House for sale

Christmas is an already busy time, but if you’re also trying to sell or buy a property, it can be overwhelming.

We’ve gathered the top five tips for less-stress property deals this Christmas.

  1. Check for Christmas Shutdown Clauses

When you buy a property, first you “exchange” contracts, with “settlement” to occur some time later, usually 30 days.

A Contract exchanged on 5 December would usually settle on 4 January, however many offices close for the Christmas shutdown period.

To accommodate this, and ensure that you are not in breach of contract, your solicitor or conveyancer may include a Christmas Shutdown Clause, which states that your settlement will occur immediately after the Christmas Shutdown Period, 9 January.

  1. Plan your holidays

If you’re buying or selling a house, your contract may require you to complete a transaction while you’re not in town.

If you’re likely to be away, let your conveyancer or solicitor know. Before you go, ensure that you have signed contracts and transfers, or granted someone you trust a Power of Attorney, so that the exchange or settlement can occur even in your absence.

  1. Be realistic about time frames for your loan approval

Ashley Crowther, Senior Mortgage Broker at Milestone Financial Services, keeps his clients briefed on realistic time frames for bank processes. The pre-Christmas crush can be stressful enough without wondering whether your loan will be approved.

“If you didn’t submit your loan application by 28 November 2016,” says Ashley, “you probably won’t settle before Christmas.”

  1. Keep an eye on your off-the-plan purchase

Canberra developers have been known to call for settlement of off-the-plan purchases in the second week of December, meaning you may be asked to settle on or before 23 December, or even between Christmas and New Year. Banks only close on public holidays, so mortgages can be advanced on working days between Christmas and a New Year, and their solicitors may open their doors specially.

If you’re expecting your off-the-plan purchase to settle soon, don’t think that you’re safe just because it’s the silly season.

  1. Use The Holidays to Dominate in 2017

If you’re considering a move or new investment in the New Year, remember that many families move in and out of Canberra every January and the property market can become competitive.

As most banks only close on public holidays, it’s an ideal time to discuss your next move with your relationship manager or have new loan approvals processed, so you can hit the open homes with confidence in the new year.