What is the Cooling Off Period for Home Purchase Contracts

Are you in the market for a new home? Have you ever wondered when buying a home, what is a cooling off period and how does it affect the contract?

Your Rights with Rescission
In the majority of cases, a property sale is finalized after the agreement is signed and a cooling-off period has elapsed. The cooling off period is defined as the time from the moment the property sale agreement is signed by both parties until 5 pm on the next business day or Saturday. If an irreconcilable issue with the property or process arises during the cooling-off period, a buyer can enact a measure known as rescission to minimize the damage.


Normally the termination of a property sale on the buyer’s behalf results in the assessment of a cancelation penalty that is commonly expressed as a percentage of the total price of a property for sale. Rescission is a way for buyers to legally avoid these penalties and be released from any further responsibility to the property or seller.

When a buyer’s right to rescission is invoked, the seller has just 24 hours to return all monies paid toward the purchase price, as well as any other funds related to the transaction. The property sale agreement is considered for legal purposes to be void effective at the time of signing, and the buyer will also be absolved of all responsibility for damages related to the failed sale.


There are a few scenarios in which the cooling off period, and therefore rescission, are unavailable to homebuyers. One of these is with any sale of a property made in Tasmania or Western Australia, as these are considered exempted zones from the national cooling-off period policy. Buyers of properties at auction are also not entitled to rescission, as sales typically become final when an auction is complete.

The cooling-off period can also be waived as a provision from a property sale contract to facilitate a faster transaction with the consent of the buyer, the seller, and any representative parties. The buyer can also elect to specify a longer than mandated cooling-off period before the sale is totally finalized, and although this type of amendment can easily be made to a purchase agreement, it is sometimes associated with an additional service fee.

Buying a home is a significant commitment that requires substantial consideration throughout the entire process, including after you’ve committed to buy. The cooling-off period on most properties sold in Australia and the associated rescission process allow homebuyers one last chance to evaluate their decision and move in another direction without penalty if necessary.

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  1. very interesting is this practiced in the states would like to know have never heard of it still trying to get my disability and hopefully get a home through the va next year plmk if this applies to the states

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