Understanding Buying & Selling Privately

Some sellers may choose to sell their property privately without a real estate agent. If you are interested in a property that is being sold privately, think about the following:

  • You should get legal advice if you are buying property in a private sale. The buyer and seller will each need their own Solicitor (lawyer).
  • Make sure you and the seller sign a ‘Sale and Purchase’ Agreement (S&P) which includes all of the standard obligations and responsibilities for both parties.
  • The buyer will add ‘Conditions’ to the S&P that are their terms to purchase the property, e.g:
    • Securing Finance within 10 working days
    • Builders report
    • Registered Valuation Report (RVR)
  • The buyer’s lawyer or conveyancer often draws up the S&P agreement in private sales, and will include these conditions to commence negotiation, and work towards reaching an ‘Unconditional Agreement’.
  • It’s important to pay your purchase deposit to your Solicitor so they can arrange for it to be held safely in a trust account pending the completion of the sale. Usually this is done once you have an Unconditional Agreement to purchase the property.
  • REA can assist with questions and complaints about sales involving a licensed agent, but cannot help you if there is any issue with a sale with a private, unlicensed seller.
  • Buying privately means you will not be covered by the Consumer Guarantees Act or the Fair Trading Act (unless you are buying from a person or entity that is in the business of trading properties). You may still be protected by the Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017. Read more about your rights at.
  • REA can also help if you think that an unlicensed person has sold a property on behalf of someone else. That may be unlicensed trading in breach of the Real Estate Act 2008 and you should contact REA if you have concerns.
  • A private seller must let you know about any known issues with a property. If you have doubts about this, talk to your Solicitor.
  • Because the seller is not paying commission, they may have more scope to negotiate the price with you.


Helpful links:

Mortgages and
First Homes

Protect Your

Create Your

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get our latest blog and up to date news on a monthly basis.


This calculator is intended as a guide only and is based on the Residential Owner Occupied rate. It is not intended to provide advice, and is not a quote or an offer of finance by any lender.