Penrith Lawyers - Phone (02) 4731 5899

Selling Your Home, Unit or Land

Preparation of Sale Contract

If you are selling a residential property occupied by yourself or a tenant (houses, units and rural properties under 2.5 hectares in area) the current law in New South Wales requires that a contract for the sale of the property must be prepared and made available to your selling agent (or must be in your possession if you are selling privately) before the property can be shown to any prospective purchaser. Substantial fines can be imposed for breaches of this law on both vendors and their selling agents.

The current law also requires that the sale contract must have attached to it a copy of the title deed to the property, a copy of the plan of subdivision which created the property and copies of all documents that affect the title of the property (e.g. easements, covenants and restrictions etc). A zoning certificate (obtained from the local council) and a sewer mains diagram (if the property is connected to a sewer service) must also be attached to the contract. These provisions apply whether the property is to be sold by private treaty (by negotiation with the buyer) or if it is to be auctioned.

At Bateman Battersby Lawyers Penrith we can generally provide your estate agent and yourself with copies of a sale contract within three (3) working days from receiving your instructions, subject to the availability of the above documents from the relevant authorities. An account for the work undertaken in preparing the contracts will be forwarded to you with a copy of your contract.

Exchange of Contracts

Once a buyer makes an offer to purchase your property which is acceptable to you an exchange of contracts can be effected in one of two ways. Either your estate agent will arrange for both yourself and the buyer to sign copies of the contract held by the agent or the agent will otherwise forward ourselves details of the sale and request that we forward a contract to the purchaser’s solicitor/conveyancer.

If your agent exchanges the contract the buyer will generally receive the benefit of a five (5) business days cooling-off period in which to obtain legal advice about the terms of the contract, arrange finance (if necessary) and obtain inspection reports on the property (if required). If your buyer decides to pull out of the contract before the cooling-off period expires they will forfeit to you an amount equivalent to 0.25% of the sale price. PLEASE NOTE that the cooling off period only applies to the buyer. Once you sign a sales contract as vendor, you are bound to the sale of your property.

If the contracts are not exchanged by your agent we will make arrangements for you to attend our offices (if convenient) to sign a copy of the contract and thereafter arrange an exchange of signed contracts with the buyers solicitor/conveyancer. In these circumstances we will negotiate that this exchange be effected without any further cooling-off period subject to the buyer agreeing to same.


Once the sale contracts have been exchanged and any cooling-off period has expired your matter will then proceed to completion. The majority of property transactions are finalised within 6-8 weeks from the date on which contracts are exchanged however this can vary depending upon the requirements of the seller or the buyer. The contract contains a time clause which determines the settlement date and if you have any special requirements in this respect it is important that you discuss these with us at the commencement of your matter. If you have a mortgage on the title to your property we will liaise with your lending institution to arrange for the mortgage to be discharged and the title deed to be made available on the date of settlement so that it may be handed to your buyer’s legal representative.

On the date of settlement you must have vacated the property (unless it has been sold subject to a tenancy), leave the property in a clean and tidy condition and provide the keys to the property to your selling agent. In addition to arranging for the discharge of any mortgage we will also attend to the adjustment of council and water rates (and strata levies if the property is a unit) and ensure that the balance of the sale proceeds are either deposited into an account nominated by you or made available for collection from our offices as soon as practicable after settlement. Our fees will be deducted at the date of settlement and the local council, relevant water authority and the Valuer General’s office will be advised of the change in ownership of your property so that all future rate and valuation notices are directed to the new owner. There are a number of other things that you should consider doing upon completion of your sale details of which can be found in our Bateman Battersby “Things to Do when Moving House-Selling” guide.

You can accurately assess the full costs involved in your sale transaction by accessing our Bateman Battersby Sales Budget guide. If you require further information in regards to the cost of your proposed transaction or wish to discuss any other matter dealing with your property sale please contact a member of our Property Law Advice Team.

At Bateman Battersby Lawyers Penrith our Conveyancing & Property Law Advice Team can assist you with:

  • Choice of reputable selling agent in your area.
  • Preparation of sale and auctions contracts.
  • Details about the impact of Land Tax, Capital Gains Tax and the GST on your sale.
  • Strategies that you can adopt if you are looking to buy another property in tandem with the sale of your existing residence.
Ensure you make the right property decisions, contact us