The Conveyancing Process

Conveyancing involves several key steps to transfer the legal ownership of a property from the seller to the buyer.

While the specifics may vary depending on individual circumstances, the general process for residential conveyancing in Tasmania can be summarised as follows.

Contract Preparation and Engagement of Legal Representation

The majority of property transfers in Tasmania use the standard Sale of Land contract prepared by the Law Society of Tasmania and endorsed by the Real Estate Institute of Tasmania. Where the seller has appointed a licenced real estate agent to market the property, the contract, which includes details such as the property's description, sale price, settlement date, and any special conditions, is usually prepared by that agent. The contract is then often signed and exchanged before the buyer and seller's legal representatives become involved. Where there is no agent involved however, the contract will usually be prepared by the seller's legal representative. Where the contract includes special clauses or the buyer elects, the contract may also be reviewed by the buyer's legal representative before being finalised. Once the cooling off period (if any) has passed, the contract becomes legally binding on both parties, subject to any agreed pre-conditions and the deposit (usually a percentage of the purchase price) becomes payable by the buyer.


The standard contract may include a pre-condition concerning the buyer's right to obtain a satisfactory building inspection of any building on the property. There may also be a pre-condition specifying that the contract will only proceed if the buyer is able to obtain sufficient finance (within a nominated period) to complete the purchase, or sell an existing property to finance the purchase. Once the pre-conditions have been satisfied, waived or lapsed, the contract is described as being "unconditional". If any of the agreed pre-conditions is not satisfied however, the contract ends, and the buyer is entitled to the return of any deposit paid. 

Due Diligence

Once the contract becomes "unconditional" the buyer's legal representative conducts due diligence on the property. This will usually include property searches for easements or encumbrances, council searches for any missing certificates or zoning restrictions, wayleaves searches, and TasWater searches if applicable.

Settlement Preparation

Both parties' legal representatives then work to prepare for settlement, which involves finalising financial arrangements, transferring ownership of the property, and ensuring all necessary documentation is in order.

Final Inspection

Prior to settlement, the buyer usually conducts a final inspection of the property to ensure that it is in the same condition as when contracts were exchanged and that any agreed-upon repairs or inclusions have been completed satisfactorily.


On the agreed settlement date, the buyer's legal representative arranges for the payment of the remaining purchase price, and the seller's legal representative facilitates the transfer of ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer. This process currently occurs face to face between the representatives of the buyer and seller. After February 2025 it is intended that this will occur electronically through the use of an online conveyancing platform.

Post-Settlement Procedures

After settlement, the buyer's legal representative or financier registers the change of ownership with the Land Titles Office.

The Conveyancing Professional

Throughout the conveyancing process, both parties' legal representatives liaise with each other, as well as with real estate agents, lenders, and other relevant parties, to ensure that the transaction proceeds smoothly and in accordance with legal requirements. Effective communication, attention to detail, and adherence to deadlines are essential for a successful conveyancing transaction, and that's what you get when you engage Finlay Watchorn.

Finlay & Watchorn

On 8 July 1880, the law firm of Finlay & Watchorn was founded by William Alexander Finlay and Arthur Denison Watchorn in a modest 2-storey Victorian Building at 32 Murray Street, Hobart. In the early 1980s the firm opened an office at Kingston in the rapidly expanding municipality of Kingborough and since 2010 the firm has been wholly based in Kingston.

Online or In Person

Our office is in Kingston, but you do not need to come to Kingston to instruct us. We regularly meet with clients online by Zoom or Microsoft Teams and can arrange home or hospital visits where necessary. If you do wish to visit, we have free client parking immediately behind our premises.