Rush to move into new homes before the big day

THE goal to be ''in by Christmas'' is a motivating factor for end-of-year home hunters.

That was certainly the case for the new owners of a picture-perfect weatherboard in Lilyfield.

Bevan Rigato and his fiancee, Sarah-Grace Williams were intense in their property search.

''We wanted to get into the new place by Christmas,'' Mr Rigato said. ''We didn't think it was going to be possible but it all worked in our favour.''

The couple tried to bring their settlement forward but the vendors needed to stick with December 20. They move in on Saturday and are hosting a carols night on Christmas Eve.

''We've got a big Christmas tree that we'll unpack. At least we'll have the living room ready,'' Mr Rigato said. ''We're so excited to move into our own home.''

Agents say most buyers are passionate about getting into their new home before Santa comes down the chimney. ''It's high on the agenda,'' said the principal of Pilcher Residential, Simon Pilcher.

''And that's particularly for families with kids. They want to put up the tree and settle in before the big day.''

Catherine Gambrellis, of the removalists Two Men and a Truck, is caught up in the rush, with this Friday and Saturday the busiest days of the year. ''You always get people saying they must be in by Christmas,'' Ms Gambrellis said.

And if buyers can't be in their new home, they like to at least get the deal done. And so do sellers, keen to secure a sale before they face their interrogative families over Christmas lunch. 'Yes - we sold!'' is much easier to toast than a limp ''Not yet''.

But many struggle to get the transaction done in time. ''It's always nuts before Christmas,'' says Neil Matthews, of Matthews Solicitors.

''Clients are ridiculous at this time of year and some are quite unrealistic.''

Then there's the third party, the bank. ''It's not a simple process,'' said Mr Matthews, whose practice will be open apart from public holidays.

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