The relatively new 72-hour clause has implications for both buyers and sellers and it is a provision that is often misunderstood. In some instances, the buyer is blissfully unaware it even exists

Essentially, what the clause means is that, under specific circumstances, the seller has the right to accept another offer despite having accepted and signed a prior offer. This is normally the case where the initial offer conations suspension conditions such as it being subject to purchaser securing a bond or the sale of their existing property.

If the seller has included a 72-hour clause in the Deed of Sale, they have the right to accept other offers that do not have such conditions and allow for a quicker sale. The seller has to give the party that made the original offer a 72-hour period (working days) to meet the conditions of their offer and conclude the sale. Failure to do this will allow the seller to accept another offer.

The clause is designed to prevent long, drawn out delays where the seller has to wait for the suspension conditions to be met and possibly lose out on an immediate sale. In the past, the seller had to remove the property market and wait, often for a few months before the conditions were concluded. This was often detrimental to the seller and the clause has the effect of speeding up the sale process.

Although known as the 72-hour clause it can be amended in the Deed of Sale to a longer period if the seller wishes and the purchasing party agrees and signs the agreement.

In order to effect the clause, the agent or the seller will need to deliver the 72-hour notice in writing with a copy of the unconditional competing offer attached.

As with any legal agreement, it pays to study it carefully and ensure you understand all clauses and conditions before signing.

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