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Contract for Sale of Real Estate

Where is the property located?

Where is the property located?

Australian Capital Territory

Australian Capital TerritoryBuilt for the Australian Capital Territory
Different states and territories have different rules and regulations. Your Contract for Sale of Real Estate will be customised for the Australian Capital Territory.

Frequently Asked Questions
When should you use a Contract for Sale of Real Estate?A Contract for Sale of Real Estate is a contract used to purchase completed homes. A buyer can use this Agreement to purchase a newly constructed home or a previously occupied home.

Your Contract for Sale of Real Estate

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Contract for Sale of Real Estate Page of
Initial of Seller _____ _____ and Buyer _____ _____ Page of

Contract for Sale of Real Estate for

THIS SALES AGREEMENT (the "Agreement") dated this ________ day of ________________, ________ (the "Execution Date")


(the "Seller")


(the "Buyer")

The Seller wishes to sell a certain completed home and the Buyer wishes to purchase this completed home.

IN CONSIDERATION OF and as a condition of the Seller selling the Property and the Buyer purchasing the Property and other valuable consideration, the receipt and sufficiency of which consideration is acknowledged here, the parties to this Agreement (individually the "Party" and collectively the "Parties") agree as follows:

  1. Property
  2. The Property is situated at _________________________________ and the legal description of the Property is as follows: _____________________________________________________________, which includes fixtures and improvements located on the Property and all rights, privileges and appurtenances associated with it, including but not limited to permits, easements, and cooperative and association memberships (the "Property").
  3. The Seller agrees to sell and convey to the Buyer and the Buyer agrees to purchase from the Seller the Property.
  4. Purchase Price
  5. The purchase price for the Property (the "Purchase Price") will be paid as follows:
    1. deposit payable after the Effective Date of this Agreement (the "Deposit") is: $____________;
    2. at closing/settlement, the cash portion of the Purchase Price payable by the Buyer is $____________;
    3. excluding any loan funding fee or mortgage insurance premium, the sum of all financing is: $____________; and
    4. the total Purchase Price payable is: $____________.
  6. Goods and Services Tax
  7. Goods and Services Tax ("GST") is not to be added to the Purchase Price unless otherwise provided in this Agreement.
  8. The sale of the Property is an input taxed supply of residential premises. No GST is payable or collectable from either Party. If the sale is not input taxed, but is a taxable supply, then the Buyer must pay to the Seller the amount of any GST payable by the Seller in respect of the sale of the Property.
  9. On closing/settlement, the Seller must give to the Buyer a tax invoice for any taxable supply by the Seller under this Agreement, unless the margin scheme applies.
  10. The Buyer is required to make a residential GST withholding payment. On or before the closing/settlement date, the Buyer will pay the amount required to the Australian Tax Office ("ATO"). This amount will then be held back from the Purchase Price at the closing/settlement date.
  11. Financing Terms
  12. The portion of the Purchase Price not payable in cash by the Buyer amounts to $____________ and it will be paid by one or more third party mortgage loans.
  13. This Agreement is not subject to the Buyer being approved for financing.
  14. Deposit
  15. The Buyer will deposit $____________ as the Deposit at __________________________________________________ with ________________________ acting as deposit holder, on or before 22 April 2024. Failure to deposit the Deposit as provided in this clause will result in the Buyer being in default under this Agreement.
  16. Title Search
  17. The Buyer, at the Buyer's own expense, shall be allowed until 6:00 p.m. on the 22nd day of April, 2024 (the "Requisition Date") to examine the title to the Property. The Buyer will have until 30 days from the Requisition Date or the date on which the conditions in this Agreement are fulfilled or otherwise waived; or five days prior to the closing/settlement date, whichever date is earlier, to be satisfied that there are no outstanding work orders or deficiency notices affecting the property, and that its present use as a residential home may be lawfully continued and that the principal building may be insured against risk of fire.
  18. Title
  19. The title to the Property must be transferred free from all mortgages, restrictions, encumbrances, leases, liens, charges, notices, orders, caveats, writs or other interests except as otherwise provided in this Agreement.
  20. If consent to transfer is required by legislation, the requirements set out by legislation will be duly complied with to enable transfer of title by the closing/settlement date.
  21. If within 30 days of the Requisition Date or the date on which the conditions in this Agreement are fulfilled or otherwise waived; or five days prior to the closing/settlement date, whichever date is earlier, the Seller is notified in writing of one or more of the following:
    1. there is a valid objection to title or to any outstanding work order or deficiency notice; or
    2. the present use of the Property may not lawfully be continued; or
    3. the principal building may not be insured against risk of fire,

