The sale and purchase agreement

The sale and purchase agreement is legally binding, so it’s important to read it carefully and get legal advice before you sign anything. You can negotiate the terms and conditions of an agreement, but once you sign it, there’s no going back.

​​We publish a sale and purchase agreement guide. The salesperson must give you a copy of the guide before you sign a sale and purchase agreement. We recommend reading the guide early in the buying and selling process.

Download the Sale and Purchase Agreement Guide​ (.pdf 551KB)

Know what's in the sale and purchase agreement

The sale and purchase agreement sets out all the agreed terms and conditions, including these basic clauses:
  • the price
  • chattels (for example, fixed floor coverings, whiteware or curtains) included in the sale
  • the type of title (for example, freehold or leasehold)
  • any conditions the buyer or seller wants fulfilled before the contract is agreed
  • the date the agreement will become unconditional
  • the settlement date
  • any deposit the buyer must pay.

Clauses about obligations and conditions

The agreement will also include clauses that set out obligations and conditions that the
buyer and/or seller must abide by. These may include what access the buyer can have to
inspect the property before settlement and ensuring the property remains insured until the settlement date.

Clauses about default by the buyer or seller

Clauses are also likely to cover what happens if the buyer or seller defaults. This covers
compensation costs that must be paid by the buyer or seller if either defaults on the terms of the agreement, for example, by delaying settlement. Your lawyer can explain these clauses to you.​

You cannot change your mind after you have signed
In general, when you have signed the agreement and the conditions set out in the agreement have been met, you have to go ahead with the purchase of the property.

Buyer’s deposit

When the buyer and seller have signed the sale and purchase agreement, the offer is accepted. 

The buyer must pay a deposit – usually 5–10 % of the purchase price. The deposit details will be set out in the sales and purchase agreement. The buyer can negotiate when the deposit is paid, for example, when the (conditional) offer is accepted or when the agreement becomes unconditional.​

The settlement date

The agreement will also specify the settlement date – the date when the buyer pays the rest of the amount agreed for the property, usually through their lawyer. This is typically also the possession date, when the buyer takes possession of the property.

Download the Sale and Purchase Agreement Guide (.pdf 551KB)

Glossary