Buying Tips - What to Expect When Making an Offer

You’ve been searching for that perfect property for weeks, and now found one you view as ideal. After discussion of all the relevant factors you have decide to make an offer on the property. What happens then?

In New South Wales, in the vast majority of cases, it will be the agent or sales person who is responsible for negotiating the sale. Your offer is submitted to the owners both verbally & in writing, which upon being accepted both you & the owner then need to sign the contract.

The contract will include the price you are offering to pay for the house or unit, your preferred settlement date and the terms under which you are willing to buy it (subject to a building inspection, for instance). If the owner agrees to accept your price, terms and conditions, you have a legally enforceable contract for the sale and purchase of land.

It is important you get the agent to explain all the conditions and how they are applied. Read the contract carefully and ask the sales person to explain any terms or conditions that aren’t entirely clear. Check the price, the settlement date and the inclusions in the sale (for instance, the built-in robes are included in the sale, but the cubby-house isn’t).

If the owners are unhappy with the price or any of the conditions you have offered, they will make changes to your offer to something that is acceptable to them. It may be they are looking for a higher price, or a different settlement date. By making any changes to your contract the owner has made you a counter offer - and the ball is back in your court.

If you are happy with the counter offer you would sign a Contract for Sale. Once the contract is signed, there comes into effect the cooling off period. This is the standard consumer protection in New South Wales. The cooling-off period is 5 business days after signing - that is, not including weekends and public holidays, or the day on which the form was served on you. It begins at the time of the buyer signs the contract and the cooling off period form.