Legal Services

If you’re buying or selling a property in Geelong, you may have heard a lot of different terms being thrown around. But don’t be overwhelmed if you haven’t heard the majority of these before. With the help of experienced Geelong conveyancers, you are still more than capable of completing the purchase or sale of a home.

Our friendly Geelong conveyancers at the Hrkac Group have compiled an easy reference guide of some of the most common conveyancing terms to help you through the process. Refer to this glossary of conveyancing definitions as you come across them on your property selling or purchasing journey.


The real estate agent who the seller, or vendor, has engaged to manage the sale of the property.

When the sale of a property is conducted in public and is sold to the highest bidder.

A caveat is a legal claim lodged against a property by a person with an interest in the property. A caveat will prevent a property from being sold or transferred unless it is removed.

Common property
Areas of a property used by and belonging jointly to all owners of a property. This applies to such properties as apartment blocks or multi-dwelling complexes.

Contract of Sale
A written agreement between the buyer and seller of a property that outlines the terms and conditions of the sale, inclusions, price, descriptions of the property, and completion date.

Cooling off period
A period of three business days which commences from the date when an exchange of contracts has taken place between the purchaser and the buyer of the property. During this time, the purchaser can choose to walk away from the contract, though may be required to forfeit 0.2% of the purchase price. There are some circumstances in which a purchaser can’t cool off, such as buying at an auction.

An agreement creating an obligation on the titleholder of a property to do or refrain from doing something. For example, a restrictive covenant could state that no more than one dwelling may be built on the land.

A percentage of the purchase price for the property being sold. This amount of money is paid by the purchaser as an assurance that they are going ahead with the purchase of the property in question. This amount is usually held by the estate agent until all paperwork for the purchase of the property has been signed.

A right to use and access part of the land on the property. This right can belong to someone who is not the landowner. An easement is typically used when access is required for wires and pipes for maintenance of sewage, drainage, and electricity. An easement can also refer to shared driveways and paths on a property.

Refers to the fact that there’s a mortgage or caveat registered for the property title.

Having ‘equity in your own house’ refers to the difference between the market value of a property and what is still owing on a mortgage. This will increase as the loan is repaid or as the property’s market value increases.

Pre-approval is the stage where your bank/lender has confirmed an amount you are able to borrow, based upon your financial position. Finance is not guaranteed at this point and is conditional.

Unconditional Approval is the stage where your bank has carried out all the necessary enquiries, including a valuation on the property it is taking as security and has agreed to formally lend you the funds required for your purchase. This stage is “unconditional” because it doesn’t have any further conditions attached to it, except for the execution of documentation.

Items that are attached to the property and which ownership moves from the seller to the buyer with the property.

Joint ownership
Title to property is held in one of two ways. Joint tenants means that each person owns the property jointly and equally. In the event of one joint tenant surviving the other, the property automatically passes to the remaining joint tenant or tenants. Tenants in common means that each person owns a share (can be 50/50, 70/30, 99/1 or any share you wish) in the property. On the death of one party that share passes to whoever inherits their estate, so having a current Will is essential.

An amount of money loaned to a person or entity that is used to define the purchase of a property. This will be registered on the title to the property and can be used to claim a legal interest in the property purchased.

The person or entity who receives the mortgage.

The person or entity who provides the mortgage.

Mortgage guarantee insurance
Paid by the borrower to protect the lender against failure by the borrower to keep up mortgage repayments or to pay back the loan in full when it is due. Such insurance normally applies where the borrower’s loan exceeds 80% of the value of the property. This type of insurance is taken out by the lender, with the cost passed on to the borrower. The borrower remains liable for any shortfall; for example, if the property is sold and the proceeds do not cover what is owed to the lender.

Off the Plan
An ‘Off the Plan’ property is a unit or house that has not yet been built, and you have agreed to buy based on the Developers’ plans.

Owners corporation
Formerly known as a body corporate. An owners corporation has the collective ownership of the common area in a subdivision of land or buildings. It is responsible for the administration, upkeep, and insurance of the common area shared by all the owners (the common property).

Section 32/S32
Information that the seller must provide to the buyer advising of restrictions such as covenants and easements, outgoings such as rates, and any other notices such as compulsory acquisition. Also known as a vendor’s statement.

When ownership of a property passes from the seller to the buyer and the balance of the sale price is paid to the seller.

Stamp duty
A state government tax, based on the sale price of a property, paid by the buyer when property ownership is transferred. Also known as duty.

Statement of adjustments
A document that includes all the adjustments of certain costs such as taxes, rates, water, rent, and how they are divided up between the purchaser and the vendor. Until settlement, the vendor must pay all expenses pertaining to the property. These expenses transfer over to the new owner of the property upon completion of the settlement.

The process of dividing one piece of land into different lots. This is a common practice among buyers who wish to buy land with the intention of building multiple houses or units on it.

Subject to finance
A contract clause that states the purchaser of the property in question has to obtain finance for a set amount by a certain date. Failure to do so releases them from the buyer’s contract without a financial penalty.

A legal document identifying who has a right to the ownership of a property.

Transfer of Land
A document recording the change of ownership of a property from the seller to the buyer.

An individual or entity selling land.

The permissible uses of an area of land as stipulated by the council.


Geelong Conveyancing

If you’re interested in knowing more about what is required when buying or selling a home, speak to the expert Geelong conveyancers at The Hrkac Group. A smooth property settlement depends on all legal and financial obligations being met, and that can require liaison between a number of different parties including solicitors, lenders, and real estate agents – even representatives of local councils.

Our Geelong conveyancers’ expertise and experience in facilitating a stress-free settlement can help ensure a positive outcome for you. So, whether it’s a change of name or transfer of title, an application for subdivision, or any matter regarding commercial or residential conveyancing, you can rest easy knowing it can be handled under one roof at the Hrkac Group. If you’re looking for Geelong conveyancing, look no further. To make an appointment to meet one of our friendly Geelong Conveyancers today, feel free to contact us via email or phone (03) 5224 2366.