Buying Property

Buying a property

It is never too early to get in touch with a conveyancer, and you don’t have to wait until you are ready to sign a contract. We recommend speaking with a conveyancer as soon as you decide to buy or sell, so you can receive advice specific to your circumstances.

Harmony Conveyancing will liaise with authorities, and we will make sure the process is smooth from start to finish.

Our fees: We’re confident we will compare favourably but we suggest you make sure you get a full breakdown of any additional fees such a file storage and mortgage liaison (which are sometimes unexpected additions over and above the conveyancer’s professional fee). We only charge third party fees at cost.

When you are buying a property, we will

  • Review the Contract and Form 1
  • Perform Verification of Identity
  • Prepare the contract (if the transaction is negotiated privately)
  • Liaise with your lending institution where required
  • Attend to all the searches required
  • Ensure that the title to the property is unencumbered
  • Deal with any matters that are outstanding for the property title
  • Adjust the rates and taxes that need to be paid
  • Attend settlement
  • Deliver your Certificate of Title (if applicable)
  • Advise the authorities of the change in ownership
  • Offer advice on your contract and other documentation
  • Attend to the payment of Stamp Duty and advise you on available concessions
  • Advise you about Joint Tenants and Tenants in Common ownership

Buying a property and the path to settlement

  • Review your contract and Form1. Harmony Conveyancing do not charge a separate fee to review your Contract and Form 1 as this is part of our all-inclusive Conveyancing fee which is charged at settlement. If we review your Contract and Form 1 and you decide to cool-off and not proceed with purchasing the property, we will not charge you for the time spent on the review.
  • Be sure to arrange insurance over your new property as soon as you have signed the Contract of Sale.
  • If you haven’t arranged (and if you need) finance, you should contact your financial institution to make arrangements. If you have a loan pre-approved, contact your lender or mortgage broker to let them know the details of your purchase.
  • When your two business day cooling-off period is complete, you will need to pay the deposit you agreed to in the Contract of Sale into the Trust account of the real estate agent.
  • If the agent hasn’t already asked for the name of your conveyancer, you should inform them now that you will be working with Harmony Conveyancing.
  • If there are any conditions in the Contract that need to be met, make sure you notify the real estate agent and Harmony Conveyancing when that happens e.g. if finance approval is a condition, once it has been approved you should notify us and your agent right away.
  • Part of the requirements that we need to fulfil is the verification of your identity. If we do this online you will need access to original documents to prove your identify. If you can produce a current driver’s licence and passport that is ideal but if you can’t we can help you with an alternative.
  • Keep in touch with the real estate agent and find out before settlement how, when and where you can collect keys for your property once you have settled.
  • If you’re moving into the property immediately following settlement, make arrangements for gas, electricity and other connections to be transferred into your name or connected in your name.
  • There’s nothing you need to do with regard to council and SA Water – we will handle that for you.
  • Before settlement day we will issue you with a purchaser statement. Have a look over it and make sure that everything is in order and that the amount required on your statement is paid to us.
  • You don’t need to do anything on settlement day, your conveyancer will attend to finalising the transfer on your behalf and will call you and the Real Estate Agent to confirm once settlement is completed. Keys for your new property can be collected from the real estate agent once settlement completion is confirmed.
  • You will need to arrange for utilities to be connected at the new property. Your conveyancer will notify SA Water, Local Council, Strata/Community Corporation Manager (if applicable) and Revenue SA of the change in ownership.

Contact us for a confidential discussion, 0407 197 011.

Sign a contract

  • Make sure your name is exactly as per your ID documents.
  • Ensure property description is correct.
  • Settlement date is within the reach of your finance arrangements (if applicable).
  • Following are the typical subject to conditions.
  • Subject to Finance.
  • Subject to Pest and Building Inspection.
  • Subject to Sale of Property
  • Subject to Valuation.
  • Subject to Vendor’s work competition.
  • Subject to Deposit of Plan (Land Division).
  • You must read the contract carefully before you sign it and understand your rights and obligations.

The cooling off period

Once you have received the Form 1 it is deemed served and your cooling off period will commence provided the Contract of Sale is executed by all parties (Vendor and Purchaser). You have two clear business days to cool off once receiving the Form 1, so if the Form 1 was received on a Thursday you would have until midnight Monday to cool off provided neither of the business days were public holidays. Your cooling off period is a good time to undertake a building and pest inspection if it was not a special condition of the Contract or negotiate any changes you wish to make to the Contract.

If you are buying a property at Auction, you will not receive a ‘cooling-off’ period and the Contract will be unconditional, so it is important to undertake your own due diligence prior to Auction day.

Stamp Duty

Please click on following link to calculate your stamp duty and lodgement fees.

Click here to calculate your stamp duty.

There can be additional stamp duty payable if you are not a permanent resident or Australian Citizen.

Foreign Persons

Foreign persons (which includes natural persons and corporations) or foreign trusts that acquire an interest in residential land in South Australia are required to pay a foreign ownership surcharge (the “surcharge”) of 7% of the value of the interest in residential land.

Click here for more information:

Foreign Investment Review Board.
RevenueSA – Foreign Ownership Surcharge (FOS).
Residential property and exemption certificate application fees.

Stamp Duty Relief

If you are a first home buyer and eligible for the stamp duty first home buyer relief, the relief may.

