Buying a Rural Property

Buying a rural property? To ensure you’re covered in all situations that could arise, engage the services of a full-spectrum law firm like us, rather than just a conveyancer. Our team has years of experience handling the conveyancing for rural property purchases. 

Whether you intend to live there, manage a farm, or use the property as a weekender, owning a rural property can be extremely rewarding. While the actual process for buying rural property is similar to buying a house elsewhere, you do need to consider a few additional things.

It is important that you carefully inspect the property and that you have someone experienced look over the Contract before you commit to buy. There may be some issues that the Vendor is not obliged to tell you about. A thorough inspection, and some careful questions, may help to uncover them.

Our Conveyancing team will be able to advise you about some of the pitfalls involved in purchasing rural property. We can recommend, and carry out, particular searches on the property that may reveal issues you should be aware of.

Some issues to consider when buying rural property:

Access to the property

You need to make sure you have both a legal AND practical means of access to the property. It could be that the original Surveyor’s plan included a road to access the property, but that in reality, that road is just an overgrown track which is inaccessible. Make sure you can actually get to the property, legally.

Enclosure permits

Native vegetation


You need to find out if the property has Crown roads running through it. In that case, the owner will generally rent those roads. An enclosure permit allows the owner to enclose a Crown road or watercourse within the property by fencing.

The Native Vegetation Act sets out what you can do with vegetation on your property such as clearing and farming. If you intend to farm the land, you’ll need to first find out if there are any issues that may prevent you going ahead.

You’ll need to check whether the land is subject to any mining licenses or applications.

Noxious Weeds

You should find out if there are any weed problems on the property, or whether there are any weed control notices in force.

What are the steps involved in buying a rural property?

1. The Contract

We will explain the Contract to you, ask the Vendor’s solicitor to make any necessary
amendments and have you sign the Contract.

2. Inspections and reports

Before contracts are exchanged there are a number of things which may need to be attended to. We recommend that the following inspections take place, which we are happy to arrange for you:


  • Pest Inspection Report - We recommend that a qualified Pest Inspector thoroughly check the property. This will give you information about any damage such as termite infestation.

  • Building Inspection Report - We recommend that a qualified Building Inspector thoroughly check the property to let you know its structural condition.

  • On-site sewerage treatment system Inspection - We can arrange for Council to inspect on-site sewerage treatment system at the property to let you know whether the system is working properly or if Council requires any works to be done.

  • Council Building Certificate - We can arrange for Council to inspect the property to let you know whether or not the house has been approved or if it has any concerns.

3. Finance

If you are borrowing money to help buy the property, we will need to give your finance provider copies of certain documents. We can contact the person you have been dealing with, in order to avoid unnecessary delays in getting your finance approved.

4. Deposit 

The Normally you will need to pay 10% of the purchase price to the Vendor’s real estate agent before we commit you to buy the strata property. Sometimes an agreement is reached for a smaller deposit to be paid. If you are not able to pay a deposit, please contact our office to discuss the option of paying a deposit by way of a Deposit Bond.

5.Exchange of contracts

Once all of the above matters have been dealt with, we will confirm with you that you are happy to proceed. If you are, we will exchange the Contract signed by you with the Contract signed by the Vendor. Then the property is off the market!

6. Between exchange and settlement

During this period (usually 4 – 6 weeks) we will conduct enquiries into the title of the property you are buying. Several of these enquiries are to Council, the Water Authority and the Strata Manager to ascertain whether or not rates and levies are paid up to date. We will prepare a Transfer and arrange for it to be stamped by the Office of State Revenue before settlement. We will prepare a Notice which will be sent to the Strata Manager following settlement to let them know that you are the new owner of the property. We will also be working with your finance provider (if applicable) to ensure that everything is in order for settlement to take place on the appointed day.

7. The last week before settlement

We will calculate the amount that you owe the Vendor (including a daily adjustment for any rates and levies together with any other agreed allowances) and make arrangements to collect the money from you and your finance provider (if applicable). You will be able to have a final look at the property to make sure everything is in order before we complete your purchase. We will remind you about this as settlement gets closer. You should then contact the agent to make a time to go back to the property for a final inspection. If everything is in order, we will make arrangements for your purchase to be settled. If there are problems with your final inspection that the agent cannot resolve, let us know and we will contact the Vendor’s solicitor to work things out.

8. Settlement

Today is the day you will own your new strata property!
Once we have searched the title one last time, we will attend settlement and ensure that the correct title and transfer documents are handed over. Then we will give the Vendor’s solicitor the balance of money owing on the property. As soon as we return to our office, we will call you to let you know that settlement has taken place. You will then be able to collect the keys from the agent and start moving in!

Need help buying a rural property? call us today

Some common questions about buying rural property:

What happens if I can't access the property as legally set out in the plan?

If the means of access to the property isn’t practical, you may need to negotiate an easement with one of the neighbours to gain access to your property through theirs. We can advise you about how best to proceed in this event.

If there are Crown roads running through my property, what are my responsibilities?

The Department of Primary Industries – Lands – NSW will be able to answer any questions you have about Crown roads that appear on your property plan.

Who is responsible for my property's on site sewerage treatment system?

You, the owner. Rural properties with dwellings usually have their own on site sewerage treatment  system. If the property has its own system, the details should be included with the contract for sale. You can be fined if your system negatively impacts on the environment.

What are easements over property?

This means that someone else has a right to use your land for a specific purpose, even though you have the legal property title. For example, an electricity authority may have a right of way to access your property in order to run power lines and maintain or repair equipment. We can check if there are any easements or rights of way on the property and ensure that you understand the implications.

Our Conveyancing  team can walk you through the steps you need to take in order to own your new rural property.