    which the Seller is unable or unwilling to remove, remedy or satisfy or obtain insurance save and except against risk of fire in favour of the Buyer and any mortgagee, (with all related costs at the expense of the Seller), and which the Buyer will not waive, this Agreement notwithstanding any intermediate acts or negotiations in respect of such objections, shall be at an end and all monies paid shall be returned without interest or deduction and the Seller shall not be liable for any costs or damages. Save as to any valid objection so made by such day and except for any objection going to the root of the title, the Buyer shall be conclusively deemed to have accepted the Seller’s title to the property.

  22. Vacant Possession
  23. Unless otherwise provided in this Agreement, the Buyer is entitled to vacant possession on closing/settlement.
  24. Future Use
  25. The Parties agree that there is no representation or warranty of any kind that the future use of the Property by the Buyer is or will be lawful.
  26. Transfer Duty
  27. If the sale is subject to transfer duty, then the Buyer shall deliver the amount of duty required, by the time required, to such place or places as  may designate.
  28. Property Access and Inspection
  29. The Buyer may, at its sole cost, select inspectors and pest controllers licensed to practise within  or any lawful agent authorised to make inspections to inspect the Property. The Buyer will deliver to the Seller a written notice of any defects in addition to a copy of the inspection report within 10 days after the inspection. At all reasonable times, the Seller is to permit the Buyer or its agents access to the Property for the purpose of inspection and will pay for turning on existing utilities.
  30. Property Condition
  31. The Buyer accepts the Property in its current state and condition without any further work, repairs, treatments or improvements, except as provided in this Agreement.
  32. The Seller does not know of any material facts that would affect the value of the Property, except those observable by the Buyer or any known to the Seller which are disclosed in this Agreement.
  33. Warranties
  34. The Seller makes no express warranties aside from those expressly described in this Agreement or the attached addenda. Upon closing/settlement, the Seller agrees to assign all manufacturer warranties that are assignable to the Buyer.
  35. The Buyer warrants that the Commonwealth Treasurer cannot prohibit and has not prohibited the transfer under the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (Cth).
  36. Closing/Settlement
  37. The date that the sale of the Property becomes final and the Buyer takes possession (the "Closing Date") shall be no later than 22 April 2024. In the absence of legal excuse, the failure to close the sale on the Closing Date by either Party will enable the non-defaulting party to pursue any remedies on default provided in this Agreement.
  38. Upon closing/settlement, the Seller will provide to the Buyer proof of transfer of title, showing no further exceptions to title of the Property other than any exceptions provided in this Agreement, and a current tax statement which shows no delinquent taxes on the Property.
  39. The Buyer will pay the Purchase Price in good funds acceptable to the deposit holder.
  40. Any notices, statements, certificates, affidavits, releases, loan documents and other documents required by this Agreement, or by law, which is necessary for the closing of the sale must be promptly executed and delivered by the Seller and the Buyer.
  41. All covenants, representations and warranties in this Agreement will survive closing/settlement and may be enforced.
  42. Possession
  43. Possession of the Property in its current or required state, ordinary wear and tear excepted, will be delivered by the Seller to the Buyer upon proper funding at closing/settlement.
