Preparing to sell your property

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If you knowingly conceal from a potential buyer a material fact about a property you are selling, you are breaking the law. This applies from 1 March 2020.

Material Fact Guidelines – for all vendors and their agents when selling land

The Material Fact Guidelines explain what a material fact is. They provide examples of material facts and tips for vendors and estate agents to help them comply with the law.

These guidelines aim to help vendors and any person acting on behalf of a vendor, including:

  • estate agents
  • conveyancers
  • lawyers.

Download a copy of the Material Fact Guidelines (Word, 46KB).

What is a material fact?

A material fact is a fact that would be important to a potential purchaser in deciding whether or not to buy land, or which may influence a purchaser to buy land at a certain price.

A fact can be material if:

  • an average purchaser would consider it important to their decision whether or not to buy the property, or
  • a fact is known to be important to a specific purchaser.

The maximum penalty for knowingly concealing a material fact when selling land is:

  • a fine of over $19,000 (120 penalty units), or
  • up to 12 months imprisonment.

This extends to all land, including:

  • residential
  • commercial
  • rural land.

Property finance for sellers

If you plan to buy a property before selling your current property, you may need to arrange a loan to cover the cost.

If you plan to use the money from the sale of your home to pay for the new property, and settlement for your new property is before settlement of your home, you may need a bridging loan to cover this financial gap.

Try negotiating the settlement dates to ensure you have the money from your sold property to pay for your new property, rather than get bridging finance. Bridging finance can be more expensive than a regular home loan.

For information and tools to help you work out your budget and investigate home loans and finance, visit MoneySmart.

Presenting your property for sale

It is natural to want to present your property in the best possible light. First impressions count, so it is a good idea to mow the lawn, place a few plants in the garden, keep the house clean and tidy, and add a coat of paint.

While it is acceptable to present a property in a good light, it is illegal to cover up, misrepresent or in any way mislead a buyer about its true condition.‚Äč

View False or misleading representations

Open for inspection and open houses

If there are any personal items you do not want the public to see, hide them from view and lock your valuables away.

Your agent may ask anyone entering the property for proof of identity and contact details. This is a security measure. It can also provide the agent with a database of potential buyers.

It is not a legal requirement for people to leave their details with an agent at an open house, but you can make this a condition of entry to your property.

Selling an owner-built house

There are specific legal requirements if you are selling a property you built yourself, or managed a contractor to build on your behalf.

For more information, view Owner builders.

Tips

When you give your estate agent your asking or reserve price, the agent cannot advertise your property at less than this price.

If you choose not to give your estate agent an asking or reserve price, then your agent must set a reasonable estimated selling price based on the sale prices of the three most comparable properties. 

The estimated selling price an agent gives you cannot misrepresent the price at which they believe the property may sell.

The agent should seek your written approval:

  • of the price or range at which your home is to be advertised
  • that you will consider offers at that price or for all prices within that range.