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Buying Interstate

The depths of winter are always a time for reflection on where we live! No doubt, many an interstate move has been inspired by the plunging temperatures of a winter that just went on too long (Can anyone in VIC or TAS hear me?!) Others are induced by the thought of colder temperatures and the experience of all the seasons in the full… Whatever the motivation, recently across our national practice, we have seen an upswing in the number of purchasers buying interstate.

This has raised the concern of a number of practitioners about just how little some potential buyers know when they buy interstate, mainly because they rely on the assumptions that the rules in their home state apply elsewhere. So let’s call that Myth 1.

Myth 1

What you call conveyancing is not the same thing as what someone else calls conveyancing once you cross the border – any border. This is because Property Law is state based. A legacy since Federation that has evolved to mean different customs and practices have developed on a state by state basis. So beware.

Myth 2

It is not uncommon for Victorians who are purchasing in QLD to comment on ‘how pushy QLD realestate agents are!’ This however is not quite accurate!! Victorians and those from NSW are, use to receiving disclosure documents in advance (ie. A Section 32 or a section 149), requiring the potential purchaser to review a contract and disclosure statement in advance of signing (I note, this is best practice!).

Conversely, the Contract of Sale in QLD is a statutory instrument. Meaning it is much shorter and affords the purchaser a greater sense of protection – meaning signing before taking it to a solicitor in QLD is much much more usual. The contract itself, except where an amendment has been made, provides for an absolute right to cool off and it is on this basis that agents ‘strongly encourage’ potential purchasers to sign up using the Statutory contract.

Myth 3

This however DOES NOT WORK when purchasing in Tasmania, where there is NO right to cool off! This stands as a caution to anyone purchasing on the island state, not to proceed without having first taken the requisite advice…. The consequence can be serious and is not to be messed with!

Myth 4

Western Australia enjoys a regime unlike any other. In fact, Conveyancers by and large don’t exist in WA! Instead, they are called Settlement Agents! While we on this difference, for South Australian’s (the first state to legislate the creation of conveyancers), you should be aware that you must be a lawyer in order to sign off on conveyancing if purchasing in QLD. We would however recommend this as best, practice nationally, given the quantum of funds being invested!!

Myth 5

Operating nationally, is actually to do with Finance! Nationwide, always remember that all finance approvals are subject to satisfactory collateral – meaning, the bank has to be satisfied with the property you intend to purchase. What does this mean for you? If you are unsure, get a valuation BEFORE signing up, or speak to your practitioner about how to sign up safely!

Myth 6

Is more cautionary advice – as a Queenslander, unlike when buying in QLD, cooling off subject to finance is not included as a standard contract term. It must be drafted in as a special condition. In order to ensure clarity of the condition, make sure you speak to your practitioner and have them (not the real estate agent) draft the subject to finance clause. Subject to ‘Pest and Building Inspections’ should be treated the same as above and should always be drafted by your Practitioner.


Honestly, the list of differences near outweighs the similarities, save as to, the result at the end of the process. What is relevant to you as an interstate purchaser, is that you recognise the limitations of your knowledge in the new jurisdiction and take advice along the way in order to ensure you are adequately protected.

The team at Conveyancing.com.au have available to them a wealth of resources to help them explain to you, in the language of your local state, the process of the the interstate purchase (or sale) location. This should be the first step in your process. Remember, your conveyancer is only doing their job well, when they are advocating for your interests. That’s what the team at Conveyancing.com.au do best.

If you have more questions, get your no-cost, obligation-free consultation now by calling 1300 932 738.


This article is provided for general information purposes only. Its content is current at the date of publication. It is not legal advice and is not tailored to meet your individual needs. You should obtain specialist advice based on your specific circumstances before taking any action concerning the matters discussed in this article.

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