The 5 Steps to Selling a House in NSW

Are you wondering whether you can privately sell your house in NSW? Do you have a legal right to sell your property in NSW without an agent?

The answer is yes, you absolutely do (confirm it with the NSW Office of Fair Trading). 

With that out of the way, let’s discuss the steps to actually selling your own home in NSW.

Step 1: Preparing the contract of sale for real estate in NSW

The first step to selling a property in NSW is having a contract of sale prepared. This must be done before you begin marketing or conducting inspections. This applies to all properties in NSW, except rural properties. Keep in mind that, while you don’t need to have the contract prepared to market a rural property, you’ll 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 
  • Swimming pool certificate (in some cases)
  • Any property exclusions
  • A statement of the buyer’s 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 need 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 (attracts a small fee).

Between step 1 and step 2 is when all your marketing and negotiations will happen. These stages are common to all states, so let’s move along to legally finalising your sale.

Step 2: Signing the contract of sale for real estate in NSW

You and the buyer signing the contract of sale is the next step in the legal process of selling a property in NSW. You’ll need to have two copies of the contract, one each for you and the buyer to sign. You should sign your copy, and give it to the buyer to sign also.

Step 3: Exchange of real estate in New South Wales

Exchange simply means that both you and the buyer have signed a copy of the contract of sale and have exchanged them 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 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 period in New South Wales

The cooling-off period starts once you’ve provided the buyer with a signed copy of the contract. In NSW, the cooling-off period is five business days, during which 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’ll need to refund any deposit paid, (less the 0.25%) or, if the deposit was outstanding, the buyer will owe you 0.25%. The 0.25% won’t apply if the buyer has cancelled the sale under allowance conditions within the contract. 

After the cooling-off period has ended, the buyer will need to pay the remainder of the deposit; that is, 10% of the purchase price. If they’ve paid the 0.25% deposit initially, they’ll 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 and the buyer has paid 10% deposit, it’s called “unconditional exchange.” 

An important thing to keep in mind about cooling-off periods in NSW is that they only apply to the buyer. Once you’ve exchanged contracts, the seller can’t simply cancel the sale.

Once the sale has cooled off or is unconditionally exchanged, you can go ahead and mark it as sold in your marketing.

Step 5: Settlement of Real Estate in NSW

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’ the 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 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 and saved yourself a heap of money!

Cooling Off Period

The cooling off period in NSW is 5 business days. The buyer forfeits 0.25% of the purchase price to the seller if they decide not to go ahead with their purchase within this period.

Want to know more? Read 4 things you should know about the cooling off periodThe 

Selling your home during coronavirus

Coronavirus has impacted the property market in Australia and NSW is no exception. The Australian Government was quick to roll out coronavirus stimulus packages and, as a result, the market cooled but didn’t drop as dramatically as some had feared.

Due to COVID restrictions in NSW, properties were removed from the market, auctions and inspections were cancelled, and overall activity dropped.

However, NSW property prices remained rather buoyant with Sydney growing .4% during restriction-laden April. Aside from restrictions (which eased during May/June), the pandemic did not affect the property transaction process, and the NSW property market is returning to normal as buyers and sellers gain confidence in a recovering economy.

You don't have to use an agent to sell your own house in NSW

Did you know PropertyNow can list your property on all the major real estate websites? We give you all the real estate support you need to sell your own home and save thousands in agent commissions!

Contact the PropertyNow team to learn how easy it is to sell your home without an agent.

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