The Cooling-Off Period In Property Conveyancing Explained

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In property conveyancing, the cooling-off period comes after the exchange of contracts, which is, of course, accompanied by paying a deposit. Appreciating the essence of this period and what you can or cannot do requires an understanding of what the cooling-off period is all about, and here is a breakdown of these highlights.

It Only Applies to Private Treaty

Property conveyancing is pretty much the same regardless of whether you are buying through private treaty or at an auction. A cooling-off period does not, however, apply to the latter. Even if the property is passed on because of the highest bid falling below the reserve price, you will have no cooling-off period as long as you exchange contracts on the very day of the auction.

How Long?

A five-day cooling-off period is what is considered standard for residential properties. The countdown starts as soon as you exchange contracts and the period ends at the close of business on the fifth day after the day of the exchange. There are slight variations in the length of the cooling-off period across the different states. The five days apply in NSW and Queensland, 4 in Northern Territory, 3 in Victoria and 2 in South Australia. In other states, namely Tasmania and WA, there is no statutory cooling-off period. Both parties will, therefore, need to agree to it being inserted in the contract.

With properties that are sold off the plan, the property conveyancing process can be extensive and complex. For such, a longer cooling-off period  may apply.

Adjusting the Cooling-Off Period

Through a written agreement with the vendor, you can reduce or extend the length of the cooling-off period. If you are a buyer who is keen on going ahead with the next step in the property conveyancing process without any delays, you can reduce this period.

Another option would be to waive the cooling-period altogether. In this case, your property conveyancing lawyer will draft and serve the seller with a 66w Certificate.

Conferred Rights

Where the period applies, you get cooling-off rights and can rescind your offer or withdraw from the contract. You can prepare and serve the written notice to the seller through your property conveyancing solicitor.

The cooling-off period can only work to your advantage as a buyer. A property conveyancing solicitor can advise you on your rights during this time and then act accordingly to ensure you enjoy them.