Cooling Off Period

Navigating Australia’s diverse real estate cooling off periods by state.

What is a cooling off period?


In Australia’s dynamic real estate market, the term ‘cooling off period’ is essential for prospective homebuyers to understand. This crucial window allows buyers a set duration, typically five business days in most states, to reconsider or withdraw from a property purchase without significant penalty. Originating as a safeguard against impulsive decisions, the cooling off period offers a safety net, ensuring consumers have the time to assess the viability of their property investment. While conditions and durations can vary across states, understanding this concept can be pivotal to navigating the Aussie property landscape with confidence.


Cooling Off Periods By State


In NSW, the cooling off period in real estate is a vital aspect. Providing buyers five business days post-contract, it’s an opportunity to reevaluate property purchases, guarding against hasty decisions. This period, while varying among states, is pivotal in safeguarding Australian homebuyers’ interests and ensuring informed property investments.


In Queensland’s bustling property scene, the cooling off period ends in five days post-contract. It’s designed to allow potential homebuyers the chance to reflect upon their property commitments. Though stipulations can vary across Australia, in QLD, this period acts as a crucial buffer, ensuring decisions are well-informed and that buyers are protected from rash investments.


Victoria’s property framework ensures that potential buyers have three clear business days as their cooling off periods. This span, initiated post signing, is a chance to deliberate on property agreements. In comparison to other states, VIC’s structure highlights the state’s commitment to providing consumers with sufficient time to ensure their investment decisions are solid.


In the property market of South Australia, the cooling off period spans two business days, granting buyers a brief window post-contract to review their decisions. Although shorter than some other states, this period underscores SA’s effort to balance swift property transactions with buyer protection.


Tasmania’s property market operates without a designated cooling off period after a binding contract of sale. Buyers in TAS should thus approach property agreements with caution, understanding the implications of their decisions in the state’s distinct property market framework.


Western Australia’s real estate landscape doesn’t officially recognise a cooling off period once the contract of sale has been signed, placing increased responsibility on buyers to make well-informed decisions. This differentiates WA from other Australian states, highlighting the significance of understanding local property regulations and stipulations.


The ACT allocates five business days as the cooling off period, echoing a commitment to protect buyers after contract finalisation. This period, akin to some other states, demonstrates the region’s endeavour to ensure buyers have time to reflect and make well-judged property decisions.



In the Northern Territory’s property sector, the cooling off period starts post-contract signing and ends in four days. This time frame offers NT buyers a chance to deliberate on their property commitments. As regulations differ across Australia, understanding NT’s specific provisions aids in navigating property transactions confidently.

Expert Advice

a woman signing a property contract of sale

Can you cancel the contract during the cooling off period?

Buying a house comes with a cooling off period, a designated window to reconsider your purchase. But how long is the cooling off period? While it varies by state, it’s typically a few business days. So, if doubts creep in during this phase, you can still withdraw and submit a written notice. Here are some reasons you might want to cancel a contract of sale during the cooling off period:

  • Unsettling Discoveries: Maybe the building and pest inspection arranged during the cooling off period unveiled problems. These newfound issues might make you rethink buying.
  • Altered Property Appeal: Information post-contract, like an approved nearby development, could alter the residential property’s appeal. Imagine expecting a view, only to learn it’ll be blocked soon.
  • Loan Approval Hitches: Property contracts often hinge on the clause ‘subject to loan approval.’ If your lender doesn’t give the nod, it could be a reason to step back.
  • Shift in Finances: Personal financial situations can change. If yours does, proceeding with buying might no longer be feasible.
  • A Better Property Emerges: After the initial commitment, you might spot another house that feels more ‘you’ or has a purchase price that suits your budget better. Then, you have all the right to change your mind.

How Long Is the Cooling Off Period?

It could be a five or 10-day cooling off period, depending on the property location.

Is waiving the cooling off period possible?

Yes, waiving the cooling off period, commonly a five or 10-day cooling off period in certain transactions, is indeed possible and sometimes practiced in Australia’s brisk property market environment. Eager to expedite the process? Here’s how it works:


  • Voluntary Waiver: Buyers can voluntarily choose to waive even before the cooling off period starts. This might be a strategic move, especially in competitive property markets where the property buyer wishes to make their offer more attractive.
  • Seeking Legal Advice: Before making the decision to waive, it’s critical to seek legal advice. Your solicitor or conveyancer will help you understand the implications and risks involved.
  • Providing a Certificate: Typically, to waive the cooling off period, the buyer’s solicitor needs to provide a certificate that verifies the buyer understands the ramifications of their decision and has taken legal advice on the matter.
  • Potential Risks: Waiving this period means forgoing the right to withdraw from the contract of sale without significant penalties. It’s a decision that requires careful consideration.
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Navigate Cooling Off Periods in Real Estate

Should you go through the cooling off period or send a written notice to waive it? Let us help you decide.