The contract of sale is a legal requirement prepared by a qualified lawyer or licensed conveyancer. This legal document formalises the sale of real estate in Australia. Its legalities, however, vary between states and territories.

Can a real estate agent draft your contract of sale instead? How long does this usually take?

Keep reading the article to learn more about this valuable documentation when buying or selling a house.

What is in a Contract of Sale of Real Estate?

The contract of sale is a binding agreement between a property seller and a purchaser. Generally, it outlines their commitment to sell or buy a specific real estate, protecting the rights of both parties.

In Australia, each state has different rules on what needs to be in a sales contract, but generally, it should contain the following information:

  • names and addresses of the seller and buyer
  • name and details of the real estate agent
  • address, details, and agreed purchase price of the property
  • deposit amount and payment deadline
  • cooling-off period and property settlement period
  • agreed-on special conditions of sale, like finance or additional inspections
  • list of items or fixtures (chattels) to be included or excluded from the sale
  • general conditions of the contract of sale
  • disclosure statement

Can a Real Estate Agent Draft a Contract of Sale?

It is not advisable to ask real estate agents to draft a contract of sale. They do not have a license to practice law, so they can only use standard-form contracts with templated blank fields. They also don’t have insurance for the purposes of giving legal advice in respect of the contract of sale. Therefore, if anything does go wrong, there might be claim issues.

As mentioned, Australian states have different requirements for property sale contracts. Using a standard contract template by the agent may only lead to critical omissions or costly mistakes for the seller or buyer.

A contract of sale is a legally binding document you cannot generally undo once signed. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that all details in the draft contract are complete and accurate.

Due to differences in contract requirements, it’s advisable to engage solicitors or conveyancers to prepare or review the contract of sale. Their expertise is crucial for reviewing and verifying the contract before signing.

How Long Does It Take to Prepare a Contract of Sale?

The time frame to prepare a draft contract of sale depends on your requirements. However, generally, you want to allow approximately 2 to 2.5 weeks to prepare a proper contract of sale.

The time isn’t in actually preparing the actual contract, but it’s to wait for the searches to come back from the government/this party agencies.

Generally, the land tax certificates or owner’s corporation certificates often take the longest to come back. Once we have all the certificates, a contract of sale can be prepared in a day.

Several factors could also affect your contract preparation timeline. For example, delays may occur if the seller or buyer cannot immediately provide pertinent information for the contract.

Any outstanding compliance certificates or delays from your local council could also be a factor. In addition, you should factor in potential negotiations and other real estate transactions during the final contract preparation.

Prepare Contracts of Sale with Legal Representatives

A contract of sale of real estate is an essential document that safeguards the rights of property buyers and sellers.

It is highly recommended that you prepare its details right the first time with the guidance of a qualified lawyer or conveyancer. Remember to have it reviewed before signing.

If you need legal advice or help in drafting a contract of sale in Victoria, feel free to contact TNS Lawyers. You can call our team at +61 3 9052 3214 or email us at