Advice when buying or selling property

Buying a home or investment property can be the most expensive thing you ever do.  It is important to understand what is involved. Consider the following before you commit to buy.

Use a solicitor or conveyancer

Doing your own conveyancing is risky. You can't get the same insurance available to a licensed conveyancer or solicitor.  If you make a mistake, and suffer loss as a result, you will be unable to get financial compensation.  If you use a solicitor or conveyancer and suffer loss as a result of their negligence, you may be able to take action against them.

Search for a licensed conveyancer

Independent financial advice

Get your own independent financial advice about insurance, getting a mortgage and the fees you are likely to pay. It is illegal for real estate agents to give financial advice.

'Cooling off periods'

Be sure the property you are buying is what you want. 'Cooling-off' periods for residential property sales are not a requirement under the Property Agents and Land Transactions Act 2016 (the Act). Further, there is no requirement under the Act to disclose defects in the quality of the property for sale.  Asking the right questions could save you money and trouble.  "Buyer beware" is the position you should take.

Pre-purchase building inspections

Properties can have significant faults which can lead to major repair costs. Without a pre-purchase inspection, this information might be unknown to the purchaser. We recommend that you have a pre-purchase inspection done before you buy a property. A pre-purchase inspection is a thorough inspection which may identify any significant faults or defects with the building(s) on the premises.

Tips before you buy a property

  • Make a pre-purchase inspection part of your due diligence before buying a property
  • Ask the person doing the inspection to provide their qualifications, experience and competencies
  • A pre-purchase inspector does not have to hold a building services provider licence
  • Licensed building surveyors and builders have the qualifications, experience and competencies to perform pre-purchase inspections

Search for a licensed building provider

Other information about the property for sale

A consumer can ask the Council if it there are any relevant records in relation to the property for sale.  A Land Information Certificate (often called a 337 Certificate) can reveal:

  • whether completion certificates have been issued for building and plumbing permits
  • whether there is an occupancy permit for the building
  • if there are any outstanding enforcement on the property, and
  • what the zoning of the site is.

Contact your local council for information on any associated fees.

Other searches are usually started after a contract has been signed unless legal advice recommends otherwise.


The Tasmanian Law Society and the Real Estate Institute of Tasmania publish a standard form contract. This type of contract is used for the majority of property sales in this state. Standard sale contracts contain limited ‘get out’ clauses. The most common ones are conditions to get finance and building inspection clauses.

Consumers can take some simple steps  to see if there are restrictions or obligations involved when buying residential property. Make sure you read and understand all the terms, conditions and 'fine print' before you sign a contract. Keep a copy of all documents you sign.

Legal reforms

The Tasmanian Government supported the Law Society of Tasmania and the Real Estate Institute of Tasmania in a review process of the standard form contract. Vendor disclosure and cooling off periods were added as an option for purchasers and vendors to use in the contract for the sale of residential property.

More information and/or complaints about property agents is available from the Property Agents Board - Tasmania

Land valuers

The Office of the Valuer General - Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) administers the Valuation of Land Act 2001.

The Director of Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading may receive complaints against a land valuer and may investigate and determine if there are grounds for disciplinary action and may:

  • prohibit the land valuer from carrying on business as a land valuer;
  • prohibit the land valuer from being employed or otherwise engaged in the business of a land valuer;
  • prohibit the land land valuer from being a director of a body corporate that is a land valuer;
  • reprimand the land valuer; and/or
  • require the land valuer to pay the reasonable costs of the hearing or any investigation conducted for the purposes of the hearing, or both.

If you are unsatisfied with the Director's decision you can lodge an appeal in the Magistrates Court (Administrative Appeals) Division within 28 days of the date of the decision.

Related information

Updated: 07 Nov 2022

This page has been produced and published by the Consumer Building and Occupational Services Division of the Department of Justice. Although every care has been taken in production, no responsibility is accepted for the accuracy, completeness, or relevance to the user's purpose of the information. Those using it for whatever purpose are advised to verify it with the relevant government department, local government body or other source and to obtain any appropriate professional advice. The Crown, its officers, employees and agents do not accept liability however arising, including liability for negligence, for any loss resulting from the use of or reliance upon the information and/or reliance on its availability at any time.