You do not need to wait until you have signed contracts to engage with a conveyancer/ solicitor. In fact it makes more sense to select your conveyancer/ solicitor the moment you decide to buy or sell. This way, you have an appropriate person to discuss any questions with an review documents prior to signing anything.
Although it is not against the law to undertake your own conveyancing services, it is highly recommended that you seek out a skilled conveyancer/ solicitor to assist you with this process. Do not attempt to undertake this yourself unless you have the appropriate knowledge and know exactly what you need to do prior to entering into any transactions. If an error is made, you may cause settlement to be delayed (causing default interest to be payable by you) or even enable the other party to terminate the contract.
A “cooling off period” describes the time whereby a buyer can rescind from the contract and walk away from the purchase without any repercussions, within a certain time period which varies from state to state. Please note a “cooling off period” does not apply for auction sales.
Cooling off periods by state:
Queensland: Five days from exchange, unless waived by the purchaser. If the purchaser exercises their cooling off right, they forfeit 0.25% of the purchase price.
New South Wales: Five days from exchange, unless waived by the purchaser. If the purchaser exercises their cooling off right, they forfeit 0.25% of the purchase price.
ACT: Five days from exchange, unless waived by the purchaser. If the purchaser exercises their cooling off right, they forfeit 0.25% of the purchase price. The cooling off period does not apply if the purchaser is a company.
Victoria: within 3 business days of the day the purchaser signs the contact, if none of these exceptions apply:
The purchaser bought the property at or within three business days before or after a publicly listed auction;
The purchaser and vendor previously signed a contract for the sale of the same property, in substantially the same terms;
The purchase is entitled to a full refund of the monies paid except for $100 or 0.2% of the purchase price (whatever is greater).
Tasmania: No cooling off period applies
South Australia: Two business days from the day of exchange or the date the purchase receives the Form 1 Vendor’s Statement, whichever is the latter. If the property is offered for sale by auction, and the purchaser makes a successful offer prior to the auction date, the cooling off period applies, unless the purchaser waives their right after receiving independent legal advice. The cooling off period does not apply if the purchaser is a company. If the purchaser exercises their cooling off right, they forfeit their holding deposit (usually $100).
Western Australia: No cooling off period applies
Northern Territory: Four business days from exchange, unless it is waived by the purchaser. The cooling off period does not apply for exchanges that occur within four business days of a publicly held auction. If the purchasers exercises their cooling off right they are not liable to pay an amount of damages, costs or expenses and is entitled to a return of any deposit paid under the contract.
Due to the number of variables and different parties involved in this process, it is impossible to provide a definite timeframe. In general circumstances the process will commence once you have entered into the contract and progress into settlement- where important legal documents are exchanged and final payment made; and then to the transfer of the title.