Buying and Selling Property Over Christmas | How to Avoid Contract Breaches and Get The Deal Done

By now, many people will be rushing to buy and sell property before Christmas.  And we understand why.

For sellers, it’s a good feeling wrapping up a property deal before Christmas.  For buyers, there’s normally less competition around because people are preparing for Christmas or have gone away on holidays.

Christmas can make things tricky though if critical contract dates fall due over the Christmas office closure period.

So what should you do if important deadlines like finance, building and pest inspections and settlement fall due over the Christmas closure period?

Buying and Selling Property Over Christmas | How to Avoid Contract Breaches and Get The Deal Done

What are the risks?


First let’s talk about the risks if important deadlines are missed under a contract.

Failure to attend settlement or provide notice of any condition due under a contract could mean –

  • loss of the deposit; or
  • loss of the sale; or
  • termination of the contract; or
  • worse still, the party at fault could be sued.

Starting the new year with a failed property deal, or even worse being sued, is not the best start.

How do you work out if critical dates are due over Christmas?

Standard purchase or sale contracts (like the ones published by the Real Estate Institute of Queensland, REIQ) say that if an important date falls due on a day that is not a business day, then it is taken to become due on the next business day.

Under REIQ contracts, a “business day” is a day other than a weekend, a public holiday in the place of settlement or a day that falls in the period 27 December to 31 December (inclusive).

But some solicitors, banks and government agencies close their offices for longer than these periods.  Be wary of this because your property deal could be at risk.

So what should you do?

If you’re buying a property, try to negotiate a deal where the conditional clauses in the contract become due after the Christmas closure period.  Your solicitors should be able to help you with this.

Make sure your solicitors and financiers have arrangements in place to handle contract deadlines and settlements that fall due when their offices are closed over Christmas.

Not sure where to start?  Shannon Toto and Caroline Jeudon at Crouch & Lyndon Lawyers are more than happy to support you through your property deals over the Christmas closure period.  Connect with them here and they’ll help you out.