Is There a Cooling-Off Period When Buying a House?

October 27, 2022
Real estate negotiation

You finally found the perfect home in Sydney and are ready to make an offer. But is there a cooling-off period when buying a house or not? It is suggested to confirm that with your seller first and foremost.

It’s always important to do research when you’re buying a property. So whether it’s researching about the Sydney property bubble or contractual agreements like this, the more informed you are, the better.

The meaning of a cooling-off is when you can back out of the sale if you have any second thoughts. Undoubtedly, this is the perfect time to think about your decision and ensure it’s the right one for you. 

In this article, we bring all the details of everything you need to know about cooling-off periods while you search for a property for sale Sydney or anywhere in Australia. 

What is a cooling-off period?

It must have happened that you bought something and then regretted it later. To avoid this situation with your house, it must be your priority to ask the property seller, “is there a cooling-off period when buying a house”?

A cooling-off period is a mandatory waiting period that gives customers time to cancel specific contracts in a fixed number of days after they sign the contract. This period allows customers to change their minds about a purchase without facing any penalties. 

Cooling-off periods are only available for sales by private treaty, which can vary depending on the state or territory. They don’t apply for properties bought at auction and are typically only available for buyers, not sellers. 

What is the length of the cooling-off period?

Now that this question—Is there a cooling-off period when buying a house or not is clear to you, let’s understand the length of a cooling-off period.

Depending on the type of contract and the state you reside in, the cooling-off period’s duration varies, although it usually lasts between 2 and 5 days

In many cases, the cooling-off period begins on the day after the customer signs the contract. You will get five business days from the date of sale to change your mind and cancel the contract. 

Cooling-off periods are designed to protect consumers from making hasty decisions that they may later regret. It is essential to note that you are legally bound to the contract during the cooling-off period and cannot back out for any other reason. 

During this time, ask the seller any remaining questions you may have concerning the property for sale. Once the cooling-off period has expired, you become liable to purchase the property.

Why would you change your mind about buying during the cooling-off period?

Is There a Cooling-Off Period When Buying a House

There are several reasons why someone would withdraw from buying a house during the cooling-off period. Here are a few of them:

  • You felt pressured into making the purchase and now decide to back out. 
  • You discover hidden damage or defects with the property.
  • You found another property that better suits your needs. 
  • You are unable to secure financing for the purchase, like paying for the cost of stamp duty in Sydney
  • Your lender might not approve your financing. This is why terms stating that a property transaction is “subject to loan approval” are frequently included in contracts of sale.

Whatever the reason, it’s essential to weigh your options carefully before making a final decision. Is there a cooling-off period when buying a house or not won’t matter if you don’t use it wisely and effectively, right?

How much money will you get back in the cooling-off period?

The vendor usually has the right to keep a tiny percentage of the deposit you’ve already paid if you withdraw the house deposit within the cooling-off period. It is usually 0.25% of the purchase price.

While this may seem like a minor fee, it can add up if you are purchasing an expensive home. So, while withdrawing may cost you some money upfront, it could save you from making a costly mistake in the long run.

Is it possible to entirely waive the cooling-off period?

Is There a Cooling-Off Period When Buying a House

Purchasing a home is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Take ample time and ensure you are satisfied with every aspect of the transaction before you sign that dotted line.

However, there are ways to waive the cooling-off period if you are sure that you want to go ahead with the purchase. For example, you can waive the cooling-off period by signing a document that states that you are aware of your right to cool off but have chosen to waive it. 

With a “66W certificate,” you can waive the cooling-off period. It can further help to shorten or extend the cooling-off period by written agreement with the vendor.

Therefore, you might be able to negotiate with the seller to shorten or waive the cooling-off period if you have this certificate. It ensures acceleration of the entire closing process if you are convinced that you want to buy the home.

Most of the time, we get caught up in the moment when buying something new. But if you step back and give it some thought, you could find that it’s not what you wanted. That’s why cooling-off periods existto provide you with time to make sure you’re 100% happy with your purchase.

How can you withdraw your money during the cooling-off period?

Is There a Cooling-Off Period When Buying a House

During the cooling-off period, you may withdraw from the purchase of a property by giving written notice to the seller. You can either fax, email, mail, or hand deliver it to the agent.

You can easily back out of a property purchase during the cooling-off period without incurring fees. Still, if you have any second thoughts about the property, you can rest assured knowing that you can change your mind without penalty.

Just make sure to do this within 5 business days of signing the contract in the cooling-off period.

Looking for your dream home?

We can also help you out in that department. Browse our search page to check out some fantastic listings available right now. But don’t just stop there, download our app to get the full Soho experience. Just remember to shortlist or swipe left on our listings so we can send you others that better match what you’re looking for.

Soho is your expert team in Australian real estate, offering an innovative platform for effortless property searches. With deep insights into buying, renting, and market trends, we guide you to make informed decisions, whether it's your first home or exploring new suburbs.
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Our AI match engine will match you with over 150,000+ properties and you can swipe away or shortlist easily. Making your home buying journey faster and easier.