Last updated 21 June 2016

Conveyancing costs

Solicitors’ costs

Competition among solicitors has substantially reduced conveyancing costs. However, it may not always be wise to take the cheapest quote. Check the service being offered.

On retaining a solicitor to do a conveyance, it is wise to discuss and agree on the cost of the conveyance beforehand including likely sundry expenses that will be charged in addition to professional fees.

Search and registration fees

Search fees must be paid at the Department of Natural Resources and Mines and to local councils and other authorities. The department charges registration fees for any release of mortgage (payable by the seller), the transfer and any mortgage.

Transfer duty

Transfer duty (previously referred to as stamp duty) on the contract of sale is usually the biggest outlay incurred during the purchase of a property. Transfer duty is payable by the buyer, usually before settlement if a lender is involved.

The transfer duty rates as listed on the Queensland Government website are effective from 21 September 2012 in Queensland.

When the buyer will live in the house as their home, a concessional rate of duty will apply. First home buyers may also be eligible for an additional concession. Information on transfer duty payable in these circumstances as well as the first home vacant land transfer duty concession may be obtained from the Office of State Revenue.

If the buyer and seller are related by blood or marriage, or if the Office of State Revenue is not satisfied that the contract price is the actual value of the property being transferred, a valuation of the property is necessary, and duty is charged on that assessed market value.

Mortgage costs

Before signing any contract, a buyer should be aware of all the costs that are involved in the purchase and the obtaining of a mortgage. Some lenders will engage solicitors to prepare mortgage documents. Buyers are often charged for this. Although most banks and many finance companies prepare their own mortgage documents, they may charge extra for such items as loan establishment fees and the cost of obtaining a valuation of the property.

Mortgage duty was abolished in Queensland from 1 July 2008.