Cooling Off Period in TAS

Navigating Tasmania’s real estate? Let’s demystify its unique take on cooling off periods.

WWhat Exactly Is a Cooling off Period in Tasmania’s Real Estate?

A cooling off period offers buyers a brief window to reconsider a property purchase after the contract is signed. While most states associate a mandatory cooling off period with real estate contracts, Tasmania presents a unique scenario. The sale becomes final as soon as contracts are signed and exchanged, resembling the finality of auction sales. However, there’s an intriguing twist. Although not mandatory, the Standard Form Contract for Sale of Real Estate in Tasmania (2023) presents an optional three-day cooling off period.


Who Should Activate the Optional 3-Day Cooling Off Period in Tasmania?

In Tasmania, there isn’t an inherent cooling off duration attached to every property transaction. Instead, the three-day cooling off period serves as an optional provision included in the aforementioned standard form contract. This means the buyer must actively opt for it by ensuring its inclusion in the signed agreement.

a woman signing a property contract of sale

Tasmania’s unique stance: How does it stand out?

Tasmania’s approach to the cooling off period is markedly different from other Australian states. Here, the act of signing and exchanging contracts heralds a definitive commitment, mirroring the uncompromising nature of auction sales. The Property Agents and Land Transactions Act 2016 doesn’t necessitate cooling-off periods for residential property transactions. Moreover, the Act doesn’t compel sellers to disclose property defects. This lack of mandatory disclosure emphasises the “Buyer beware” principle, urging buyers to be diligent and proactive in asking probing questions.

Yet, in a progressive move, the Standard Form Contract for Sale of Real Estate in Tasmania (2023) introduces an optional cooling off period. This provision wasn’t arbitrarily added but was integrated to empower both buyers and sellers in residential property transactions. It becomes a tool of negotiation, offering added flexibility and assurance. For buyers to benefit from this provision, they must be proactive. The clause must be explicitly included in their real estate contract, effectively making it a conscious choice rather than a default condition.


Essential tips before buying property in Tasmania

Considering Tasmania’s unique stance on cooling off periods, due diligence becomes even more crucial when buying property in this region. Keeping the absence of a mandatory cooling off period in mind, here are some tips to ensure you make a well-informed property purchase:


  • Prioritise Pre-purchase Inspections: An initial investment in a pre-purchase inspection can save you from long-term regrets and unforeseen expenses down the road. This step provides an in-depth look into the property’s condition, identifying potential issues that might not be immediately apparent.
  • Vet the Inspector: Don’t just rely on any building inspector. Ensure you ask them about their qualifications, experience and competencies. A seasoned inspector can offer insights that a less experienced individual might miss.
  • Choose Licensed Building Surveyors and Builders: If you’re looking for a heightened sense of assurance, consider engaging licensed building surveyors and builders for your pre-purchase inspections. Their formal qualifications and extensive experience equip them to provide detailed, accurate evaluations of properties.
  • Seek Local Insights: Engaging with local real estate agents or even neighbours can provide invaluable insights into the area’s amenities, local communities and any future development plans that may affect your purchase decision or the property’s future resale value. 
  • Review Property Documents: Together with your conveyancer or solicitor, ensure you go through all property-related documents. This includes checking for any special conditions, easements or covenants that might affect your use of the property. 
  • Always Be Prepared to Walk Away: Remember, without a default cooling off period in place, your decision is final in Tasmania, unlike in other states. If something doesn’t feel right or the property doesn’t tick all your boxes, do not sign the real estate contract. Be prepared to walk away and look for other options.



homebuyers checking out a home with a real estate agent
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