Purchasing a Property – A Guide to Property Settlement

The most exciting part of purchasing a property is the settlement day, but for first-time buyers the day you get the keys to your new house can be a stressful and overwhelming time. At Robert Wood and Associates our experienced property settlement lawyers ensure an end-to-end conveyancing service, removing all the stress and hassle from the process. There’s a lot more involved in land settlement than most people expect, here’s our guide to property settlements so you’re prepared for the exciting journey into property ownership.

What is a Property Settlement?

Property settlement is the legal process of transferring ownership of a property from one owner to another. It is facilitated by your legal and financial representatives and those of the seller. The legal requirements involved are complex and that’s why purchasers and vendors are advised to engage the services of property settlement lawyers to ensure the process is handled correctly and that everything runs smoothly.

What Does a Property Settlement Lawyer Do?

During the settlement process, your conveyancer will:

  • Inspect the Sales Contract to ensure it is reasonable and correct
  • Ensure all clauses in the Sales Contract are met by both parties
  • Ensure any existing mortgages against the property are paid off
  • Conduct a title search and ensure that all measurements and boundaries are in line with the Certificate of Title
  • Ensure that there are no caveats or debts legally held against the property
  • Register the transaction with all appropriate authorities
  • Ensure that all paperwork is correctly completed and filed by both parties in plenty of time before settlement day

What Happens on Settlement Day?

Settlement day usually marks the end of the transaction. At an agreed time and place, your solicitor or conveyancer will liaise with your lender and the seller’s representatives to exchange documents. There are several things that happen, including:

  • The final property inspection to make sure it is in the condition the buyer expects
  • Signing of the transfer documents by both parties
  • The transfer of ownership is registered with the land titles office
  • The Statement of Adjustment and Settlement Statement is completed
  • SRO duties form is completed
  • Final payment is transferred to the seller
  • The buyer’s mortgage settlement is finalised
  • The keys are handed over to the buyer

What is a Settlement Statement?

This is a document that outlines what the buyer has to pay to the vendor on settlement day. It also includes all payments and receipts that are related to the settlement which may include stamp duty, the First Home Owner Grant and the Statement of Adjustments. It also includes the total purchase price less any deposit paid. The Settlement Statement is usually put together by your conveyancer or property lawyer when they are getting ready to settle the property purchase.

What can go wrong?

Sometimes, things don’t go as smoothly as expected and settlement can be delayed because of a variety of factors, some of the common ones include:

  • Funds not transferred in time
  • Documents not received in time
  • Other parties bank not having all documentation finalised
  • Bank cheques drawn for settlement are incorrect
  • Documents have been signed or witnessed incorrectly
  • Documents have been prepared incorrectly
  • The property being subject to an Encumbrance
  • Finance approval is late coming through

Most of the time, any delays are usually caused by the banks either not having enough time to get the file processed or missing something when they are verifying it for settlement. Usually, if there’s going to be a delay in settlement, your property settlement lawyers would find out about it a few days prior and will swiftly find a solution to get the settlement time back on track.

While it may seem like a simple process, a property settlement can be quite complex. Don’t let settlement day be a stressful occasion. With a little understanding, the right preparation the right property settlement lawyers on your side, everything should go according to plan and you’ll be able to move into your new home right away.

The team at Robert Wood and Associates are here to help with the legal side of your property transfer and will do everything we can to make sure everything runs smoothly. We can also help with other real estate matters including subdivision and updating your title of land. Make an appointment today on (03) 9762 3877.

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