Legal information for selling privately in South Australia
For Your Information
There are various ways to sell your home. You may wish to sell your property yourself rather than appoint an agent. You may hire an agent to negotiate a sale by private treaty or to assist you to auction your home. Research the market thoroughly and talk to other people about their experiences. Also, as with all other States, every home owner has the right to sell their property privately and the most important issue to cover for any private home seller is seeking legal advice from a solicitor or conveyance prior to listing your home or property for sale. The knowing of your legal and contractual requirements from the beginning is highly advisable for any for sale by owner.
If you choose to sell your property yourself rather than appoint an agent, it is possible to save money as you do not pay any agent’s commission. Inspect comparable properties, obtain sales figures for comparable properties in your area and find statistics on recent property sales in your area. You will need to undertake the searches required under the Land and Business (Sale and Conveyancing) Act 1994 and complete the vendor statement yourself. You will also need to arrange and pay directly for your own advertising and make yourself available to answer calls from potential buyers and show them the property. It is a good idea to request all offers to be in writing, including counter offers. Contracts for the sale of land must be in writing otherwise they have no legal validity. It is recommended that you obtain legal advice about the contract of sale, Form 1 (vendor’s statement) and any other legal documentation. You should obtain all quotes before proceeding.
You should be aware that a buyer is entitled to a cooling-off period of two clear business days during which they can withdraw from the sale. However, there is no cooling-off period if they are buying at auction. The cooling-off period starts after the signing of the contract for sale, or the giving of the Form 1, whichever comes last. There is no cooling-off period for sellers so you will be bound by the contract for sale as soon as you and the buyer sign it. It is against the law for an agent to be paid a commission if a purchaser decides to cool off on a sale contract.
Your responsibilities as a vendor
The buyer must be provided with a Form 1 statement (vendor’s statement) setting out the cooling-off rights and specified particulars regarding the property. Your agent will need to certify the completeness and accuracy of the statement. If you are selling the house yourself but the buyer has an agent acting for them, then the buyer’s agent must make the prescribed inquiries and certify as to their completeness and accuracy. If neither you nor the buyer has an agent acting then it will be your responsibility to make the required inquiries of the Department of Environment and Heritage, Lands Titles Office and the local council, as set out in the Land and Business (Sale and Conveyancing) Act 1994 and the Land and Business (Sale and Conveyancing) Regulations 1995 and you will be responsible for the completeness and accuracy of the statement. You should discuss with your agent which of your appliances, furniture and other personal effects, such as pot plants you do not want included in the sale. Generally, items such as hard-wired kitchen appliances and curtains and blinds are included. Make sure you advise the agent if you want to take any items with you after sale and ensure the agent specifically excludes them from the sale. The Form 1 statement must be provided to the buyer at least 10 clear days before settlement where sale is not by auction.