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3. The contract of sale: Nominate your solicitor or conveyancer

The requirements for Contracts of Sale vary from state to state. So we recommend you either check the website of the Department of Fair Trading in your state or territory, or save yourself time and talk to the solicitor or conveyancer who will handle your private house sale.

For example, to advertise a residential property for sale in NSW, the law states you must prepare a draft Contract of Sale and make the contract available for viewing by potential purchasers.

You can nominate a solicitor or conveyancer to prepare the contract, making certain they are licensed to carry out conveyancing matters in NSW.

The contract must contain:

  • Details of the property for sale
  • All the essential terms and conditions of the sale
  • What is included in the sale, eg: light fittings, floor coverings etc
  • What is not included in the sale, eg: the things you wish to keep

The contract must also include the following documents:

  • The certificate of title showing ownership and any restrictions on the property
  • A plan of the land
  • A current sewerage diagram
  • A zoning certificate (s 149) from the local council
  • Smoke alarms statement advice
  • A statement of the buyer’s cooling-off rights

It is important that you consult your solicitor or conveyancer about preparing the contract to make certain that everything is in order.

If your property is in NSW and has a swimming pool or spa pool, from 29 April 2014 you must attach to the contract a copy of:

  • A valid swimming pool Certificate of Compliance, or
  • A relevant occupation certificate with evidence that the swimming pool has been registered and its use authorised. (This only applies to properties less than three years old)

If this document is not included, the buyer may be entitled to withdraw from the purchase at any time within 14 days of contract exchange, leaving you without a sale.

Ask your solicitor about contract preparation, or contact one of these services:

Australian Institute of Conveyancers
Tel: (02) 9633 1355

The Law Society of New South Wales (NSW)
Tel:(02) 9926 0333

The Law Society of Canberra (ACT)
Tel: (02) 6247 5700

The Queensland Law Society (QLD)
Tel: (07) 3842 5888

The Law Institute of Victoria (VIC)
Tel: (03) 9607 9311

The Law Society of South Australia (SA)
Tel: (08) 8229 0222

The Law Society of Tasmania (TAS)
Tel: (03) 6234 4133

The Law Society Northern Territory (NT)
Tel: (08) 8981 5104

The Law Society of Western Australia (WA)
Tel: (08) 9322 7877

Do-it-yourself conveyancing kits are available from:

Law Consumers’ Association
Tel: 02 9564 6933

Australian Property Law Kits
Tel: 1800 252 808

Home Purchase Advisory Service
Tel: 1300 468 746