If you're thinking about selling your property privately in Queensland, 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 Office of Fair Trading Queensland. With that out of the way, let’s discuss the steps to selling your own home in Queensland.
Step 1: Preparing the contract of sale:
Ensure you have your contract of sale drawn up by a solicitor before advertising your property for sale. It will need to include a warning statement directly above where the buyer signs, you can find the wording of this here http://www.qld.gov.au/law/housing-and-neighbours/buying-and-selling-a-property/buying-a-home/making-an-offer-on-a-home/contract-of-sale/ . In your contract, specify if any chattels are to be excluded, such as pot plants or appliances. Dishwashers, rangehoods, curtains and blinds are generally included in the sale.
If you have a pool then you must either obtain a pool safety certificate from a licensed inspector, or give the buyer a Form 36 – ‘notice of no pool safety certificate’ before selling (available from QBCC at https://www.qbcc.qld.gov.au/home-building-owners/pool-safety/selling-or-leasing-property-pool ). A copy of the completed Form 36 must be sent to QBCC before settlement. The buyer must obtain a pool safety certificate within 90 days of settlement.
We can provide you with a free digital copy of a blank contract of sale, as well as any related forms.
Step 2: Setting your price:
When you set your price ensure it does not misrepresent the property’s sale price, as that is illegal. The selling price should not be lower than an agent’s estimated price or the lowest amount you would accept. To research your price, you can:
- Request a free property valuation report online at PropertyNow.com.au, and if available you will also receive a free property suburb report for your postcode. Research similar sold properties and for sale properties online, e.g. at http://www.realestate.com.au , or http://www.sa.gov.au/topics/property-and-land/buying-a-home-or-property/researching-a-property/median-house-sales-by-quarter .
- Obtain a valuation from an independent property Valuer.
- Request a property valuation estimate or range from real estate agents.
Step 3: Open Homes and Private Inspections:
Once your property is advertised you will likely need to allow buyers to inspect the property through open homes or private inspections. Prospective buyers may then request a copy of the contract of sale.
Step 4: Receiving the offer:
Generally, offers are submitted in the way of a signed contract of sale. Only written offers can lead to a binding contract. Sometimes buyers may add an expiration clause to the sale contract so that the offer does not remain open indefinitely if the vendor has not signed by a certain date. Have your solicitor review any changes made by the buyer to the sales contract.
If someone makes you an offer on your property you may take a holding deposit of the full amount or a nominated partial amount. This should be held in your solicitor’s trust account or a trust account you’ve arranged through PropertyNow, to be returned if you do not accept the offer.
Step 5: Signing the contract of sale:
The next step in the legal process of selling a property in QLD is for you and the buyer to both sign the contract of sale. Once an offer is counter-signed by the vendor it becomes an enforceable contract of sale. All signatories must be given a copy.
From this point, you could consider marking your property as “Under Contract” on various websites, but you should still keep a record of any enquiries from other buyers in case the sale falls through.
Step 6: 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. 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 7: Cooling Off:
In QLD, the buyer of residential property is entitled to a cooling-off period of five business days (there are some exceptions). The cooling-off period commences from when the buyer receives a copy of the contract of sale signed by both parties. During this time, the buyer can cancel the sale but will have to pay the seller a termination penalty of up to 0.25 per cent of the sale price. The deposit must be refunded within 14 days.
Be aware that there is no cooling-off period after an unsuccessful auction when:
- an offer is accepted within two full business days after the auction, and
- the buyer was a registered bidder.
To withdraw from a sale, the buyer must notify the seller or their agent in writing, sign it and deliver it by 5pm on the fifth day. They can do so in person, by email or fax.
You can cancel or reduce the cooling-off period if you want to by notifying the seller or their agent in writing.
After the cooling-off period has ended, the balance of the deposit is payable by the buyer and should be held in trust until settlement occurs (e.g. 10% of the purchase price less holding deposit).
An important thing to keep in mind with regards to cooling-off periods in QLD 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 8: Settlement:
On signing the contract, you and the buyer will agree to a settlement date. Settlement is commonly 30 to 90 days 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 buyer’s solicitor to ensure they have everything needed for the sale to proceed.
With those 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.
Selling via Auction
If there is high demand for your property you may prefer to sell it at auction. Ideally you should book your Auctioneer prior to listing your property, so that the date and time can be included in any advertising.
Once the reserve price is met or exceeded, then the property is sold. If there is no reserve price, then the highest bidder wins. There is no cooling-off period for a property sold at auction and the contract of sale is unconditional.
Settlement occurs in the same way as for a private treaty sale.
Cooling Off Period
5 business days. Seller keeps 0.25% of the purchase price from the buyer’s deposit.
Want to know more? Read 4 things you should know about the cooling off period
Selling your home during coronavirus
Like most states in Australia, the coronavirus pandemic brought with it various social restrictions which affected the Queensland property market. The various restrictions impacted on the inspection process and the auction process namely.
Sellers were rather quick to adapt, offering online virtual tours of their properties to combat the restrictions and allow potential buyers to see the property from their device. However, property transactions were still made during the first and second quarter of 2020 in Queensland, despite a lot of properties being taken off the market, and the figures do indicate rather resilient consumer confidence. As conditions return to normal, sellers will be able to continue hosting inspections and selling their homes just like they did prior to coronavirus.