Selling a house - the cooling-off period
Most purchasers have the right to get out of the contract in certain circumstances - this is called a "cooling-off period". The rules about cooling-off periods vary depending on the State or Territory law. In general, they only apply when:
- the buyer notifies you in writing within a defined number of clear business days after the contract is signed;
- there is a private sale, not an auction;
- it is a domestic property, it does not apply to a commercial property or a farm;
- the house/land costs less than a specified amount.
Note: The cooling-off period may not apply if the buyer consulted a lawyer before signing the contract.
What's "clear business days"?
Don't worry what this means - just remember that the "days" begin at midnight of the day the cooling-off period begins (ask your agent when this is in your State) and includes the next specified number of days, but does not include a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday.
Will I have to return the deposit?
The buyer may not be entitled to a full refund. Get advice from your lawyer or real estate agent about any money (or percentage of the purchase price) you are permitted to keep.
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This fact sheet is intended to be general information about the law in Australia. It is not a substitute for legal or other professional advice. Lawscape Communications Pty Ltd and Fairfax Digital Ltd do not accept responsibility for loss to any person, who either acts or does not act because of this fact sheet. Last Updated - October 2005