A Guide to Selling Your Own Home

Step 1 - Contract Of Sale

Before holding your first inspections, you should have a contract of sale prepared and a copy available for review (for NSW has to be done prior to listing and advertising). This is normally drawn up by a Solicitor or Conveyancer but can be done yourself using standard templates (links available above). It is at this point you need to decide which chattels will be sold with the property and obtain relevant certificates such as pool safety certificates.

There are some specific State legal requirements that must be included in this contract per below.

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

It is compulsory for vendors to prepare a Contract of Sale along with various other reports before advertising. A standard ACT Contract of Sale can be purchased from the Law Society.

All residential property, except rural properties cannot be marketed in NSW without a contract of sale. You must also have the Schedule 1 Prescribed Documents before your property is advertised.

An approved Contract of Sale of Land form must be used for all house sales. This needs to be approved by the Law Society Northern Territory or the Register of Land, Business and Conveyancing Agents. The contracts are legally binding once they have been exchanged. Approved contracts can be downloaded from Law Society NT.

You must include the Warning Statement. This advises the buyer:

  • About the cooling-off period
  • to get independent legal advice
  • to hire an independent valuer
  • The wording and placement must be exact and clear otherwise the buyer can cancel the contract without penalty. More information found here.

    A Form One Disclosure Statement has to be provided to the buyer at least 10 days before settlement. If your property sells for up to $300,000, a Vendor’s statement for the sale of small business must be provided with the contract of sale.

    The pro forma contract of sale for Tasmania is made up of 2 parts:

  • The standard condition of sale
  • The particulars of sale
  • The purchaser normally signs first and then this becomes a legal and binding contract when the buyer signs. Standard contracts can be purchased through The Law Society of Tasmania.

    The vendor must provide the Vendor’s Statement to a potential buyer before a contract of sale is signed.

    The offer is made with both a contract of sale or Land or Strata by Offer and Acceptance form and the Joint Form of General Conditions for the Sale of Land.


    Step 2 - Deciding on your price

    It is crucial to get this right, as it is illegal to misrepresent a property’s sale price. We recommend you hire a Registered Valuer as this is a worthwhile investment. Other options include a property report to receive a guide price range.

    Step 3 - Listing and advertising

    Choosing a professional property listing and marketing company ( who can get you onto key Real Estate sites such as and provide the marketing expertise and materials such as professional sign boards and photography.

    Step 4 - Prepare your property for sale

    Before your photos are taken you need to invest time into the presentation of your property. This includes tidying up the gardens and exterior to make the property appealing, decluttering and cleaning inside. Any small maintenance jobs are worth completing ahead of inspections to give the best impression to potential buyers.

    Step 5 - Photography

    Professional photography is a must to attract buyers for your property. Extras such as 3D walk-throughs or interactive floor plans engage the viewer and increase enquiries.

    Step 6 - Viewings

    Before holding an open for inspection, it’s a good idea to have brochures printed ready for potential buyers to take away. As above, a copy of your contract should also be available for interested parties (this is a legal requirement in some states such as NSW).

    In your listing page on our Virtual Agent Portal you are able to specify open home times which will be advertised on your listing. Private inspections can be arranged via the My Enquiries section of the Virtual Agent Portal without having to publish your phone number. If a potential buyer is interested in making an offer they will request a contract of sale.

    Step 7 - Offers and signing of contracts

    You need to ensure any verbal offers are followed up with a written contract of sale to make it binding. A Solicitor or Conveyancer should review any buyer changes before signing a counter offer or acceptance, as a contract is enforceable once signed by the seller.

    Once an offer is accepted, you are able to take a holding deposit (usually 10%) from the buyer, which is held in a Solicitor's trust account.

    When both parties have signed and agreed terms, the property is ‘under contract’ and your listing will need to be updated. Any enquiries should still be noted incase the property sale falls through.

    Step 8 - Exchange and cooling off period

    Once any contract conditions have been fulfilled (such as financing, building inspection or sale of buyers own home) the contracts are ‘exchanged’ and each party receives a fully executed copy of the contract. This is normally undertaken by your Solicitor or Conveyancer.

    Buyers have a cooling off period that varies from State to State as detailed below. There are exceptions for auctions and the buyer can agree to waive this period.

    If the buyer cancels the contract within their cooling off period, the seller is entitled to deduct a penalty of 0.25% of the purchase price from the deposit. The remainder of the deposit then needs to be refunded.

  • ACT, NSW & QLD - 5 business days cooling off period
  • NT – 4 business days cooling off period
  • VIC - 3 business days
  • SA - 2 business days
  • WA & TAS - there is no mandatory cooling off period. The buyer and seller if required can agree this.
  • Once the cooling off period has successfully passed, the sale is ‘unconditional’ and your property needs to be updated as sold.

    Step 9 - Settlement

    Settlement occurs on the settlement date agreed in the signed contract of sale. This is when the remainder of the purchase price is paid to the seller of the property, all legal documents are exchanged and transfer of title happens (this is normally managed by your Solicitor or Conveyancer). Keys are handed over and your work is done!