Contact your local estate agent and request a market appraisal on your existing home.

Once you have established the market value of your home, visit a financial adviser to gain qualified information on how much you are capable of repaying. Specific loan details may be obtained from a financial institution.

Ascertain all the costs associated with the changeover. Don’t overlook the costs of selling your present home, repayment of any existing mortgage, stamp duty, legal fees and marketing expenses.

When you have established how much money you can afford to spend, investigate local market values. Check local and daily newspapers, the internet, talk to real estate agents in the area you intend purchasing in, attend auctions and open house inspections. A real estate agents advice is invaluable. Expert knowledge and experience can make home hunting far easier and more profitable.

It is the agent's role to assist you in making a smooth transition and they will appreciate your effort to be well prepared and informed.

If I may be of any further assistance, please feel free to contact one of our Property Advisors.

Inspect the property thoroughly. This may be arranged by appointment with the auctioneers or by attending an “Open house”. Upon inspection, pay particular attention to the structure and condition of the property. If you have any concerns you would be wise to engage the assistance of a specialist, ie builder/architect in this area.

The selling agent will not disclose the reserve price but may give you a general indication of the expected price range. By law, agents are now required to give you an accurate estimation of the price range. Deliberate under quoting is against the law, although through competitive bidding the property may sell in excess of the quoted price range.

Visit other properties for sale and attend open houses and other auctions to ascertain general property values in the area.

Importantly, contact your financial institution to ensure that you are eligible for a loan as an auction contract is an unconditional sale. Read the contract and other documentation to discover if the terms of sale will suit your requirements and whether any items are not included in the sale.

Prepare a list of everyone you will need to notify of your change of address. Some suggestions are, relatives, friends, neighbours, employers, schools, sporting and social clubs, children’s activity centres, child care centre, medical practitioners, dentist, civic, religious or business affiliations or memberships, financial institutions, credit card companies, insurance companies including life, superannuation, household, motor vehicle and health, motor registration, driver’s licence, Government Departments such as the Electoral Office, Taxation and Centre Link for any family payment/pension entitlements, Solicitor, and Accountant.

Redirect any subscriptions such as internet services, and cancel the paper. Arrange disconnection/ reconnection and final readings of gas, electricity, water and telephone.

Advise Australia Post to redirect your mail and leave your forwarding address with the purchaser and real estate agent.

Defrost your fridge and freezer, tighten lids on jars, safely dispose of all flammable liquids ie. Empty the fuel from your lawn mower.

Colour code boxes as they are packed. On arrival at your new home place coloured stickers on doors to rooms indicating where you would like the boxes placed.

I hope these hints assist you with your move and wish you all the best in your new home.

Settlement of a property indicates that the balance of the purchase price has been paid by the purchaser to the vendor and in exchange the vendor passes over the physical possession of the property to the purchaser.

However, in the event that the property is subject to an existing lease, the purchaser would not take physical possession of the property but would be entitled to the rent paid by the tenant from the day of settlement.

Many consider location to be the most important ingredient in a property purchase. In fact, some experts say there are only three things to consider when purchasing real estate. The first is `location', the second is `position' and the third is `where the property is!'

When selecting a property, whether to live in yourself or as an investment property, you should consider factors that affect not only your own lifestyle but also the needs of future buyers. For instance, if you run a small business from home, a prominent road may be ideal. Conversely a quiet secluded court where children can play safely may be exactly what the young family require. Accessibility of the home & walking distance to public transport is vital to the non driver, the elderly and student children.

Every city and town has areas that are likely to appreciate in value more than others, so it is important to get the ‘feel' of an area. Drive around and familiarise yourself with all the amenities and see if you feel comfortable, then talk to the real estate agents in the area. A good estate agent with sound local knowledge will quickly point you in the right direction and advise you where to buy and just as importantly where not to buy.

Country and city dwellers alike should give careful consideration to a number of factors with regard to land. Check that the boundaries of the property measure exactly as per the copy of title, check for any covenants or easements, and refer to the local council authorities to ensure there are no encumbrances or restrictions governing what type of dwelling can be constructed on the block.

Ensure that the house you consider building is appropriately designed to suit the land and that it may be sited to your requirements. Expensive retaining or footing walls may be necessary if the land is steep or undulating. If the soil shows seasonal movement or there has been substantial filling a soil test may be necessary. Check for easements and any restrictive covenants. In some rural areas a minimum size is necessary before a building permit will be granted.

Check which services ie electricity, gas, telephone, cabling and water are available. If they are not, inquire as to when they are likely to be and ascertain the costs involved. Also be wary of unmade roads or footpaths. Do yourself a favour and find out from the local council who will be constructing them and when, the projected costs and most importantly, who will pay for them.

If we can be of further assistance, please feel free to contact our Land Department and speak with an Advisor.

Fortunately, the situation you faced is not common. The issue is whether the items were fixtures or chattels. A fixture is defined as anything which has become so attached to the land as to become part of it. A physical object once it becomes a fixture passes with the ownership of the land unless specifically excluded in the contract. If the items removed were chattels that were not physically attached to the land, the vendors had the right to remove them unless they were specifically stated as being included in the contract.

The courts have devised two ways to decide what a fixture is and what isn’t. Briefly, if a chattel is physically attached to the land then it is a fixture. If it merely rests on the land by its own weight then prima facie it is a chattel. To settle any dispute the courts look at the type of chattel, the damage caused by its removal, the intention of the person who attached the chattel and the interest in the land of the person who brought the chattel onto the land.