respective unit.

On the contrary, community title owners have no obligation in maintaining and insuring other lot owners’ buildings.

In a community title situation, the individual owner of each lot is responsible for the insurance of any building on their lot. The community corporation is only responsible for insuring any common area buildings or structures.

This is one of the biggest differences between Community Title and Strata Title, and it could potentially expose you as a property owner to some risky outcomes.

For instance, can you imagine the potential for financial loss if a complex of 8 apartments catches fire and burns to the ground – and only 5 of those individual property owners have building insurance?

If you are considering buying a property with a community title, we suggest you seek out personalised legal advice to ensure that you’re aware of the risks and have a full understanding of this structure works. Feel free to contact our friendly team Think Conveyancing for an obligation-free quote or to discuss your situation; call us on 1300 932 738 or contact us online here.