Sale contracts

Residential property cannot be advertised for sale until a Contract of Sale has been prepared. The contract must contain a copy of the title documents, drainage diagram and the Planning Certificate (s 10.7) issued by the local council.

If the property for sale has a swimming pool or spa pool, one of the following must also be attached to the contract:

  • a copy of a valid certificate of compliance or;
  • relevant occupation certificate and evidence that the pool has been registered or;
  • a valid certificate of non-compliance.

This requirement does not apply:

  • to a lot in strata or community schemes that have more than two lots, or
  • for any off-the-plan contract.

For properties sold off the plan, additional documents must be included in the Contract, including a Disclosure Statement which outlines key information. Other documents to be provided include:

  • a draft plan prepared by a registered surveyor
  • any proposed schedule of finishes
  • any dealing (s88B instrument) proposed to be lodged with the plan
  • draft by-laws
  • for a proposed community, precinct or neighbourhood scheme, the draft management statement and any proposed development contract
  • if there is a proposed development scheme, the draft strata development contract
  • for a proposed strata scheme, a draft strata management statement
  • any draft building management statement.

If you fail to attach one of these documents to the sales contract, the purchaser may be entitled to rescind the sale contract within 14 days of exchange, unless settlement has already occurred.

Go to the NSW Swimming Pool Register website to check if the property with a swimming/spa pool has a current certificate of compliance.

Property exclusions and a statement of the buyer’s rights under the cooling-off period must be included.

The draft contract must be available for inspection at the agent’s office. Generally, all agents who offer a property for sale must have the proposed contract for the sale. However, where a conjunction agreement exists, it is only necessary for the listing agent to hold the sales contract, provided conjunction agents have access to the contract as necessary.

Exchange of contracts

The contract exchange is a critical point in the sale process:

  • the buyer or seller is not legally bound until signed copies of the contract are exchanged
  • buyers of residential property usually have a cooling-off period of five working days following the exchange of contracts during which they can withdraw from the sale
  • if the agent arranges exchange of contacts, the agent must give copies of the signed contract to each party or their solicitor or conveyancer within 2 business days
  • the cooling-off period can be waived, reduced or extended by negotiation
  • there is no cooling-off period for sellers; once contracts have been exchanged, sellers are generally bound to complete the agreement
  • there is no cooling-off period when purchasing at auction.
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