Preparing for settlement

Property settlement is the legal process of transferring ownership of a property from seller to buyer. It’s facilitated by your settlement agent (also known as a conveyancer) or solicitor, and it culminates in the moment you pick up the keys.

To help you better understand and prepare for settlement, we take you through what to do at various stages – from making an offer on a property through to settlement day.

When you make an offer

You’ll sign a contract of sale that includes details such as the settlement date, offer price, anything to be included in the sale (like furniture or other additions), dates that things will happen like finance and inspections, and everything the seller needs to do.

Your settlement agent or solicitor will help you understand what building inspections to carry out. Sometimes you won’t be allowed to carry out inspections until after the auction.

Be sure to read the small print before you sign. Also see if there’s a ‘cooling off’ period. Keep in mind that there’s no cooling off period in WA.

See some tips to make a winning offer on a property.

After your offer’s been accepted

The necessary property inspections will now be done. If these inspections aren’t passed, speak to your settlement agent or solicitor about next steps, including potentially terminating the contract.

After you apply for full loan approval with the bank

At this stage, you’ll work with your settlement agent or solicitor to get your documents ready for settlement. A time and location for handover will be organised.

It’s also a good time to arrange building insurance, which you need in order for settlement to go through. See more about home insurance.

After your loan’s been unconditionally approved

When the bank confirms they’ll give you a home loan, you’ll receive contract documents. Send them back to the bank along with your building insurance documentation. Settlement will be booked once the bank verifies the contracts. The property’s title will be transferred into your name by your settlement agent or solicitor.

Find out more about the home loan application and approval process.

A week or so before settlement day

You’ll have a settlement inspection where you can check that everything’s as you’d expect. Refer back to the offer documentation to make sure everything is as agreed in the contract, such as pest, electricity and building inspections. Check all the taps and electricity are working.

If everything’s alright and you’re happy to progress, sign the inspection document. If there’s a problem, you can ask for the owners to resolve any issues, a decrease in the price, or money from the sellers.

Settlement day

At settlement, you exchange payment for keys. Your settlement agent or solicitor, together with your lender, will meet with the legal and financial representatives of the seller to exchange documents and organise for the balance of the property’s purchase price to be paid to the seller. You’ll also need to pay stamp duty.

You’ll then get the keys to the property and the title deeds, making you the new registered owner.

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Things you should know

The information contained in this article is of a general nature and is not intended to be nor should it be considered as professional advice. You should not act on the basis of anything contained in this article without first obtaining specific professional advice. Also to the extent permitted by law, Bankwest, a division of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 AFSL/Australian credit licence 234945, its related bodies corporate, employees and contractors accept no liability or responsibility to any persons for any loss which may be incurred or suffered as a result of acting on or refraining from acting as a result of anything contained in this article.