With Western Australia not recognising a cooling-off period, as is observed in some other states, it is integral buyers are sure about a property purchase before they sign the dotted line.
Ray White Mirrabooka Principal David Whiteman said once acceptance was communicated regarding a property in WA, a legally binding contract came into play under which a buyer could be forced to follow through with the purchase.
Mr Whiteman said, however, that some extenuating circumstances could negate a purchase agreement.
“If the offer is subject to finance, and the bank says it’s not prepared to offer you a loan, then our contracts would give the buyer an out in terms of that condition,” he said.
Finance might be rejected for a number of reasons, including if the buyer is suddenly retrenched or has work hours cut.
Mr Whiteman said the process became a bit murkier when a buyer had a change of heart and decided they wished to withdraw from purchasing a property.
“In the event that a contract has been accepted, there is no clause in any of our contracts in WA to account for a change of mind,” he said.
“So essentially, there isn’t an out in terms of a special condition, there isn’t an opportunity to cancel a contract or have a cooling-off period.
“I guess people only see it from one side, but as I say to buyers, the whole reason to sign a contract is so there is a very firm agreement and the seller can’t change their mind, because if you really wanted this property and the seller changed their mind, you would be disappointed, too.”
For buyers wanting to withdraw from a purchase, Mr Whiteman said they should communicate that to the selling agent, who would then pass the message on to the seller so it could be negotiated further. The results come on a person-to-person basis.
“As agents we’re not a part of the contract, we’re just facilitating it, and whatever buyers are wanting we communicate to the seller,” he said.
“Some sellers will say they signed a contract so bad luck, they’re buying, and some other sellers can be more sympathetic and accommodating.
“But in those events where someone has lost a job or just doesn’t have capacity to borrow money, who had finance approved and then found out that they’ve lost their job and the finance was withdrawn, there are clauses that help protect people from those changes to their life.”
Mr Whiteman said the process in WA was quite simple and relatively easy to navigate.
“I think we’re lucky agents still prepare contracts,” he said. “We’ve got standard clauses and we’ve got plenty of conditions that protect buyers.
“I think all good agents would exercise real diligence and care to their buyers because that buyer may become a seller and if you treat them with dignity and respect, there is every chance they will use you again.
“I think we’ve got a really good system here in WA.”