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In New South Wales a residential property cannot be put on the market and advertised for sale until a Contract for Sale has been prepared.
If a seller does not provide a contract in preparation for a sale then an estate agent or agent’s representative usually completes a contract on their behalf.

Documents included in the Contract for Sale

The seller must provide the following documents with the contract:

  • A Section 149 Certificate from the local council (‘zoning certificate): Shows planning controls and other things which may affect the property such as road widening.
  • A sewerage/drainage diagram: Shows the location of any sewer lines on the property
  • A copy of the title folio from the Land and Property Information NSW: Confirms that you own the property
  • Copies of all documents creating easements or restrictive covenants: A cooling-off statement; A notice directing parties to the Conveyancing Act 1919 (section 52A) and the Conveyancing (Sale of Land) Regulation 2000.

If the above mentioned information is not attached, the buyer may be entitled to cancel the Contract within 14 days of exchanging it. The buyer may also reserve the right to cancel if the seller breaches certain warranties required by the Vendor Disclosure and Warranty Regulation.

Strata units (apartments)

Please note that if you are selling a strata title property, you will also need to include the following documents in the Contract:

  • A copy of the property certificate for the lot and common property
  • A copy of the strata plan by showing the lot
  • A copy of any change of by-law affecting the use of common property

Exchange of contracts

Exchanging sale Contracts is the legal part of selling a home and happens regardless of whether you sell your property by private treaty or auction.

There will be two copies of the sale Contract: one for your and one for the buyer. You each sign one copy before they are swapped or ‘exchanged’.

This can be done by hand or post and is usually arranged by your Solicitor, conveyancer or the agent. At the time of the exchange, the buyer will be required to pay a deposit, usually 10% of the purchase price.

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 for five working days following the exchange of contracts during which they can withdraw from the sale
  • If the agent arranges exchange of contracts, 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 not bound to complete the agreement

Please note that there is no cooling off period when purchasing at auction.

Call the experienced team at GMH Legal to assist you in your matter. A free consultation with GMH Legal is an opportunity to gain deep insights into your legal situation and all of your options.

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