Helpful information when you are buying a property

It's important to understand the process and be well-informed about the market before you buy a property.

There is a lot of information to help you when deciding to purchase. It is important that you seek independent legal and financial advice.

Before you buy a home or vacant residential land, you should be aware of a range of issues that may affect that property and impose restrictions or obligations on you, 

NSW Dept of Fair Trading has a wealth of information on their website here: Buying a property

How to make an offer  

If you make an offer, you are one step closer to owning the property but it doesn’t mean that you have finalised the sale. Before exchanging contracts, the seller may negotiate with other buyers for a higher offer, even if you have made an expression of interest payment. If the seller accepts another offer and exchanges contracts with that party, any prospective buyer who misses out on the property, despite a verbal agreement, is gazumped.

Paying an expression of interest

Once you have made an offer, you may be asked to pay an initial deposit as an expression of interest. This won’t mean that the property is yours or that it gets taken off the market. It only proves to the seller that your offer is serious.

Your expression of interest deposit is also refundable.

The seller or agent can take as many preliminary deposits as they like for the one property. However, before you pay this deposit, the agent must give you the following information in writing:

  • the vendor has no obligation to sell the property,
  • the buyer has no obligation to buy the property, and
  • the deposit is refundable if a contract for sale of the property is not entered into.

Before the agent accepts the deposit, you must give a signed written statement to the agent confirming you were given the above information and you understand it.

The agent must promptly inform you if a subsequent offer is made to purchase the property and that you have the right to make further offers until exchange of contracts has taken place.

Remember that the agent selling the property is not working for you, but for the seller of the property.

If another person enters into a contract for sale of the property which you paid a deposit for, you are entitled to a full refund of your deposit. The agent must refund the expression of interest deposit within 14 days.


There are other considerations when making an offer on a property that hasn’t been constructed yet.

Negotiating changes to the contract

You can ask the seller to change the terms of the contract of sale before signing it. A solicitor or licensed conveyancer can review the contract to provide important advice on what specific terms you may want negotiate or change given your personal circumstances.


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