  44. Where there is no temporary lease, early possession agreement, licence, or other written agreement, and either the Buyer has possession prior to closing/settlement or the Seller has possession after closing/settlement, a tenancy at sufferance relationship will be created between the Parties, and the Parties must keep the property in good condition and repair having regard to its condition at possession and must not alter the Property in any way without prior written consent from the other Party. Unless the Parties agree in writing to a fee or rent, none is payable. The Parties should consult their respective insurance agent and are responsible to ensure adequate coverage exists upon the transfer of ownership and possession.
  45. Settlement and Other Expenses
  46. Unless both Parties otherwise agree in writing, the following expenses payable by the Seller (the "Seller's Expenses") must be paid at or prior to closing/settlement:
    1. All existing liens; prepayment penalties; recording fees; lender, tax statements or certificates; and all expenses payable by the Seller under this Agreement must be released or discharged accordingly.
  47. Unless both Parties otherwise agree in writing, the following expenses payable by the Buyer (the "Buyer's Expenses") must be paid at or prior to closing/settlement:
    1. Loan origination, discount, and buy-down.
    2. All expenses related or incident to any loan, including but not limited to, appraisal fees, application fees, credit reports, loan documents preparation fees, recording fees on notes and mortgages; as well as preparation of transfer documents, recording fees on the transfer documents and financing statements; inspection fees; all prepaid items including flood and hazard insurance premiums; documentary stamp tax; and all other expenses payable by the Buyer, necessary to perform the Buyer's obligation under this Agreement must be released or discharged accordingly.
  48. If any expense to be paid by either Party exceeds the amount expressly stated in this Agreement, the Party responsible for the said exceeding amount may terminate this Agreement unless the other Party agrees to pay the excess amount.
  49. Prorations
  50. The following items will be prorated and adjusted as property as of the Closing Date: any rents, mortgage interest, strata contributions and levies, realty and land taxes including local improvement rates and unmetered public or private utility charges and unmetered cost of fuel. If the tax rate for the current year is unknown, the Parties will use the rate from the previous year plus five percent at closing/settlement. If the tax rate for the previous year is also unknown, the deposit holder will estimate an amount to prorate, holdback sufficient funds and adjust the prorated amount when the new tax statements become available. The Buyer will be obligated to pay the share of the prorated taxes for the current year if the taxes are not paid at or prior to the closing/settlement.
  51. Property Assessment
  52. The Parties hereby acknowledge that the State of  has property valuations done annually by the Valuer-General of . The Parties agree that no claim will be made against either Party for any changes in property tax as a result of a re-assessment of the Property, save and except any property taxes that accrued prior to the Closing Date.
  53. Risk of Loss
  54. The Seller will bear all risk of loss to the Property or its improvements, which includes, but is not limited to, physical damage or destruction to the Property, or loss caused by resumption/compulsory acquisition, until the Closing Date. If at any point after the Effective Date but prior to closing/settlement, any part of the Property is damaged or destroyed, the Seller will restore the Property to its previous condition as soon as possible before the Closing Date, reasonable delays excepted. If the Seller fails to restore the Property due to unforeseeable factors beyond the control of the Seller, the Buyer may elect one of the following:
    1. the Agreement will terminate and the Deposit will be refunded to the Buyer within 10 days;
    2. the Closing Date will be extended as necessary to accommodate the performance of restoration; or
    3. at closing/settlement, the Property in its damaged state will be accepted and all insurance proceeds will be assigned from the Seller to the Buyer and the Buyer will receive an amount equal to the deductible under the Seller's insurance policy.

