How it works

The cooling-off period is the last stage in which a buyer can withdraw from the sale without any major legal or financial consequences. However, cooling-off periods are only available for property sales by private treaty. Cooling-off periods also do not apply if you bought the property at an auction.

When purchasing a house, the cooling-off period is usually five business days. It begins on the day you receive a copy of the signed contract and ends at 5pm on the fifth business day.

Backing out of a contract after the cooling-off period

If you decide you do not want to go through with the purchase and the cooling-off period has ended, it can become quite costly. Your contract should include details about the penalty should you decide to withdraw from your contract. Not only will you most likely need to pay default penalties and compensate the Seller for any losses they may face, but you may also lose the deposit you have already paid.

Waiving the cooling-off period

The buyer can choose to waive or shorten the cooling-off period to show the seller they are particularly keen on buying the property. This may make your offer stand out to the seller. You will need to put it in writing and state that you either waive the cooling-off period entirely or that the cooling-off period will last until 5pm on a particular day.

However, keep in mind that the cooling-off period exists to protect buyers.


It is always best to discuss your rights with an experienced property solicitor – they will provide you with the best advice for your particular circumstances.