Buying guide

Buying Guide: What is a Deadline Sale?

Do you know the difference between a deadline sale and a sale by tender?

What you’ll learn:

  • How a deadline sale differs from a tender sale
  • The process of the deadline sale
  • How to succeed in buying a home by deadline sale

When you’re looking to buy a home in New Zealand, you’ll come across a number of properties selling via deadline sale, also known as ‘sale by private treaty.’ In this article, we’ll explore the process of deadline sales, how they differ from tender sales, and what you can do to succeed when buying a deadline sale property.

How does a deadline sale differ from a tender sale?

A deadline sale is where a home is put on the market for a set amount of time, with a public end date and no fixed price. The seller doesn’t have to wait for the end of the named time period to look at offers – look out for the words in the marketing, ‘unless sold prior’ – and so could accept an offer from another buyer at any time.

When selling by tender, the vendor typically has to wait for the tender date before they can consider all offers. although some tenders will reserve the right to accept offers prior to the tender date, it’s a lot rarer.

As with any property you’re pursuing, you’ll do all your due diligence to make sure it’s in good condition and that you can afford it.

When preparing to make an offer on a deadline sale property, it’s a good idea to let the vendor's agent know you’re interested as soon as you can. When buying a deadline sale property, there are two types of offers you can make:

  • Conditional offers: your conditional offer may be dependent on selling your own home first, seeing certain documents on the property, or a common buyer condition, the completion of a satisfactory builder’s report.
  • Unconditional offers: this type of offer commits you 100% to purchasing the home if the offer is accepted.

You’ll draw up a sale and purchase agreement for your offer. Usually, it’s the seller’s lawyer or agent who draws up the sale and purchase agreement, but your lawyer can do this too.

The agent will then present the offer to the seller who will either accept it or start their own negotiations. If the seller is considering a number of offers they won’t necessarily accept the highest offer, or indeed any offer at all, unlike in a property auction where the highest bid over the reserve price wins.

With deadline sales, you can either make a conditional or an unconditional offer.

Top tips for buying a deadline sale property

  • Don’t rush in: Yes, waiting too long to make an offer could mean you get pipped to the post, but equally you making a snap decision isn’t smart. Buyer’s remorse is real, so take a few trips to the property, check out the neighbourhood, the local amenities, make sure it ticks most of your boxes.
  • Register your interest to the agent: If you think it’s a serious contender, tell the vendor’s agent. That way they’ll let you know if another buyer puts an offer in earlier than you’re able to and you can respond.