Settlement tips for home buyers

1. Understand settlement

Settlement is the conclusion of the sale transaction conducted between your legal representative and that of the sellers. It’s when ownership passes from the seller to you, and you pay the balance of the sale price.

Settlement period is usually 30 to 90 days after contracts are exchanged.

2. Arrange your final inspection

You’re entitled to inspect the property accompanied by the agent within the week of settlement. This must be organised directly through the agent.

The seller must hand over the property in the same condition as when it was sold. Check all the items listed in the contract are there and in the right condition.

3. Organise insurance

It is commonly recommended by lenders you take out building and contents insurance effective from the date the seller signs the contract. This is to safeguard their interest in the property, as well as your own.

4. Check measurements

Your legal representative will send you a plan of the land so you can check all measurements and boundaries correspond with the Certificate of Title. You should confirm if so, or alert them to any discrepancies.

Make sure you provide documents and other information promptly when requested, as delays can be costly.

5. Understand outgoings

At settlement, all outgoings such as rates and other charges are adjusted between you and the seller. The seller is responsible for rates up to and including the day of settlement. You are responsible from the day after settlement.

You are also responsible for paying land transfer duty on the sale. It is usually paid at settlement but you have up to three months after settlement to pay. You cannot receive title to a property until you have paid the duty.

6. Collect the keys

Once settlement is completed, you can collect the keys from the agent and take possession of the property. The agent requires formal notification in writing from both parties legal representatives advising settlement has occurred and they are at liberty to release the keys.

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Settlement tips for home buyers