Sam was very excited when his offer on a house was accepted. He wanted the settlement date to be 60 days out from the date of signing the agreement as he needed to move out of his existing house and was travelling overseas for a couple of weeks.

The settlement date was put in as “60 working days after the date of this agreement”. He didn’t notice the word “working” before days and signed the agreement.

He moved out of his house and went overseas for his holiday, thinking that he would move in shortly after he got back (which would be 60 days after signing the Agreement for Sale and Purchase). It wasn’t until he returned from overseas that his lawyer advised him that settlement was actually still another month away as it was 60 working days after signing the contract, not days. The seller was not able to move out any sooner and Sam had to desperately find alternative accommodation for a month.

The difference between days and “working” days is crucial, especially during holiday periods. Working days exclude weekends and most public holidays. Be very careful when signing an Agreement for Sale and Purchase of Real Estate (or any contract) that you understand the significance of the dates and terms used in that Agreement to ensure you don’t get caught out.