The standard contract for buying a home comes with a cooling-off period of 5 business days. This means if you’re not totally happy, you can cancel the contract during this time.
However, auctions have no cooling-off period.
The cooling-off period also does not apply to a private treaty contract:
- entered into within 2 days of an unsuccessful auction of that property
- in which the buyer was a registered bidder at the auction.
When it starts
The cooling-off period starts the day you get a copy of the signed contract (signed by both parties).
- If you get it on a weekend or a public holiday, the cooling-off period starts on the next business day.
- The cooling-off period still begins if a representative takes the signed contract on your behalf.
- If there’s a dispute over when you got the contract, the seller will need to prove they got it to you.
When it ends
The cooling-off period ends at 5pm on the final (5th) day of the cooling-off period.
How to cancel the sale
To cancel during the cooling-off period, you must:
- give written notice to the seller (or seller’s agent)
- sign it
- deliver it before 5pm on the final day.
You are responsible for making sure the seller gets the written notice in time. You can deliver it in person, by email or fax.
The seller must refund the deposit within 14 days. They may deduct a penalty of up to 0.25% of the purchase price.
How to waive a cooling-off period
You can choose to waive or shorten the cooling-off period. You need to give written notice to the seller or their agent.