Mastering the settlement process – What every homeowners should know

There’s nothing quite like the buzz of seeing those words in your inbox: Confirmation of settlement of your property purchase.

Settlement day can be both exciting and stressful. But once the formalities are done, it’s all worth it.

If you’re planning a property purchase and are new to how settlement works, here’s a rundown.

What is settlement day?

Settlement day is when ownership of a property is legally transferred from one party to another. It’s facilitated by your legal and financial representatives, and those of the seller.

The actual date is stipulated in the sales contract.

Settlement periods are generally 45 to 90 days from when the sales contract is signed by both parties. However, settlement can be longer or shorter if mutually agreed upon.

What happens on settlement day?

On settlement day your solicitor or conveyancer meets with your lender and the seller’s representatives to exchange paperwork, this can happen physically or electronically.

Typically, the buyer and the seller do not need to be present.

Your lender and conveyancer will arrange the following with the seller’s representatives:

  1. The balance of the purchase price, along with any government fees and duties, is settled. All outgoings such as rates, water charges and strata fees are adjusted between the seller and the buyer (you pay for these from the day after settlement).
  2. All necessary legal documents are completed and lodged with the respective agencies.
  3. The certificate of title is transferred to your name and the property is legally transferred to you.

Once settlement is completed, the keys are handed over by the real estate agent and the property is all yours!

How to prepare for settlement?

1) Be organised with the paperwork.

For settlement to run smoothly, it’s important you provide all the necessary paperwork in a timely manner.

For the finance side of things, we’ll walk you through the documentation required for your loan application.

You’ll also need to work with your conveyancer to complete and submit all the necessary documentation to transfer the property title to your name.

Prior to settlement, your conveyancer or solicitor will likely get you to review the settlement statement, which outlines exactly what you will be paying on settlement day.

2) Complete a pre-settlement inspection

You’re entitled to inspect the property in the lead up to settlement to ensure it’s in the same condition as when the sales contract was signed. The last thing you want are hidden surprises when you open the front door.

3) Organise insurance

Make sure you check the date when you need to have your building insurance sorted. It may be from when you sign the sales contract, or by settlement. Rules vary by state and territory. In Queensland, the purchaser requires insurance from the date the sales contract is signed.

Ready to get started?

As your mortgage broker, we’ll organise a pre-approval on your home loan and then work to a formal approval once you have signed the contract to purchase, so that everything runs smoothly come settlement day.

Get in touch today and let’s chat about your exciting new property purchase.