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What a difference a 'state' makes!

Moving to a sunnier climate or to a real four-seasons climate? Looking to invest in a city you don't call home?

Australia is one big beautiful country, but ... 'how things work' in real estate in one state may not be the way it works in another.

Here are just a few differences (but by no means all):

Inspecting a property in ...

Victoria: Sellers must prepare a Section 32 document for any buyers. This includes information such as mortgages/debts charged against the land, planning information, disclosure of services connected to the property, and any registered building work that has been carried out in the last 10 years. It's the most comprehensive such information available for buyers by any state in Australia.

New South Wales: Again, sellers have to provide certain information (Schedule 1 Prescribed Documents) but far less information than on those in Victoria. You should also obtain a proper inspection report if you're a buyer in NSW.

ACT: Sellers are busy in the ACT as they have to provide various documents to the buyer before sale, such as an assessment of the physical condition of the property, an asbestos assessment report, any restrictions to development on the land, an energy efficiency rating statement, and a pest inspection report.

South Australia: A Form 1 disclosure statement must be provided through the seller's real estate agent. Similar to the NSW form in content, buyers should also obtain an inspection report

Queensland, Western Australia, Northern Territory, Tasmania: A Disclosure Statement is no longer mandatory in these states. However, sellers in Western Australia should provide a Seller's Disclosure Statement for their selling agent. An independent inspection report is again recommended for all buyers.

Contract preparation

Again, there are variations and here in Queensland there have been many surprised interstate/overseas sellers and buyers - here it's not the solicitor/conveyancer, but the real estate agent who draws up the contract.

Cooling off period

Buyers should be very mindful of the state-to-state differences and not miss the deadlines (if there are any) for the cooling off period.

Victoria: Three days for private sales of residential property less than 20Ha, unless it's sold 3 days before or after a scheduled auction. In this case and for auctions there is no cooling off period.

Queensland, NSW, ACT: Five days cooling off period for private sale, none for auctions.

South Australia: Two days cooling off period for buyers here. However there is no cooling off for investors in South Australia or Western Australia.

Stamp Duty / Land Transfer Tax

This depends on the purpose of the property and also which state. The state revenue office websites provide stamp duty/transfer calculators.

For Queensland, the Transfer Duty calculator is found here .

Hannah's Tip

Ensure you have organised a conveyancer/solicitor in the state you are buying the property. They know all the ins and outs of the local legislation and can advise you. Never assume the same rules and regulations apply to another state.

"Purchasing interstate is a great way to spread risk across your property's portfolio or capitalise on growth areas – just make sure you do your homework." sums up seasoned Property Observer writer, Jessie Richardson.


(Source: "Buying interstate? the information you need to know", Property Observer, Louise Moeller – HSBrisbaneProperty Marketing)

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