    The Seller's obligations under this provision are independent of any obligations of the Seller found under the heading Property Condition.

  55. Delay of Settlement

  56. Remedies on Default
  57. A Party will be in default if the Party fails to comply with the provisions of this Agreement, and as otherwise provided in this Agreement.

  58. Deposit Holder
  59. The Seller and the Buyer agree that the deposit holder is not:
    1. a party to this Agreement and will not assume any liabilities incurred as a result of the performance or nonperformance of either the Buyer or the Seller, and that no liability will be incurred unless the deposit holder is grossly negligent or wilfully breaches the terms of this Agreement;
    2. liable for the loss of the Deposit as a result of the failure of any financial institution in which the Deposit has been deposited unless the said institution is acting as the deposit holder; and
    3. liable for interest on the Deposit.
  60. Upon closing/settlement, the Deposit will be applied in the following order with the excess refunded back to the Buyer:
    1. any cash down payment; and
    2. Buyer's Expenses.
  61. At all relevant times during the course of this Agreement, the deposit holder is required to notify the other Party prior to the releasing of any funds to the Party who is requesting the funds.
  62. The notice of the deposit holder to either Party will be deemed effective upon its deposit to any Australia Post offices or mailboxes with receipt requested, provided that the notice contains adequate postage and the correct mailing address of the Party contained in this Agreement is inscribed on the notice. The notice of objection to the demand of the Deposit will be deemed effective upon receipt by the deposit holder.
  63. Seller Representations
  64. The Seller represents and warrants that there will be no liens, assessments, or security interests from third parties against the Property which will not be satisfied out of the sales proceeds. The Seller makes no representation aside from those expressly provided in this Agreement. If the representations of the Seller are untrue upon the Closing Date, the Buyer may terminate this Agreement and the Deposit will be refunded within 10 days.
  65. Requisitions
  66. Except as provided in this Agreement, the Seller does not know of any outstanding demand, order, judgment, requisition or requirement relating to the Property.
  67. The Buyer shall not make any requisitions on the title to the Property.
  68. The Buyer shall not make any claim or requisition in respect of any dividing fence within the meaning of the , or for any service for another property passing lawfully through the Property.
  69. Notices
  70. All notices pursuant to this Agreement must be written and signed by the respective Party or its agent and all such correspondence will be effective upon it being posted with return receipt requested, hand-delivered, or transmitted by facsimile as follows:

    To the Buyer at:

    To the Seller at:

    Name: _______________
    Address: ______________________________
    Telephone: _______________
    Fax: _______________

    Name: _______________
    Address: ______________________________
    Telephone: _______________
    Fax: _______________

  71. Addenda
  72. In addition to any aforementioned required documents, these addenda will also constitute as part of this Agreement:
    1. Third party financing condition addendum.
  73. Assignability
  74. The Buyer may not assign this Agreement without the Seller’s written consent. This Agreement is binding on the respective heirs, executors, administrators, successors, personal representatives and assigns, as the case may be, of the Seller and the Buyer.
  75. Effective Date
  76. The effective date of this Agreement (the "Effective Date") is the latter of the date the Buyer executed this Agreement and the date the Seller executed this Agreement.
  77. Governing Law
  78. The Parties agree this Agreement will be construed under the laws of , without regard to the jurisdiction in which any action or special proceeding may be instituted.
  79. Severability
  80. If there is a conflict between any provision of this Agreement and the applicable legislation of  (the "Act"), the Act will prevail and such provisions of the Agreement will be amended or deleted as necessary in order to comply with the Act. Further, any provisions that are required by the Act are incorporated into this Agreement.
  81. If any term or provision of this Agreement is determined to be invalid or unenforceable by a court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of this Agreement will not be affected and each unaffected term and provision of this Agreement will be valid and be enforceable to the fullest extent permitted by law.
  82. No Broker or Agent
  83. There are no obligations on either Party for the payment of broker fees in this Agreement. The Parties agree that no real estate brokers or agents were procured for their services in connection with this Agreement or any part of the sale agreement prior to the signing of this Agreement. If a broker or agent was retained, the Party which employed the said broker or agent will be solely liable for the costs associated with it.
  84. Agreement of Parties
  85. This document constitutes the entire agreement of the Parties and it may not be contradicted by evidence of prior, contemporaneous or subsequent oral agreement. The provisions contained in this Agreement cannot be changed except by the signed and delivered written consent of both Parties.
  86. Consult a Lawyer
  87. The Seller and the Buyer should consult a lawyer before this Agreement is executed if any aspect of the Agreement is not understood. The Seller and the Buyer agree each will notify the other of the contact information for the respective lawyer, if any, responsible for this real estate transaction.
  88. Electronic Transaction
  89. If this transaction is to be conducted as an electronic transaction, then the Parties must conduct the transaction in accordance with the
  90. General Provisions
  91. This Agreement may be executed in counterparts. Facsimile signatures are binding and are considered to be original signatures.
  92. All monetary amounts in this Agreement refer to Australian dollars, and all payments required to be paid under this Agreement will be paid in Australian dollars unless the Parties agree otherwise in writing.
  93. Headings are inserted for the convenience of the Parties only and are not to be considered when interpreting this Agreement. Words in the singular mean and include the plural and vice versa. Words in the masculine gender mean and include the feminine gender and vice versa. Words importing persons include firms and companies and vice versa.
  94. Time is of the essence in this Agreement. Every calendar day except Saturday, Sunday, a public holiday or a bank holiday recognised in  will be deemed a business day and all relevant time periods in this Agreement will be calculated in business days. Performance will be due the next business day if any deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday, public holiday or a bank holiday. A business day ends at five p.m. local time in the time zone in which the Property is situated.
  95. Cooling Off Period
  96. Subject to any exceptions laid out in this Agreement, the Buyer may rescind this Agreement by serving written notice to the Seller at any time before 5:00 p.m. on the 5th business day after the day this Agreement is made.
  97. Signatures

