Example of Buying an Apartment or Townhouse in Melbourne

Most apartments and townhouses purchases are offered in a single contract in Australia. A property purchase contract is often referred to as, Contract of Sales (COS). In these instances, buyers are expected to exchange the contracts with a 10% downpayment and the balance 90% of the price would be due at settlement (when the physical construction is completed).

Payment terms:


Downpayment at COS


Balance Purchase Price at Settlement
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This article aims to simplify, summarize and demonstrate via examples to help foreign purchasers understand the timeline and payment structure in buying a single contract property in Melbourne, Australia. (This is applicable and similar in most other States in Australia).

EXAMPLE 1: Off-The-Plan for Foreigners

Buying off-the-plan is a common term used in Australia for referring to buying a property that has not been built or under construction. One of the main advantages for buying off-the-plan is the buyer usually has more time to arrange for the final payment especially if the project has a longer settlement timeframe.

$600,000 Case Study

2 bedroom apartment
Settlement in 12 months


Estimated Total Costs


CURRENT Until 30 June 2021

Estimated Acquisition Costs

Stamp Duty* (5.17%)
Foreigner Levy (8%)
FIRB Application Fee
Legal Fee + Disbursement (est)

The Process & Payment Timeline


Submit reservation from pay booking fee (usually $2,000)


Total Payment Upon Contract Exchang

Contract (7 to 14 days)

Contracts issued & Sign Contract usually within 14 days, Pay balance 10%, Apply for FIRB Approval Exchange, Contracts / Contract becomes unconfidencial


Balance Payment at Settlement

Settlement (12 months)

Pay balance 90% of purchase price, Pay stamp duties, legal fees and other statutory costs, Property ownership transferred to purchaser


CURRENT Now till 30 June 2021

Vacant Possession

Vacant possession of property, hanging over keys to purchaser, Move in or hand over to property manager for leasing

Important Notes:

1. Current stamp duty discount in Victoria is only valid for Contracts signed between 25 November 2020 to 30 June 2021.

2. Purchasers must observe all timeframe or timeline specified in contractual documents to perform specific task or obligation.

3. The sample above is a guide generated based on past cases and each transaction could vary in some form.

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