This post has been written to help you understand when purchasing a house about your rights when cooling off and the Form 1, how it frames your rights and the triggers the procedures for cooling off.

When purchasing a house, the vendor must provide you a document called a Form 1 to you. It is the single most important document you will be served as part of you purchasing your new home.

It is a disclosure statement wherein the Vendor is legally obliged to advise you of anything that may impact on the value of the property you are purchasing. The Form 1 must disclose particulars about the property which may impact on your decision to purchase the property.

It is the document that triggers your rights in the property transaction. There are legal consequences for incorrect disclosures by the Vendor on this form. It is the receiving of this form and not the signing of the sales contract that triggers for your cooling off rights.

It must be served on you personally, or mailed to your address by registered post.

Often the Form 1 is presented to you when you sign the real estate contract. Naturally your cooling off period will start at this time.

Occasionally the Form 1 is provided before the contract is signed. When this occurs the cooling off period will commence on the date which the contract is signed.

The Form 1 is often however not provided until after the contract is signed. When this occurs the cooling off period does not start on signing the contract it starts when the Form 1 has been served on you. It is then and only then that you have 2 clear days during which time you might exercise your right to cool off.

When this occurs, the Form 1 must be provided to you at least 10 clear days prior to the settlement date. If it is not you may cool off if you wish. If the Form 1 is not served on you or it is inaccurate in any way, you have the right to cool off and cancel the contract at any time up until settlement.

The cooling off period is mandated by law in South Australia as being the end of the second clear business day after you receive the Form 1 or the signing of the contract, whichever occurs last. It is the end of the day not office hours. It does not include weekends and public holidays, or the day on which the form was served on you.

There are remedies available to you even after settlement if you were not provided with the Form 1, or the Form 1 was incorrect. You may apply to a Court to have the contract set aside. You can be awarded damages so as to restore you to the position you were in before the contract was completed.

Make sure you read carefully this document and if there is anything that is a concern to you, you should seek independent advice as soon as possible. You only have two days to cool off so if there is anything of concern within the Form 1, you should exercise your cooling off rights immediately.

You may exercise your right by giving it to the vendor personally or by posting it by registered post to the vendor at the vendor’s last known address, or by transmitting it by fax or email to a fax number or email address provided by the vendor to the purchaser for the purpose.

Of course if an agent is authorised to act on behalf of the vendor you may exercise your right to cool off by leaving it for the agent, with a person apparently responsible to the agent at the agent’s address for service; or by posting it by registered post to the agent at the agent’s address for service.

We recommend you do both; advise both Agent and Vendor personally and in writing (for expediency) by fax or email.