If you are a buyer of residential real estate you will find that, beginning on 1 March, the cooling-off rules have changed.
On that date you will no longer lose your right to cool off just because you sought and obtained advice from your lawyer before you signed your contract.
From 1 March, if you intend to use your lawyer to help you with your purchase you will be on the same footing as someone who employs a conveyancer, so far as cooling-off goes.
Previously, if you sought advice from your lawyer before you signed your contract you lost your right to change your mind and cool off, while someone who consulted a conveyancer with the same purpose in mind did not.
From 1 March, in the majority of residential sales, the only occasion on which you will not be able to change your mind and cool off after signing your contract will be when you sign within three clear business days before, on the day of, or within three clear business days after a publicly advertised auction.
Some things have not changed, however. You must still exercise your right to cool off within three clear business days of signing your contract. In counting the days, you ignore the day you signed, weekends and public holidays.
If you do cool off, the seller will still be entitled to keep $100 or 0.2 per cent of the contract price, whichever is more, as compensation for losing their sale. Normally, the money will be deducted from the deposit you paid to the selling agent and the difference returned to you.
Source: REIV: Monday 6th February