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The contract

By law, any agreement for the sale and purchase of land must be in writing. This is whether the property is bought at auction or by private treaty. More information about the methods of sale and the process is set out in the following sections.

The most often used contract is a standard form contract approved by the Real Estate Institute of South Australia, although some practitioners use a standard form contract prepared by the Law Society of South Australia.

This contract should still be checked by someone with special knowledge of real estate contracts - especially if any term has been deleted from, or added to, the contract to suit the individual circumstances. If the contract is not a standard form and is one drafted to include special provisions, you should seek independent legal advice about the terms.

The agent must give a copy of the signed contract to the buyer [see Land and Business (Sale and Conveyancing) Act 1994 s 21]. However it is not a binding contract until it is accepted by the vendor and a Form 1 notice has been given to the purchaser. The Form 1 contains some very important information about the property and your cooling off rights, see After Signing the Contract - Cooling-Off Period.

The terms and conditions of the Real Estate Institute's standard form contract are discussed and explained in order in the following pages. The first page of the standard form contract is the contract note, which sets out details (usually filled in by the land agent), such as:

  • the names and addresses of the vendors and the purchasers
  • an exact description of the land being sold (and whether the whole or a part)
  • details of the chattels (that is, the fixtures and fittings) that are included (or not) in the sale
  • the purchase price
  • how it is to be paid
  • the settlement date.
The contract  :  Last Revised: Fri Dec 13th 2013
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.