Actress Toni Collette and her husband Dave Galafassi have lost a lawsuit filed against them after they failed to settle on a multimillion-dollar Sydney house.
The couple had signed a contract to buy a double-fronted Paddington terrace from founders of Industrie clothing Nick and Susan Kelly for $6.35 million in October 2011, before backing out on the day it was to be sold.
The Kellys eventually sold their property for $5.5 million but took Ms Collette and her husband to court for the loss, as well as interest and land tax.
The Supreme Court ruled in favour of the vendors ordering the celebrity couple to pay $814,000, as well as deposit and legal costs to the vendor Susan Kelly.
In his conclusion, Acting Justice Windeyer found that Ms Kelly had “made reasonable efforts to minimise her loss and took reasonable care in selling the property at the price she did”.
The case has highlighted the serious nature of committing to the purchase of a property.
According to CEO of the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW), Tim McKibbin told Real Estate Business that buyers who entered into an agreement were commiting to the terms of their contract.
“You acquire some rights under the agreement but you also have some obligations to perform,” he said.
“Obviously the larger the transaction that you’re entering into, the more care and consideration you should take before entering a contract.
“Invariably, dealing with real estate is a serious decision because it has serious implications.
Mr McKibbin said it was the responsibility of the buyer to ensure they could completely satisfy the terms of a contract before signing it.