    SIGNED, SEALED AND DELIVERED in the presence of:


    IN WITNESS whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal:




    SIGNED, SEALED AND DELIVERED in the presence of:


    IN WITNESS whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal:





The Receipt of $____________ as Deposit in the form of __________________ is hereby acknowledged on this _______ day of ______________, _______.

Name: ________________________

Address: __________________________________________________

Tel: ____________

Email: ____________

Signature: ____________

Last updated February 28, 2024

Written by 

Reviewed by 


Fact checked by 

What is a Contract for Sale of Real Estate?

A Contract for Sale of Real Estate is a document that outlines the terms and conditions of the purchase and sale, exchange, or transfer of real estate between two parties.

This agreement should include:

  • The buyer’s and seller’s personal information
  • The property details
  • The conditions the parties need to satisfy before possession transfers
  • The deposit, price, and tax details
  • The date of possession

The agreement must be in writing because verbal contracts aren’t legally binding when transferring real estate.

The buyer typically presents a Contract for Sale of Real Estate as an offer to the seller, who can then negotiate further terms before signing and accepting the deal. However, you can also use LawDepot’s less comprehensive Offer to Purchase Real Estate form if your circumstances require back-and-forth negotiations.

A Contract for Sale of Real Estate is also known as a:

  • Real Estate Purchase Contract
  • Real Estate Sales Contract
  • Home Sale Contract

How do I write a Contract for Sale of Real Estate?

You can easily create a Contract for Sale of Real Estate by filling out LawDepot's questionnaire. Using our template will ensure you complete these necessary steps:

Step 1: State your location

States and territories have varying real estate rules and regulations. Provide your location, and LawDepot will ensure your Contract for Sale of Real Estate is customised to fit your location’s laws.

We have templates for:

  • Australian Capital Territory
  • New South Wales
  • Northern Territory
  • Queensland
  • South Australia
  • Tasmania
  • Victoria
  • Western Australia

Step 2: Provide details about the buyer and seller

Your Contract for Sale of Real Estate needs to include personal details about the buyer and seller, such as:

  • Names
  • Addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Whether they’re an individual or an organisation

Step 3: Specify the type of property for sale

Specify whether the property is a house or a unit. 

A unit is a subdivided property in a strata title scheme, such as a townhouse or an apartment. A strata title scheme is when a property is composed of the owned lot and common property co-owned by the owners of the lots. For example, you can own an apartment (i.e., a lot) and within the apartment building are common areas like laundry rooms, stairwells, and gyms that are co-owned by the lot owners.

Some states and territories require the seller to provide the buyer with certain statements if the property is under a strata title scheme or community title scheme.

Note that units in a retirement village are given special legal treatment and require different documents.

Community title schemes (applicable in the Australian Capital Territory or Queensland)

A community title scheme is when the property you own is a lot on a property, and you share ownership and responsibility of the common areas. It generally encompasses a variety of different land uses within one complex, like houses, apartments, gyms, shops, and golf courses.

Before the Contract for Sale of Real Estate is signed, the seller must give the buyer a signed statement that complies with section 67 of the Community Title Act 2001. The statement needs to be attached to the agreement and must disclose:

  • That the lot is included in a community titles scheme that imposes obligations on the owner of the lot
  • Information about the body corporate
  • The number of annual contributions payable by the buyer
  • Any common property improvements the buyer is responsible for

Step 4: Outline property details

Provide details about the property, such as its address and legal land description.

