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Real Estate and Settlements

When do I have to vacate my property?

The Joint Form of General Conditions under which most properties are sold, states the seller has until 12pm of the day following settlement to vacate the property and hand over the keys.

When can I collect the keys to my new property?

Keys can usually be collected from the real estate agent from 12pm on the day following settlement.

How quickly can we settle?

The Settlement Date is negotiated between the parties and the agreed date for settlement is recorded in the Contract. Settlements are typically completed within 21-28 days from finance approval however they can occur quicker than 21 days and may take longer than 28 days, depending on the buyers’ and/or sellers’ particular circumstances.

What is the First Home Owner Rate of transfer stamp duty (“FHOR”)?

A person who:

  • qualifies for a First Home Owner Grant (‘grant’)
  • would have otherwise qualified for a grant had consideration been paid, or for the purchase of an established home
  • is an Indian Ocean Territory resident acquiring their first home
  • may be entitled to the first home owner rate (‘FHOR’) of duty on the transfer, or agreement to transfer (i.e. the contract for sale), in respect of the purchase of the home or vacant land.

For Western Australian property purchases we encourage you to refer to the WA Office of State Revenue duty calculator to estimate the cost of your duty.

Can I apply for the HBAA Rebate?

The REBA Home Buyers Assistance Account (HBAA) Scheme is available to first home buyers purchasing a property for less than $400,000. This scheme provides up to $2,000 to cover incidental expenses. In order to qualify for this rebate you must fulfil a number of criteria, including but not limited to:

  • The price of the property must not exceed $400,000
  • The applicant (you) must not have previously owned a property
  • The property must be purchased through a licensed real estate agent
  • The purchase must be financed by a lending institution which will lodge the application on your behalf
  • The dwelling must be established (or at least partially constructed) at the time of acceptance of the contract. It can’t be an “off the plan” purchase
  • The purchased property must be your principal place of residence
  • The application should be lodged no more than 90 days after the date on which the offer to purchase the dwelling was accepted.

For Further information on the HBAA Rebate, including how to apply, please refer to: www.commerce.wa.gov.au/hbaa

What is an ATO Clearance Certificate? Do I need one?

As from 1 July 2017, all Australian home owners who sell their home for more than $750,000 must get a Clearance Certificate from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) confirming they are not a foreign resident owner.

* In Western Australia, approximately 20% of homes each year (5,000+) sell for more than $750,000. If you, as the home owner/vendor, don’t provide a Clearance Certificate at settlement, the buyer is required to withhold 12.5% of the purchase price ($93,750+) and pay it to the ATO.

Vendors must ensure the details on their clearance certificate application are accurate, so the Clearance Certificate issues in the correct name, matching what is shown on the Certificate of Title of the property.

For the purchaser to rely on the clearance certificate, the ATO requires the following three conditions be met:

  • The name of the vendor on the Clearance Certificate must match the name on the Certificate of Title (for details for Trusts and superannuation funds – refer to the ATO website for further clarification)
  • the date the certificate is given to the purchaser must be a date that falls within the time period shown on the clearance certificate
  • the clearance certificate must be provided to the purchaser before settlement.

It typically takes up to 14 days to get a Clearance Certificate from the ATO. If you leave it too late to apply for one you risk delaying your settlement, which can result in adverse financial consequences.

If an Australian tax resident vendor has withholding tax taken from their sale proceeds, for example because they didn’t provide the purchaser with a clearance certificate, they will be able to claim a credit for that amount when they lodge their tax return. This credit may be refunded if they don’t have to pay capital gains tax on the sale of the property (for example, because it was their main residence).

Refer to the ATO website here for full details.

Why do I have to install Residual Current Devices (RCD’s) and Hard-wired smoke alarms before I sell or lease my property?


In Western Australia it’s law that a minimum of two RCDs protecting all power and lighting circuits must be fitted to a residential property before it can be sold and the transfer of title takes place. Penalties apply if RCDs are not fitted and the land title is transferred to another person.

Where a property is intended to be demolished, the seller is not required to install RCDs at the point of sale. The buyer must provide written notice to the seller, stating that the property will be demolished within six months of transfer. If the property is not demolished within six months of transfer, the buyer must then install the required number of RCDs. If the buyer does not do so, he/she is in breach of the legislation.

Similarly, landlords must arrange for a minimum of two RCDs to be installed at their rental premises before offering the property for lease.

Please click here and here for more information.

Hard-wired smoke detectors

Western Australia’s Building Regulations (2012) require the owner of a dwelling to have compliant hard-wired smoke alarms installed:

  • prior to the sale or transfer of ownership
  • where a dwelling is rented under a residential tenancy agreement or made available for such rental
  • where a dwelling is made available for hire

For more information please see the DFES factsheet here.

Who tells the local Council, the Water Authority and other state government departments when the ownership of a property is changing?

During the settlement process, typically once finance is approved, the buyer’s settlement agent completes an Electronic Advice of Sale (EAS).*

The EAS notifies the local council/shire, Water Authority, State Government departments, The Office of State Revenue and Landgate of the settlement transfer taking place. We advise the rating authorities of the settlement date, the date of the agreement and the new owners of the property. If circumstances change and the mailing address changes in the time between when the EAS is completed and the settlement is finalised, your settlement agent can amend the mailing address.

*Note: It is the responsibility of the new owner to advise utilities such as gas, telephone, power and internet service providers of the change of ownership. Due to privacy regulations your settlement agent does not have the authority to deal with these services on your behalf.

What happens if I’ve lost my Original Certificate of Title?

AAG Settlements can prepare and submit an ‘Application for Lost Title’ with Landgate (WA’s land titles office). This process is typically quite straight forward.

The applicant has to be the registered owner on the Certificate of Title (Title) . Along with this application, Landgate requires a Statutory Declaration which must abide by the current regulations.

The circumstances cited as to how you lost your Title must be valid. All reasonable searches must be made prior to completing and submitting the Application for Lost Title and the accompanying Statutory Declaration. In addition, Landgate requires full disclosure of who resides at the property, who was last in possession of the Title, where it is usually kept and who had access to the it.

AAG Settlements can assist you with your application and we have the necessary qualified people in our office to witness your signature/s on the required documents.

What kinds of insurance cover should I hold when renting my house to tenants?

As a general rule of thumb, Landlord Insurance covers the structure of the building, including carports and garages, but tenants are responsible for insuring their own possessions.

You can purchase additional cover such as Rent Default and Loss of Rent to minimise any financial loss you may experience due to unexpected adverse tenant issues.

The terms, conditions and policy wordings vary between insurers, so we recommend that you consult a qualified insurance broker to assist you to determine the type and level of cover you require.

Please contact us on (08) 9227 6300 or realestate@austasiagroup.com for more information. We’d be happy to refer you on to our trusted contact for this type of insurance.

What happens when my tenant doesn’t paid their rent on time?

As managing agents, we monitor and action any rent arrears on your behalf. If a tenant is more than 2 days late in paying, we issue a Breach Notice for Non-Payment of Rent under the Residential Tenancy Act. Once served with the notice, the tenant has 7 days to pay the rent arrears. If payment is not made within that time, we will prepare and lodge Court documents to terminate the lease and recover costs.

If you manage your own property and are experiencing issues with your tenants, please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss how we can assist you.

Published Date: Jun 5, 2020 | Last Modified: July 24, 2020