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3 key facts about cooling-off periods in Queensland

By Andrew Bell

Buying real estate is thrilling. But, to paraphrase every superhero movie under the sun, with great thrill comes great responsibility. As a buyer, it is imperative that you understand exactly what you're getting into, and the legal minutiae that you will be dealing with.

When you buy property on the Gold Coast, whether it's at auction or by private treaty, there are some specifics that are slightly different from the rest of the country. Here's what you need to know about cooling-off periods in our corner of Australia.

1) There is no cooling-off period for sales after the auction

In most parts of the country, a cooling-off period applies to private treaty sales (and, in some extremely special cases, to auctions – this is very rare though). This is a grace period in which you can back out of a sale at minimal cost. It is normally around five business days, but this can vary from sale to sale. Even if an auction passes in, bidders may often enter a private treaty agreements in the aftermath.

Buying Surfers Paradise property, however, presents a different way of doing things. This is because under Queensland law, there is no cooling-off period for any sale immediately following an auction. If you were a registered bidder or enter a private treaty deal within two days of an unsuccessful bidding process, there will also be no cooling-off for you.

This remains the case, even when an auctioned property fails inspections or your home loan pre-approval falls through. This is why it is so important to read all details of a property and understand exactly what you can afford. Considering the high volume of auctions going under the hammer at The Event, it might be a good idea to get a professional on your side before then!

2) You won't get all of your money back if you cool off

With most residential property transactions, the cooling-off period lasts five business days from when you received the contract, ending at 5pm on the fifth day. If you decide to back out of a sale in this time, the vendor then has to give you back the deposit within 14 days.

However, they are not obliged to return the full amount – a fee can be deducted amounting to 0.25 per cent of the purchase price. For example: the Real Estate Institute of Queensland noted in December that for the previous quarter, the median house price was $565,000.

At this price level, the fee deducted would be $1,412.50 – all with nothing to show for it on your end. It can, quite literally, pay to make sure you understand your rights and responsibilities with cooling off periods.

3) Cooling-off periods can be waived

The Queensland Government points out that a cooling-off period can be waived entirely, if both parties agree to it in writing – yet another reason to always read the fine print on your contract of sale. This method can also be used to shorten or lengthen the cooling-off period.

If you're new to buying Surfers Paradise property, it's so important to make sure you fully understand the process – especially if you're heading to auction. This January, we will have tens of thousands of visitors on the Gold Coast – many of whom will be competing for properties at The Event. If you want to compete alongside them, make sure you're ready and armed with all the auction information you need.

For any and all information on buying Gold Coast property, make sure to get in touch with the team at Ray White Surfers Paradise.

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