You can find your property’s legal land description on your state’s or territory’s Land Titles Office website. The legal land description of your property may also be found on your land title, in tax assessment information, and in your mortgage agreement.

Step 5: Specify any restrictions or encumbrances

In your Contract for Sale of Real Estate, be sure to state if:

  • The property will be subject to a tenancy
  • The property is subject to any easements or covenants
  • There are any outstanding demands, orders, requisitions, or requirements relating to the property

If you’re in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), you should include any restrictions on the property’s transfer. Also, include any breaches of covenant or unit articles to disclose if you’re in the Australian Capital Territory or South Australia (SA).

Subject to tenancy

If the property has a tenant renting the property, the seller needs to attach a copy of the Tenancy Agreement and any other notices to your Contract for Sale of Real Estate.

Easements or covenants

Easements are rights in another person’s property. For example, a city may have easements in a citizen’s property so it can maintain essential services like water, electricity or sewerage.

Covenants are limits on ways the buyer can use the property. They can include restrictions on how many houses can be built or building height limits.

Restrictions on the property transfer (applicable in ACT) 

There may be restrictions on transferring the property from the seller to the buyer if it’s subject to a concessional lease or a building and development provision.

For example, if any restrictions on transfer set out in sections 251, 265, or 298 of the Planning and Development Act apply, be sure to state them in your agreement. 

Breaches of covenant or unit articles (applicable in ACT and SA)

Describe any breaches of covenant or unit articles in your contract. Some examples of breaches include:

  • Unapproved developments or structures
  • Breach of registered restrictive covenant
  • Breach of the articles of the owner's corporation

Step 6: State any included fixtures, chattels, or necessary improvements

State if the property comes with any fixtures or chattels. Be sure to also include if the seller will make any improvements to the property before transferring it to the buyer.

Fixtures are personal property items that are attached to land or a building in such a way that they can’t be removed without damaging the item. Sellers can exclude fixtures if they have sentimental value or are hard to replace.

Chattels are items of personal property that are moveable. As a general rule, sellers can take all the chattel with them but may choose to include some as part of the sale of the property. Examples of chattel include:

  • Couches
  • Tables
  • Chairs
  • Refrigerators
  • Dish-washers
  • Stoves

Step 7: State if the property includes rental items

Rental items are items the seller doesn’t own but leases or rents. Your contract should include a description of any rental items that are included.

Examples of rented items include:

  • Hot water tanks
  • Furnaces
  • Air conditioners
  • Water softeners
  • Alarm systems

Step 8: Include details about the deposit

The deposit is the cash the buyer pays the seller as evidence of good faith to complete the purchase.

The deposit ensures that the buyer is serious about obtaining the necessary financing and fulfilling the other conditions required to purchase the property. The money is credited to the purchase price upon closing. However, the buyer may forfeit the deposit if they default or choose not to proceed with the transaction.

Your Contract for Sale of Real Estate needs to specify:

  • The deposit amount
  • The deadline for the buyer to give the seller the deposit
  • The name and address of who will hold the deposit

Step 9: Provide details about the price and financing

The Contract for Sale of Real Estate must include the price the buyer is purchasing the property for and how they’re obtaining financing if they aren’t paying in cash.

If the buyer is receiving financing, state the type of financing they’re receiving:

  • Third-party financing: Financing from a bank or private lender other than the seller.
  • Seller financing: The seller lends the buyer the money to purchase the property using a Promissory Note.
  • Assumption: The buyer takes over the unpaid balance of an existing mortgage or Promissory Note(s).

Depending on whether you’re an Australian resident and the price of the property, there may be three types of taxes you need to take into consideration as a buyer:

  • Goods and Services Tax (GST)
  • Foreign Resident Capital Gains Withholding Tax (FRCGW)
  • Transfer Duty

Goods and Services Tax (GST)

Specify if there will be GST due on the property’s sale. GST is usually due only when the property is new. If there is GST, you’ll also need to decide if a margin scheme will be applied.

