‘Tis the Season… for Buying and Selling Property06-12-2023 | Resource | Brent Jones
The Summer months are traditionally a popular time to move for Australians. With Spring being a popular time to list properties for sale, the property market can be very busy over December and January with lots of people trying to finalise their settlements.
The timing of a move over December and January can work well for many people. Not only is the weather generally better, but individuals tend to have more time over the holiday season to pack up their homes and get ready to move, while families like to be settled in a new property before the start of the school year!
There are many things to consider when it comes to property purchasing and settlements over the Christmas and New Year holidays, particularly given the number of public holidays and business closures over the period.
1. Legal Issues and Time Periods
- Cooling Off Periods
When purchasing a property via private treaty (as opposed to an auction), there is usually a five day cooling off period after signing the Contract that allows the purchaser a window of time to conduct any relevant inspections etc and still be able to pull out of the purchase. It is important to note that the Cooling Off period is measured in business days – not calendar days.
If you are signing a contract just before Christmas, the cooling off period will be extended due to the number of public holidays. Whilst this may not be an issue for the purchaser, as a vendor it can be particularly frustrating waiting for the time period to elapse so that the sale is “locked in”.
- Completion / Settlement dates
Once the initial cooling off period has passed, the date for Completion/Settlement is usually 42 calendar days or six weeks after the exchange of contracts. If the settlement date falls within the
holiday “closure period” it can have a significant impact.
Closure periods usually begin around 21st or 23rd December and end in the second (or in some cases the third) week of January and you cannot settle during this time. Under normal circumstances, any delays to settlement can have a financial impact on the purchaser. For example, they may be charged interest on the settlement amount for each day it is delayed, or the delay may cause tax implications if the settlement flows into the following calendar year.
At Lamrocks, our experienced property and conveyancing team are aware of the potential issues and work hard to ensure that our clients are not disadvantaged - whether we are acting for the purchaser or the vendor.
2. Other Considerations
- Selling a property that has been leased.
As a vendor, if your property is tenanted, and you are required to provide vacant possession, it can be difficult to vacate tenants over the holiday period. We recommend speaking to your property solicitor or conveyancer to determine the best time to list a property and how best to minimise any potential issues with tenants.
- Managing demand for other services.
Another important consideration when looking to move over the December/January period is to ensure that you book any relevant service providers BEFORE their closure period. Contact removalists, cleaners, pest control and other providers as soon as possible to confirm their availability over the holidays!
While the property market can deliver some fantastic opportunities at this time of the year, it’s imperative that buyers and sellers alike are aware of the potential impact the holidays may have on the process. Speak to one of the property team members at Lamrocks on ph: 02 4731 5688 to ensure that you understand all of your obligations and legal requirements.