  • reduce your stamp duty to zero if the value of your new home is below $650,000 (or $400,000 for vacant land); or
  • partially reduce your stamp duty if the value of your new home is below $700,000 (or $450,000 for vacant land).

Stamp duty relief for eligible first home buyers applies to contracts entered into on or after 15 June 2023.

The eligibility criteria for the stamp duty relief are based on the same criteria for the first homeowner grant. If you are eligible for the first homeowner grant you will generally be eligible for stamp duty relief, however you will still need to apply for both.

There are also some circumstances where you may not be eligible for the first homeowner grant, but will be eligible for stamp duty relief, for example if you are purchasing a new home valued between $650,000 and $700,000 (which exceeds the first homeowner grant property value cap).

You may be eligible for relief if you are:

  • An Australian citizen or permanent resident. New Zealand citizens permanently residing in Australia who hold Special Category Visas may also apply. Only one applicant must meet this eligibility requirement.
  • At least 18 years of age at the time of making application for stamp duty relief.
  • A natural person.

Companies and trusts are not eligible for stamp duty relief, except in the case of legal disability.

Click Here to know more about Stamp Duty Relief

First home buyers

  • The SA government offers a $15,000 grant: non-taxable First Home Owners Grant Stamp Duty Relief for First Home Buyers
  • You might also be eligible for Stamp Duty relief as a First Home Buyer. Learn more about the eligibility criteria here First Home Buyer Stamp Duty Relief in South Australia.

First home buyers may be eligible for a stamp duty relief on the transfer of land in certain circumstances. Here are the conditions under which you may be eligible:

  • Buying a new home* (this includes properties such as a house, flat, unit, townhouse or apartment).
  • Purchasing an off-the-plan apartment.
  • Securing both land and a new home together, typically under a comprehensive building contract.
  • Purchasing vacant land with the intent to build your new home on it.
  • Vacant land where you’ve paid $450K or over is not eligible.
  • A new home where you’ve paid $700K or over is not eligible.

*Note: The definition of a “new home” for the purpose of this relief may vary. It’s always a good idea to confirm the specific details as they pertain to your situation.


  • Stamp duty is payable on most property transactions in Australia. The state government charges buyers a transfer fee, PEXA fee and mortgage registration fee.
  • Legal and conveyancing fees will be payable
  • Your lender will charge various fees to set up your finance. These are likely to include a mortgage application fee and loan service fee but check with your lender to find out exactly what fees you will be charged and whether they are negotiable. .
  • Although optional, a building inspection and pest report is highly recommended.
  • Home, building, and contents insurance is strongly recommended. If you are taking out a mortgage for the property, your lender will insist that you have building insurance at a minimum. Note, when purchasing, you are responsible for the property from the day you sign the contract, not the settlement date.
  • You may need to budget for moving costs, depending on how many possessions you have and how far you are moving.
  • Reconnection fees for gas, electricity and telecommunications may be payable if the vendor has disconnected any of these services.

Purchaser frequently asked questions (FAQ)

If I have signed a contract to purchase a property when I should take out building insurance?

In South Australia, you are responsible for the property from the day you sign the contract, so it is vital that you take out insurance as soon as you sign the contract.

What happens on the day of settlement?

The settlement date is specified in the contract of sale. On that date, we calculate stamp duty and other fees, plus adjustments for rates and taxes, and prepare a settlement statement. The balance of the purchase price, fees and any adjustments are paid by you and the legal documents are lodged electronically. The certificate of title is transferred, meaning that ownership of the property has been legally transferred, and the funds will be released to the vendor. Once the settlement is complete, you can arrange to collect the keys from the vendor or their real estate agent.

Where does settlement take place?

Land Services SA announced that from 3 August 2020 it was mandatory to settle all property transactions and available dealings electronically. The platform used for settlement is called PEXA. There are still a small number of dealings unavailable on PEXA, such as Land Divisions and these documents may still be lodged in paper at the Land Titles Office.

What time does settlement occur?

Settlement time can vary, so your conveyancer will confirm the agreed time once all parties have accepted in the PEXA workspace. Keep in mind sometimes the banks do not accept until the day of settlement, but your conveyancer will be able to give you an approximate time. Settlements can now occur from 9:30am through to 4:30pm each business day, whereas previously settlements were booked for 11:30am and if they were not completed by 2:30pm were usually postponed to the following business day.

Do I need to be present on settlement day?

No, your conveyancer will work with the other parties representative and the banks to finalise settlement on your behalf.

How do I know when settlement is complete?

Your conveyancer will contact you and the real estate agent to confirm once settlement has been completed. We will also notify Council, SA Water, Revenue SA and Strata Manager (if applicable) of the change in ownership.

What happens with keys?

Vendors should leave keys to the property with the real estate agent prior to settlement. Once settlement has been completed the agent will contact the purchaser to arrange a mutually agreeable time to collect keys. If you are planning to move into the property on the same day as settlement, it is a good idea to speak with the real estate agent prior to settlement to discuss when keys will be available.

Important reminders for Purchasers

Purchasers will need to arrange building insurance on the property from the date of signing the Contract. If you are moving in, you will need to arrange utility connections prior to settlement if they are required to be available on settlement day. It is recommended to avoid booking removalists and trades for the same day as settlement as delays can occur.

We would love to have a chat FREELY with you about your property sale or purchase and invite you to get in touch with any questions you may have ANYTIME.

Contact us today: 0407197011