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Contract for buying land

Man signing contractThe standard contract for buying real estate and land in Western Australia is often called an Offer and Acceptance contract.

The Offer and Acceptance contract is in two physically separate, but equally, important parts:

  1. Contract for Sale of Land or Strata Title By Offer and Acceptance  (the 'O & A Contract').
  2. Joint Form of General Conditions for the Sale of Land (the 'General Conditions').

The O & A Contract is produced by the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) and the General Conditions booklet is produced by REIWA and the Law Society.

Many of the details about the O & A Contract in relation to land and a dwelling apply equally to the purchase of land only.

It is important to note that the law in Western Australia does not require that contracts for the purchase of land contain a cooling off period. If the contract does not include a cooling off period, you cannot get out of a contract to buy land because you have changed your mind.

Terms of the contract

When making an offer to buy land, you will need to consider:

  • whether you will be making any deposit toward the land, the total amount you are offering to pay for the land, nominating a settlement date and stating how you will pay for the land;
  • inserting any special conditions, or your terms, on the O & A Contract; and
  • the terms, or general conditions, contained in the General Conditions booklet.

These general conditions include the amount of any rates and taxes required to be paid by you or the seller in the first year, what happens if either party does not go through with the contract and what happens if settlement is delayed.

General reminder about the terms of the contract

Remember that you can protect your interests by:

  • getting legal advice about the contract terms;
  • crossing out any terms that do not suit you;
  • adding any suitable terms (legal advice is recommended!!); and
  • having all parties to the contract initial any changes, where agreement is reached.

You will also need to consider the tasks associated with settlement or you may consider employing a conveyancer to do this for you.