Frequently asked questions

Most contracts to buy real estate in Western Australia are made by way of offer and acceptance on the standard two-page Contract for sale of land or strata title by offer and acceptance (O&A) published by the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) and the Law Society of Western Australia. The seemingly simple document incorporates the 2018 General Conditions set out in a separate 21-page booklet that is far more complicated. Both the O&A and the General Conditions are updated from time to time. If you’re buying or selling real estate, you need to understand both the O&A and the General Conditions – or have access to a professional who does.

Settlement is the process by which a contract to buy and sell real estate is completed. Settlement representatives ensure that legal title to real estate is transferred from sellers to buyers, rates are adjusted and the purchase price is paid.

The seller and the buyer each need a settlement representative. It is permissible for both parties to have the same representative however it is usually preferable for the parties to be separately represented.

Want more information? Read our post – What does a settlement agent do?

As buyer, you should attend to the following matters, where applicable, before the settlement date:

  • Arrange for the real estate agent to give you the keys to the property on the date of possession.
  • Ensure the property is adequately insured from date of possession or on the settlement date (whichever date is the earlier).
  • Have the electricity service and any gas service transferred into your name from the date of possession. Any outstanding electricity or gas account is the seller’s responsibility and will not be apportioned at settlement.
  • Arrange for any telephone, internet, pay television and other telecommunications services you require to be installed or transfer your existing services to the property.
  • Inspect the property a few days before the settlement date.

As seller, you should attend to the following matters, where applicable, before the settlement date:

  • Arrange for the real estate agent to give the keys to the property to the buyer on the date of possession or, if you occupy the premises as your principal place of residence, at noon on the day following settlement.
  • Cancel your insurance on the property no sooner than the day after the buyer takes possession or settlement (whichever occurs first).
  • Cancel the electricity and gas services. Any amount for electricity or gas consumed by you up to the date of possession or settlement is your responsibility and will not be apportioned at settlement.
  • Cancel your telephone, internet, pay television and any other telecommunications services or transfer them to your new residence.

The standard REIWA contract provides that if for any reason attributable to the other party, settlement is not completed within 3 business days after the settlement date, you may demand compensation at the rate of 9% per annum on the balance of the purchase price payable (penalty interest). Penalty interest is calculated from the settlement date to the date upon which settlement is completed and must be paid at settlement.

Your right to compensation is subject to you and your lender (if any) being ready, willing and able to complete settlement on the settlement date. If you are not ready, willing and able to settle on the settlement date, then your right to compensation begins from the date upon which you give written notice to the other party that you are ready, willing and able to complete the settlement.

We will only claim penalty interest on your behalf if we receive your written instructions to do so. We will advise you should there be any delay in settlement.

For more information, read out blog post Penalties for late settlement.

As of 9 August 2009 the Electricity Regulations 1947 (WA) require sellers of residential properties built after 1 January 2000 to install at least 2 residual current devices (RCD’s) in the premises before the sale is completed. As of 1 October 2009 it is compulsory that mains powered smoke alarms are installed in residential properties prior to sale.

Prior to settlement, the seller should provide the buyer with a certificate certifying that RCD’s and smoke alarms are installed in accordance with the Electricity (Licensing) Regulations 1991.

For more information, please see the RCD’s fact sheet or the Smoke alarms fact sheet.

Unless stated in the contract, the property is sold free of all encumbrances. This means that, at settlement, any mortgages, caveats and other encumbrances must be discharged so that the buyer receives a clear title.

If there is a mortgage or other encumbrance on the title, the seller must contact the relevant financial institution or other persons and request that the encumbrance be removed at settlement.

The most common reason that settlement is delayed by a seller is that the discharging financier is not ready to settle. If settlement is delayed for this reason the seller may be liable to pay penalty interest to the buyer.

All local authority rates, Water Corporation rates, strata levies and land tax (outgoings) for the current year will be apportioned between the buyer and seller with the effect that:

  • the seller pays the outgoings up to and including the settlement date or possession date (whichever is earlier); and
  • the buyer pays the outgoings from the day after the settlement date or possession date (whichever is earlier).

We will notify those authorities of the change of ownership.

If land tax is payable by the seller in respect of the property, it will not be apportioned where:

  • the property is a residence which is capable of being used as a residence and for no other purpose; or
  • the property includes a residence which is capable of being used as a residence and:
    • the land is less than 2 hectares; and
    • that part of the land on which the residence is not constructed is used solely for an agricultural purpose.

Transfer duty (formerly known as stamp duty) is a State Government tax calculated on the value of the property. You can calculate transfer duty using our settlement calculator.

The buyer is liable to pay transfer duty on the contract and transfer. You may be eligible for a reduced rate of transfer duty if you are a first home buyer or you are buying a residence for owner occupation.

You must lodge your contract at the Office of State Revenue for assessment within 2 months of the contract date. If you fail to do so you may be liable to pay a fine or late lodgement penalties.

Load More


Our bright and highly trained team members will anticipate your needs and exceed your expectations.


We're available to take your call 7 days a week
Call (08) 9220 4430


We will respond to your online enquiry within one business day
Online enquiry


Appoint us to get started on your settlement
Appoint us