A key to successfully selling your home is choosing the right agent. Before making your choice, it is good practice to talk to at least three agents, making sure they each have a valid Licence (you can do a Licence Check online on NSW Fair Trading Website).
When you sign up with an agent, you enter into a legally binding contract, called an Agency Agreement. Below is the Fact Sheet ‘Agency agreements for the sale of residential property’ from NSW Fair Trading, which gives you more detailed information explaining the sign up process, what information is contained within an agency agreement, disclosure, ending the agreement, the types of agency agreements that are available, and where to seek assistance should you need it.
Legally, a residential property cannot be advertised for sale until a Contract of Sale has been prepared by your legal representative. The Contract must contain a copy of the title documents, drainage diagram and a current Zoning Certificate (s149) issued by the Blue Mountains Council.
If the property has a swimming pool or spa, either a copy of a valid certificate of compliance, a valid occupation certificate (issued in the past 3 years) and evidence that the pool has been registered, or a valid certificate of non-compliance must be attached to the Contract. If one of these documents fails to be attached to the Contract, the purchaser may be entitled to rescind the sales contract within 14 days of exchange, unless settlement has already occurred. For more information, talk with your legal representative, or visit the NSW Swimming Pool Register website.
Property exclusions must also be included and a statement of the buyer’s cooling-off rights must be attached. The draft contract must be available for inspection at the agent’s office. It is important that you consult your solicitor or conveyancer about preparing the contract to make sure that everything is in order.
Exchanging Contracts of Sale is the legal part of selling your home. There will be two copies of the Contract of Sale - one for you and one for the buyer/s. You each sign one copy before they are swapped (exchanged). This can be done either by hand or post and is usually arranged by either your legal representative or your agent. At the time of the Exchange, the buyer is required to pay a deposit, usually 10% of the purchase price (unless negotiated otherwise).
The Contract Exchange is the most critical point in the sale process as both the buyer and seller are not legally bound until signed copies of the Contract are Exchanged. It is important to remember that buyers of residential property usually have a cooling off period of five working days following the Exchange of Contracts during which they can withdraw from the sale - this cooling off period can be waived, reduced or extended by negotiation. However, there is no cooling off period for sellers. Once contracts have been exchanged, sellers are generally bound to complete the agreement.
Also, if the agent arranges exchange of contacts, they must give copies of the signed contract to each party or their legal representative within 2 business days.
Settlement is the conclusion of the sale transaction and usually takes place about six weeks after Contracts are exchanged.