When people are buying and selling real property, they often ask, “how long will the conveyancing process take?”.  The answer is similar to the length of the proverbial piece of string. Like a piece of string, however, there is an identifiable beginning and an end.

After a buyer has been found for a property, Contracts for the Sale of Land are negotiated and exchanged between the Purchaser (buyer) and the Vendor (seller). This is the beginning of the conveyancing process. The conveyancing process is finished at settlement which is when all contractual obligations between the purchaser and the vendor have been completed.


Exchanging contracts is an important part of the conveyancing process. It is where the deposit is confirmed to be held and the contract signed by the Vendor and the contract signed by the Purchaser are checked page by page to ensure they match, and are then quite literally swapped over. After exchange the Vendor is holding the Purchaser’s signed contract and the Purchaser is holding the Vendor’s signed contract. The contracts are then dated and the terms of the contract become legally binding on the parties. The date of exchange is the beginning of the contract and is the date from which all of the time limits (cooling off period, finance approval, adjustments, settlement etc) are calculated.

The period after exchange is where a lot happens in a short period of time. The ordinary contract period for residential conveyances is 42 days (or 6 weeks). During this time bank documents such as loan and mortgage documents, discharge authorities and many other documents will be executed. It is also during this time that your Solicitor will be ensuring that you are complying with your obligations under the Contract and preparing for settlement.  This involves working out the final purchase price, ensuring you will receive good title to the property and liaising with your bank to ensure that they are ready for settlement.


This is the end of the contract period where the balance of the purchase price is paid by the Purchaser to the Vendor, and the title to the property changes hands from the Vendor to the Purchaser.  Sometimes unforeseen events occur which is why proper planning and experienced legal representation is crucial. Common issues that arise are prior to settlement are damage to the property after contracts were exchanged and insufficient cash funds to complete the purchase. Our experienced property law Solicitors have seen these and many more issues arise, but there is often a quick and easy solution available.

Property settlements are now largely conducted online and is known in general terms as electronic conveyancing. There is an electronic workspace set up and instead of all the parties gathering around a table to swap physical documents and bank cheques, all the parties now meet ‘electronically’. The property title and the purchase monies are transferred are then transferred online.  Online settlement means that there settlements can be conducted quickly and accurately. For Vendors, the sale proceeds are generally transferred directly into their bank account following settlement so there is no more waiting for a cheque to be banked and cleared!

If you need assistance buying or selling real property, do not hesitate to contact Turner Freeman Lawyers on 13 43 63 or via our online enquiry form.