Understanding Disbursements in Property Sales and Purchases in Queensland

Jun 11, 2024By Mint Legal Brisbane
Mint Legal Brisbane

When buying or selling property in Queensland, understanding the concept of disbursements is crucial. Disbursements are the additional costs incurred during the conveyancing process, separate from the primary purchase price. These costs cover a range of necessary services and fees, ensuring a smooth and legally compliant transaction. In this article, we will explore the different types of disbursements involved in property transactions in Queensland, providing you with a comprehensive understanding of what to expect.

What is Conveyancing Disbursements?

Conveyancing Explained

Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring property ownership from one party to another. It involves various legal and administrative tasks that ensure the transaction is legitimate and binding. A conveyancer or solicitor typically handles this process, and their fees cover the professional services they provide. However, disbursements are the out-of-pocket expenses incurred during this process, which the buyer or seller must reimburse.

Conveyancing word written under torn paper.

Common Disbursements in Property Transactions

Title Search Fees

A title search is one of the first steps in the conveyancing process. This search confirms the legal owner of the property and checks for any encumbrances, such as mortgages or liens. Title search fees vary but are a necessary expense to ensure the property is free from legal issues.

Council Rates and Land Tax

During the conveyancing process, outstanding council rates and land tax must be settled. The conveyancer will request a rates clearance certificate to confirm the current status of these payments. Any outstanding amounts are typically prorated and adjusted at settlement.

Transfer Duty (Stamp Duty)

Transfer duty, commonly known as stamp duty, is a tax levied on property transactions. The amount varies depending on the property's value and whether the buyer is eligible for any exemptions or concessions. It is a significant disbursement that buyers must consider when budgeting for a property purchase.

Registration Fees

To legally transfer ownership of the property, various documents must be registered with the relevant authorities. This includes the transfer of title and any associated mortgage documents. Registration fees apply to these filings and are essential to complete the transaction legally.

Additional Disbursements to Consider

Building and Pest Inspections

While not always mandatory, building and pest inspections are highly recommended. These inspections ensure the property is in good condition and free from structural issues or pest infestations. The costs for these inspections are considered disbursements and are borne by the buyer.

The giant house spider (Eratigena atrica) on wall of on the wall of the building. It is one of the biggest spiders of Central and Northern Europe and a common spider in people's homes.

Body Corporate Fees

For properties within a strata scheme, such as apartments or townhouses, body corporate fees apply. These fees cover the maintenance and management of common areas. A search of the body corporate records is conducted to ensure all fees are up to date, and any outstanding amounts are adjusted at settlement.

Search Fees

Various searches are conducted during the conveyancing process to uncover any potential issues with the property. These can include zoning certificates, flood searches, and heritage listings. Each search incurs a fee, which is considered a disbursement.

Managing Disbursements Effectively

Budgeting for Disbursements

It is essential to budget for disbursements when planning a property transaction. These costs can add up quickly, and being unprepared can lead to financial strain. Discussing potential disbursements with your conveyancer early in the process can help you anticipate and plan for these expenses.

Negotiating Disbursements

In some cases, buyers and sellers may negotiate who covers specific disbursements. For instance, the seller might agree to pay for certain inspections or clear any outstanding rates before settlement. Clear communication and negotiation can alleviate some financial burdens.


Understanding disbursements in property sales and purchases in Queensland is vital for a smooth transaction. These additional costs ensure the legal and administrative aspects of the conveyancing process are handled correctly. By being aware of common disbursements and budgeting accordingly, buyers and sellers can navigate the property market with confidence. Always consult with a professional conveyancer or solicitor to get accurate advice tailored to your specific situation.