What is a cooling-off period?

When embarking on the journey of buying or selling property in Queensland, it’s crucial to be informed about all aspects of the conveyancing process. One key feature that often comes into play, yet is sometimes misunderstood, is the cooling-off period. This article aims to demystify the cooling-off period for both buyers and sellers, ensuring that clients of Gold Coast City Solicitors are well-equipped with knowledge to navigate their conveyancing transactions smoothly.

What is the Cooling-Off Period?

The cooling-off period in the context of Queensland conveyancing refers to a legally mandated timeframe that allows a buyer to reconsider their purchase after signing a contract for the sale of residential property. This period is designed to give the buyer time to reflect on their decision, seek further legal advice, arrange financing, or conduct additional inspections of the property without the pressure of an immediate binding commitment.

Duration and Commencement

In Queensland, the standard cooling-off period is 5 business days, commencing the day after the buyer receives a signed copy of the contract. It’s important to note that this period can vary under certain circumstances, and different rules may apply for auctions or if the buyer waives their right to a cooling-off period through a solicitor’s certificate.

How Does it Affect Buyers?

For buyers, the cooling-off period offers a valuable opportunity to ensure that their decision to purchase the property is well-considered and not made in haste. During this time, a buyer can decide to terminate the contract for any reason. However, it’s essential to understand that exercising this right may come with financial implications. In Queensland, if a buyer cancels a contract during the cooling-off period, the seller may be entitled to keep 0.25% of the purchase price as a penalty.

Exemptions and Waivers

There are specific circumstances where the cooling-off period does not apply, such as when buying at auction or if the property is purchased for commercial or industrial purposes. Additionally, a buyer can choose to waive the cooling-off period by providing a solicitor’s certificate indicating they fully understand the implications of their decision. This action is often taken in competitive buying scenarios to make an offer more appealing to the seller.

Sellers’ Perspective

While the cooling-off period predominantly protects the buyer, sellers must also be aware of its implications. Sellers should understand that during this period, the deal is not yet secure, and the buyer has the right to withdraw. This understanding is crucial for sellers to manage their expectations and plan accordingly, especially if they are coordinating the sale of their property with the purchase of another.

Practical Advice for Navigating the Cooling-Off Period

  1. Seek Professional Advice: Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, consulting with a conveyancing solicitor can provide clarity on the implications of the cooling-off period for your specific situation.


  1. Understand Your Rights and Obligations: Buyers should be aware of their right to terminate the contract during the cooling-off period, and both parties should understand the financial implications of such a decision.


  1. Consider Timing: If you’re buying, factor in the cooling-off period as part of your overall timeline for purchasing the property. Sellers should also prepare for the possibility of the sale not proceeding if the buyer withdraws during this period.


  1. Communicate Effectively: Open and clear communication between all parties involved can help manage expectations and reduce the potential for misunderstandings.

The cooling-off period is a significant aspect of the conveyancing process in Queensland, offering protection and breathing space for buyers while also presenting certain considerations for sellers. At Gold Coast City Solicitors, we understand the nuances of conveyancing laws and are here to guide our clients through every step of their property transaction. Whether you’re contemplating a purchase, preparing to sell, or simply seeking advice on your rights and obligations, our team is ready to provide the expert support you need.

For more detailed information on how the cooling-off period might affect your specific circumstances, or to discuss any aspect of conveyancing in Queensland, contact Gold Coast City Solicitors today. Let us help you navigate your property transaction with confidence and peace of mind.


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