Buying privately

Be careful about buying a home privately, rather than working through the seller’s real estate agent. Always get a solicitor to check a contract before you sign it.

Don’t sign any contract unless the seller:

  • includes the warning statement directly above the place where you sign the contract
  • gives you the five-day cooling-off period.

The warning statement must say:

The contract may be subject to a 5 business day statutory cooling-off period. A termination penalty of 0.25% of the purchase price applies if the buyer terminates the contract during the statutory cooling-off period. It is recommended the buyer obtain an independent property valuation and independent legal advice about the contract and his or her cooling-off rights, before signing.

The statement can either:

  • use the exact wording of the statement above
  • have different words, as long as they give the same meaning.

Things to check

Don’t pay too much. Make sure you:

  • get an independent valuation of the property
  • find the asking price of similar properties by
    • reading property listings in the newspaper or online
    • visiting open houses
  • get inspections done on the property (building, swimming pool and pest inspections).

Don’t sign a contract if you’re not comfortable with the sale. Always seek independent legal advice.