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What Are Your Rights When Selling a Property?

December, 14th
Settled Team
Conveyancing Tips

Selling your home? It’s not just about packing boxes and moving out. It’s key to know what you can and can’t take with you, and how to handle the tricky bits if things don’t go as planned. Here’s a guide to help you through it.

Can a Seller Pull Out of a House Sale?

Selling a property is a significant commitment, and if you’re reconsidering the sale after signing contracts, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and costs involved.

Backing out of a sale post-contract is a breach of a legally binding agreement. To navigate this situation, it’s crucial to consult with a reliable conveyancer who can explain your options and the possible penalties.

In such cases, your real estate agent might recover marketing expenses and lost commissions. Additionally, a dissatisfied buyer may seek reimbursement for their finance and legal costs, and they could even initiate legal action for contract breach.

It’s also essential to acknowledge the emotional aspect of leaving a cherished family home. While it’s natural to have mixed emotions, try to focus on the positive aspects of your new address and the new memories you’ll create there.

Can a Buyer Pull out of a House Sale? 

Can a buyer withdraw from your property sale? Yes, during a “cooling-off” period, buyers have limited rights to change their minds and cancel the contract. These rights vary by location, so consult your conveyancer to understand the specifics in your state or territory.

The cooling-off period typically lasts for a set number of days after the contract is signed. If the buyer has waived this right or the period has expired, attempting to cancel the contract could breach it, potentially resulting in the loss of their deposit.

Certain contract conditions, like those related to inspections or finance, may allow a buyer to exit the contract. Consult your conveyancer for guidance on fulfilling your obligations as the seller and understanding the buyer’s rights if they decide to withdraw from the deal.

What is Considered a Fixture When Selling a House?

Fixtures vs. Personal Belongings

Everything attached to your house, like built-in appliances, light fixtures, and even that plumbed-in fridge, are fixtures. They’re part of your home and stay behind for the new owners. Your free-standing furniture, potted plants, and personal items? They’re yours to take.

Think Before You Uninstall

If you’re tempted to unscrew fixtures because they have sentimental value, remember this might not be okay according to your sale agreement. To avoid damage or disputes, check with your conveyancer first.

Steps to Selling Your House 


If you’re planning to sell your property, here are the essential steps you’ll need to follow:

  • Prepare a Section 32 Vendor Statement: Before signing any contract of sale, you need to provide this document to potential buyers. It includes crucial information about the property, like the Certificate of Title search, council planning details, any land contamination, and more. This statement is key for buyers to make an informed decision and is a critical part of the conveyancing process. It’s essential to include all relevant information in this statement, as omitting key details can lead to legal issues later on. It’s wise to consult an experienced property lawyer for this.
  • Draft a Contract of Sale: In Victoria, there are two main types of contracts for selling residential property: a standard contract of sale and an auction contract. Your contract should clearly list the property details, names of the vendor and purchaser, details of their lawyers or conveyancers, and the agreed-upon purchase price. To ensure your contract meets all legal requirements, getting professional advice from a property lawyer is recommended.
  • Understand the Binding Nature of the Contract: Once both you (the vendor) and the purchaser sign the contract of sale, it becomes legally binding. The buyer is typically required to pay a deposit, usually 10% of the purchase price (though this can be negotiated), upon signing.
  • Know Your Rights if the Buyer Defaults: If the buyer defaults on the contract of sale, especially after the cooling-off period, you might be entitled to terminate the contract and keep the deposit. However, the specifics can vary based on the contract terms.

Remember, each step in selling your property is crucial, and getting the right legal advice can make the process smoother and protect your interests.

Ready to Sell? Settled Is Here to Help

Ready to sell your property but feeling a bit overwhelmed? You’re not alone. It’s a big step, filled with important decisions about what stays, what goes, and how to manage the whole process. 

That’s where Settled.com.au comes in. Our team of experienced professionals is here to guide you through every stage of selling your home. 

So why worry about the details? Reach out to Settled.com.au and let us take the hassle out of selling your home. With our expertise, you can look forward to a successful sale and the exciting next chapter in your life. 

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Home Seller’s Rights FAQs

Can you pull out of a house sale before settlement?

In Victoria, pulling out of a house sale before settlement as a seller is generally not straightforward. Once the contract of sale is signed, it becomes legally binding. If a seller decides to back out, they could face legal and financial repercussions. This could include being sued for damages by the buyer or forfeiting the deposit they received. However, specific circumstances, like certain conditions in the contract, might allow for withdrawal. It’s crucial to seek legal advice before making such a decision.

What happens to the deposit if a sale falls through?

If a property sale falls through in Victoria, what happens to the deposit depends on the reason for the sale’s failure. If the buyer defaults (for instance, by failing to secure financing), the seller may be entitled to keep the deposit. However, if the seller is at fault or both parties mutually agree to end the contract, the deposit is typically returned to the buyer. The exact outcome can depend on the terms of the contract and the specific circumstances.

Do you lose your deposit if finance falls through in Victoria?

In Victoria, if a buyer cannot secure finance and the contract includes a ‘subject to finance’ clause, the buyer may be able to withdraw from the sale without losing their deposit. This clause allows the buyer to terminate the contract if they are unable to obtain a loan by a specified date. However, if no such clause exists, or the buyer fails to adhere to the conditions of the clause (like applying for the loan in a timely manner), they risk losing their deposit. Again, specific contract terms and circumstances will dictate the outcome.

How long is the cooling off period in Victoria? 

Private sales of residential and small rural properties come with a cooling-off period lasting three full business days.

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