Every contract for the sale of residential property (2.5 hectares or less and used for residential purposes) has a cooling off period of five working days (the cooling off period ends at 5.00pm on the fifth working day). This means that after entering into the contract, the purchaser has five working days in which to “cool off”. The seller is locked into the contract and cannot withdraw from the sale. If the purchaser finds that for any reason he or she does not want to proceed with the purchase, they can rescind the contract within the five-day period. If they do rescind the contract, they forfeit to the vendor 0.25% of the sale price. The contract is then at an end, and neither party has any further claim against the other.
The purchaser can waive the cooling off period by having the contract explained by a conveyancer and a certificate signed by that conveyancer and the certificate handed to the seller’s conveyancer. The certificate is drawn under Section 66W of the Conveyancing Act and is commonly called a “Section 66W Certificate”
The cooling off period may be extended by agreement with the vendor if the purchaser finds that they need more time, but this can only be done with the vendor’s consent. It is quite common to request for an extension of time, because the five-day period is very often not long enough to organise an unconditional loan approval.
The cooling off period can be shortened by the use of the S66W Certificate whereby it will be stated that the purchaser has agreed to shorten the period to whatever number of days has been agreed.
There is no cooling off period if the property is sold at public auction OR on the same day as the property was listed for auction sale.