Buying property is exciting, but for many people the build-up to the property settlement day can be stressful. It represents the end of a challenging journey of saving money for a deposit and the ups and downs of applying for a mortgage and, at the same time, it heralds the beginning of a new chapter of property ownership – and all the financial responsibilities that brings.
To help you get through your property settlement in a stress-free way, try these 5 top tips for a successful property settlement.
1. Connect with a professional conveyancer or property lawyer
The legalities of property settlement is the legal process of transferring ownership of property from one individual or entity, to another individual or entity. To ensure it goes smoothly, choosing a professional, experienced conveyancer or property lawyer is a must. By asking them to explain the procedures and, state-specific legislation that impacts on your property purchase you can feel more confident about understanding each step of the property transfer process.
Legal requirements around transferring ownership of property are complex and if they are not handled correctly, you can run the risk of costing yourself unnecessary money – and wasting time. Both the vendor and the buyer need to engage their own conveyancing specialist to manage their own interests and these conveyancing professionals need to work together to help your settlement day go smoothly.
Tasks handled by your conveyancer include:
- Inspection of sales contracts for accuracy, completeness (with attention to any special conditions) and checking time-lines to ensure adequate time between finance approval and settlement date to enable all paperwork to be completed and finance secured
- Document preparation – including ownership transfer, land transfer, stamp duty (if applicable), etc.
- Ensuring documentation is completed and filed by both parties
- Confirmation that existing debts/mortgages against the property are paid off
- Title search and confirmation of certificate of title
- Registration of transaction with relevant authorities
- Coordination of lender property valuation to secure finance approval
- Communicate with lender and client to ensure sufficient finance and funds to complete are available for settlement day
2. Double-check the details in your sales contract
Before you sign anything, your conveyancer or property lawyer must help you double-check your sales contract to ensure you are aware of any clauses or conditions that could cost you dearly. Being completely familiar with your sales contract – including all the actions required and the schedule of performing those actions, as well as who is responsible for each action requiring attention – is a critical part of your successful property settlement.
3. Secure your property finance before you sign the sales contract
Settlement day is the big moment when your mortgage officially begins and your chosen lender pays the money to your vendor. For a settlement day to be successful, managing the timing for this all-important funds transfer is vital.
It’s also important to be aware that, at busy times, approving a home loan may take weeks. Talk to an experienced mortgage broker before you start looking for a property to ensure you get the ball rolling smoothly. From pre-approval to settlement day, a professional mortgage specialist can help you secure the finance you need and you guide through every step of the process to help you stay calm in the lead-up to your property settlement. Pre-approval shortens the time it takes you to get your finance secured and makes buying your property a happier and easier experience.
4. Property Inspections Rule!
Between the date you decide to buy the property and the date of settlement, talking to your conveyancer to confirm a final inspection, at least a day or two before settlement is a must to ensure that the property is in the same condition as outlined in the contract. Theft, a break-in, or even storm damage can all impact on the condition of a property so it’s critical to include a clause in your sales contract that includes access to a final inspection. Getting appropriate insurance, of course, is also important. Having the sales contract with you at inspection means you can check everything itemised but it’s also important to check the working condition of other items, such as fixtures and fittings, to ensure the property is in the same condition in which you bought it.
5. Schedule your moving day a few days after settlement day
Sure, it’s exciting and you’re busting to move in but giving yourself some room for error is a good way to reduce stress that may be caused if there is a hiccup. Things can go wrong and settlement day is stressful enough without you having removalists organised and nowhere to move to. Delays can happen – no matter how well things have been planned. Current research reveals that as many as 1 in 5 Australians can experience settlement day delays so it’s better to be safe than sorry and minimise any opportunity for extra tension.
There are many steps to a smooth settlement day but the majority of them are related to money. Getting your finance right is always the best possible foundation for your property ownership journey.
If you need advice or support to explore your mortgage options, talk to our team of home loan professionals at Lending Specialists today.