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What you should expect during settlement

Buying a house is a big financial decision. For many Australians it’s the most significant thing they’ll buy in their lifetime! In order to safely and legally transfer ownership of the property to you, there is time set aside for this admin – this is called the settlement period. The average settlement period varies between each State and Territory but will likely be somewhere between 30 and 90 days. You should speak to your conveyancer about whether you can negotiate the settlement period or whether it has already been agreed. Here’s some helpful information about what you can expect and what you need to know.

Who does what?

During the settlement period your conveyancer will be hard at work for you. But at the same time there will be a few tasks that can’t be completed on your behalf. You should discuss what you need to do during the settlement period with your conveyancer.

Conveyancers

To put it simply, the settlement period is when your conveyancer will be the busiest. They’ll likely be preparing and lodging legal documents on your behalf and liaising with mortgage lenders. They’ll also be working toward taking care of certain debts and risks associated with the property. They do this through preparing the statement of adjustments, which is a document showing how certain costs are divided between the old and new owner, as well as conducting due diligence enquiries – such as checking if there is any unpaid debt you could inherit with the home.

Conveyancers specialise in property law and so they’ll make certain enquiries and check various documents regarding your new home. They’ll also likely be in contact with the seller, the real estate agent and the seller’s conveyancer as your representative. You can find more information in our conveyancing checklist.

So what should you do?

As we’ve mentioned, there are still a number of tasks that you need to do and you should discuss what you need to do during the settlement period with your conveyancer. Some of the tasks you may need to complete include:

  • Arranging a building and pest inspection. If you haven’t already done this before signing the contract, it’s important that you arrange an inspection of the property with a third-party company that can provide you with a report on the visible condition, and highlight structural issues or signs of pests you should be aware of.
  • Documents and identity. There will be some paperwork that your conveyancer will send you that needs to be completed by you personally. You will also need to verify your identity so that you can be registered as the official new owner of the property.
  • Ensure your finances are in order. If you haven’t already, the settlement period is an important time to make sure your finances are sorted. Among other things, you should ensure you’ve taken into consideration stamp duty, home and contents insurance, removalists, and other costs. Plus, you should discuss with your conveyancer the requirements of notifying your bank that you’ve signed a contract and would like to move forward with your loan to buy a property.
  • Pre-settlement inspection. It will also be your responsibility to inspect the property before settlement day to check its condition.

What can cause delays?

There are a number of things that can cause delays to settlement, such as:

Bank delays

To release the full funds on settlement day, banks need enough time to make sure everything is in place. Your conveyancer can help with ensuring that the bank has been contacted with enough notice so you should speak with your conveyancer about what is required to help avoid bank delays during this time.  You should also ensure you’ve filed all the necessary paperwork with your bank on time

Pre-settlement inspection

If the condition of the property doesn’t reflect what is agreed in the contract it could delay settlement while a resolution is arranged. You should discuss this in more detail with your conveyancer. You can also read more on the pre-settlement inspection here.

Seller delays

It’s also possible that the seller has delays moving out of the property, or having their current tenants move out. If this happens, you should discuss the situation with your conveyancer.

The settlement period can pass very quickly. Make sure you have a conveyancer who you can trust and speak with them to make sure everything is ready for settlement day. For help with the practicalities of moving, visit Property Helper. You can choose from a range of services and utility connections, plus cleaning companies, broadband plans and more! Get free quotes and make an informed decision on the services that are right for you, visit Property Helper today.

If you any questions about your settlement period, contact us today.

This article is provided for general information purposes only. Its content is current at the date of publication. It is not legal advice and is not tailored to meet your individual needs. You should obtain specialist advice based on your specific circumstances before taking any action concerning the matters discussed in this article.

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