Making the sale GST-free is also an option for you. Selling an existing residential property is typically a GST-free input taxed supply. The sale can also qualify as GST-free if the property is established farmland that will continue to be utilised as farmland or if it’s the sale of an enterprise of going concern.

You’ll also need to determine if the contract requires the buyer to make a GST withholding payment. The tax applies to new residences, and most buyers are required to pay a withholding amount to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on closing.

Foreign Resident Capital Gains Withholding Tax (FRCGW)

The Foreign Resident Capital Gains Withholding Tax (FRCGW) might apply to a sale if the purchase price of the property is more than $750,000 and the seller is a foreign resident. The FRCGW will apply unless a vendor declaration has been made or a variation has been granted.

Transfer Duty

Transfer duty (also known as conveyance duty and stamp duty) is a general-purpose tax imposed on specific transactions, including the sale of a home. The buyer will usually have to pay transfer duty when acquiring a home and may be penalised if they don’t pay the tax within the required time.

The amount of transfer duty due varies depending on several factors, including:

  • The type of property (e.g., established home, new home, primary residence)
  • If you’re a first home buyer
  • Where you live in Australia

LawDepot’s questionnaire explains how the transfer duty works based on which state or territory you select.

Step 11: Outline the requirements for closing the deal and transferring possession of the property

Before you finalise the Contract for Sale of Real Estate, you’ll need to determine:

  • The last date the buyer can examine the property title for defects
  • The closing date
  • Whether the buyer will take possession on the closing date
  • Whether the sale is subject to any conditions

Land title searches

Land titles are registered in each state or territory's land registry. A title search will reveal any issues that could affect the buyer's title to the property, such as:

  • Registered mortgages
  • Liens
  • Easements
  • Restrictions or covenants affecting the property
  • Restrictions on the use of the land

Sale conditions

The seller often needs to satisfy some conditions to make the Contract for Sale of Real Estate binding and close the sale. If the conditions aren’t met by the specified date, either party may cancel the sale.

Some common conditions include: 

  • Satisfactory building inspection
  • Satisfactory pest inspection
  • Satisfactory pool inspection
  • Buyer must sell their property (i.e., the buyer can cancel the contract if they can’t sell their current residence)
  • Specific repairs to the property

Step 12: Include how the parties will handle disputes

Your Contract for Sale of Real Estate can include terms for resolving any disputes between the buyer and seller.

You might find it best to avoid litigation by going to a mediator and then an arbitrator. If so, include if the buyer, seller, or both parties will pay the cost in your agreement.

Your contract can also specify which party will pay the associated legal costs and lawyer fees.

Step 13: State if there will be a cooling-off period

A cooling-off period allows a buyer to withdraw from the agreement with notice to the seller. It’s generally required for every sale of a residential property.

If your agreement gives the buyer a cooling-off period, state how long it will last. The length of the cooling-off period and the consequences of backing out vary by state or territory.

Step 14: Sign the contract

Finish your Contract for Sale of Real Estate by having the buyer, seller, and any witnesses sign the agreement.

What contingencies are most common in Contracts for Sale of Real Estate?

The sale of real estate can come with many contingencies, but property inspections and mortgage financing are the two most common.

Do you need a lawyer to make an offer on a house?

Having a lawyer look over your Contract for Sale of Real Estate before making an offer is highly recommended.

Purchasing property is one of the most important financial decisions a person can make. A lawyer will ensure your contract is written correctly, answer any questions you might have, and look out for your best interests.

Lawyers are expensive, but the price could be minimal compared to the costly issues that can stem from a bad real estate contract.

How do I terminate a Contract for Sale of Real Estate?

Your Contract for Sale of Real Estate will include terms that specify that the deal will fall through if certain conditions aren’t met.

Some terms that can lead to the contract’s termination include:

  • An expense is more expensive than initially agreed upon.
  • The property is damaged or destroyed, and the seller can’t restore it before the closing date.
  • The buyer or seller fails to comply with a notice to complete or a notice of default.
  • The seller misleads the buyer about a third party’s interest (e.g., liens, assessments, or security interests) in the property that won’t be settled by the closing date.

Some agreements also include a cooling-off period that allows buyers to withdraw from the contract with notice to the seller.

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