The first thing to consider is whether you have a right to sell your property without an agent. The answer is yes, you absolutely do. If you’re at all worried about this, you can confirm it with the NSW office of fair trading. With that out of the way, let’s discuss the steps to selling your own home in NSW.
Step 1: Preparing the contract of sale
The first step to selling a property in NSW is having a contract of sale prepared. You must have this done before you begin marketing or conducting inspections. This applies to all properties in NSW except for rural properties. Keep in mind that though you don’t need to have the contract prepared to market a rural property, you will still need it once you have a buyer, so it’s best to get it prepared early.
The contract of sale must include title documents, drainage diagram, current zoning certificate and in some circumstances a swimming pool certificate and other documents, as well as any property exclusions, and a statement of the buyers cooling off rights. If that sounds like a lot to wrap your head around, don’t worry - getting a contract drawn up is really easy, all you have to do is contact a solicitor or conveyancer in your area and they’ll handle everything for you. You can also buy a generated contract online from the NSW Law Society’s ECOS website for a small fee.
Between step 1 and step 2 is when all your marketing and negotiations will happen, these steps are common to all states, so let’s move along to the next step in legally finalising your sale.
Step 2: Signing the contract of sale
The next step in the legal process of selling a property in NSW is for you and the buyer to sign the contract of sale. You will need to have two copies of the contract, one for you to sign and one for the buyer to sign. You should sign your copy, and give it is to the buyer to sign also.
Step 3: Exchange
Exchange simply means that both you and the buyer have signed a copy of the contract of sale and have exchanged these with each other. At this point, the buyer may opt to place a 0.25% or more deposit which would generally be held in your solicitor’s trust account or a trust account you’ve arranged through PropertyNow.
Exchange doesn’t necessarily have to happen in person, it can also be done via mail or via a third party such as your conveyancer. Keep in mind that you and the buyer aren’t legally bound until all copies of the contract have been signed and exchanged.
Step 4: Cooling Off
Once the buyer has been provided with a signed copy of the contract, the cooling off period starts. In NSW, the cooling off period is 5 business days. During this time, the buyer can cancel the sale. If the buyer cancels the sale in this period, they’ll have to forfeit 0.25% of the purchase price. You will need to refund any deposit paid, less the 0.25% - if a deposit hasn’t yet been paid, the buyer will owe you the 0.25%. The 0.25% won’t apply if the buyer has cancelled the sale under allowance conditions within the contract of course.
After the cooling off period has ended, the buyer will then need to pay the remainder of 10% of the purchase price. If they have paid the 0.25% deposit initially, this will mean they need to deposit another 9.75% of the purchase price.
The buyer can also waive the cooling off period by signing a 66W certificate. When this happens, it is called “unconditional exchange” once the buyer has paid a total of 10% in deposit.
An important thing to keep in mind with regards to cooling off periods in NSW is that they only apply to the buyer, once you’ve exchanged contracts, you cannot simply cancel the sale as a seller.
Once the sale has cooled off or unconditionally exchanged, you can go ahead and mark it as sold on the websites.
Step 5: Settlement
On signing the contract, you and the buyer will agree to a settlement date. Settlement is commonly six weeks after exchange but this can be varied if both parties agree. At settlement the buyer 'settles' their purchase by paying the purchase price, less their deposit. If you're using a solicitor, they may meet with the buyers solicitor to ensure they have everything needed for the sale to proceed.
With those five steps out of the way it’s time to put your feet up and congratulate yourself on a job well done – you’ve just successfully sold your house without an agent.
Hopefully we’ve demystified the sale process for you somewhat but if you’re still confused about anything leave us a comment below or get in touch with us.