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The Documents and Paperwork you Need to Sell your House

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The Documents and Paperwork you Need to Sell your House

Selling your house or investment property is a big decision that can be a long and involved process. The documents and paperwork you need to sell your house are highly important to the process and should be prepared with the help of a solicitor.

Contract of sale

One of the two most important documents when it comes to selling a property is a contract of sale which is a legally binding document that legitimizes the sales transaction. The sales contract outlines exactly what the buyer will receive on settlement day, including the condition that the property is in, and any other important information concerning the property.

The exact requirements for a contract of sale vary state by state. In some states the contract of sale must be prepared before the property can be listed on the market, or the seller receives a fine. Before you begin the process of selling your property, it is important to be across the specific requirements under your state.

There are two main types of contracts: a contract of sale and an auction contract. The contract of sale should be prepared by a solicitor or conveyancer.

The contract of sale must also include the following documents:

  • Title documents
  • Drainage diagram
  • Current planning certificate issued by the local council
  • Inclusions and exclusions outlined (standard inclusions in property sales include fittings and fixtures like floor coverings, light fittings and window coverings)
  • The date of settlement

Once both parties sign the contract, a cooling-off period begins in which the buyer is able to pull out of the sale or make amends to the contract. Cooling-off periods vary state by state, but generally they last between two to five days. Once the cooling-off period has ended, the sale is locked in and both the buyer and seller are legally bound by the contract.

Vendor’s statement

The second vital document to securing a sale on your property, a vendor’s statement (also called a section 32) is a legal document prepared by your solicitor that details information about the land. This includes explaining whether there is a mortgage on the property, arrangements that will restrict what the buyer can do with the property, council zoning and associated declarations. This also includes any easements the land may be subject to. This should cover things like drainage, rights of way or powerlines.

The vendor’s statement must be provided to the buyer before they sign a contract of sale. Additionally, the contract of sale can be withdrawn if the vendor’s statement is unsuitable, incorrect or contains missing information about the property.

Discharging your mortgage

If you have an existing mortgage on your home, it must be finalised before you can proceed through to settlement. This can be a long and costly process, so it might be a good idea to contact your mortgage lender before putting your house up for sale, to make sure that you are aware of the process and the costs involved with discharging your mortgage.

The documentation you will have to provide to the lender is a complete discharge mortgage form. The process of discharging a mortgage can take a few weeks to process, so it is necessary to get this submitted ahead of time, and to be aware of the costs that are involved.


Settlement is the final stage of the selling process, where the seller receives the money owed for the property from the buyer and the keys are handed over. Settlement usually takes place six weeks after the contract of sale is exchanged.

During settlement, more documents are typically involved. This can include the certificate of title deed for the property as well as a transfer document. The buyer is entitled to inspect the property before settlement to make sure that it is in the same condition as at the contract date, and that any and all goods included in the contract of sale are left at the property site.