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Buyers rights to cool-off changed on 1 March

By Shimei Yang

Ff you are a buyer of residential real estate you will find that cooling-off rules have now changed.

Buyers no longer lose the right to cool off just because they sought and obtained advice from a lawyer before signing a contract.

This means that if a buyer intends to use your lawyer to help with a purchase they will be on the same footing as someone who employs a conveyancer, so far as cooling-off goes.

Previously, if a buyer sought advice from a lawyer before they signed a contract they lost their right to change your mind and cool off, while someone who consulted a conveyancer with the same purpose in mind did not.

The changes commenced on 1 March and mean that in the majority of residential sales, the only occasion on which a buyer will not be able to change their mind and cool off after signing a contract will be when it is signed within three clear business days before, on the day of, or within three clear business days after a publicly advertised auction.

Some things have not changed, however. Buyers must still exercise your right to cool off within three clear business days of signing your contract. In counting the days, you ignore the day you signed, weekends and public holidays.

If a buyer does cool off, the seller will still be entitled to keep $100 or 0.2 per cent of the contract price, whichever is more, as compensation for losing their sale. Normally, the money will be deducted from the deposit paid to the selling agent and the difference returned to the buyer.

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