For every seller, the biggest day after accepting an offer is settlement day.
After the settlement period, which can vary but is often 30 to 90 days, the day has finally arrived to complete the sale.
STEP ONE: Pre-settlement inspection
The buyer may decide to undertake a final, or ‘pre-settlement’, inspection of the property to ensure that nothing has been altered substantially since the offer was accepted. Some buyers will bring a professional to do this for them, however the majority will be happy to take a quick look around themselves. This should ideally be organised for a few days prior to the actual settlement.
STEP TWO: Documents and cheques exchanged
The next step is for the paperwork and the funds to be sorted. Payment will be made to yourself by the buyer, or by their lender, and deposit monies will be released. The real estate agent will take their commission.
Occasionally, reimbursements will be organised in regards to council rates or taxes paid. The vendor will pay up to and including the date of settlement, but is usually paid by the buyer for the portion of the rates during which they will take ownership.
STEP THREE: Ownership exchanged
The keys are then handed over after the agent is advised by both the buyer and yourself, in writing, that settlement has been finalised. Some buyers will have the removalists ready to move on the day, however delays can occur.
At this point, you no longer own the property and the sale is complete.
Remember, you do not need to be there on the day if you do not want to be. The real estate agent can handle this part of the transaction.
Six tips to ensure settlement goes smoothly:
- Make sure the property is vacant and clean.
- Remember your responsibilities around payments for the property up to and including the settlement day. This includes council rates.
- Check that everything is working as it should, including any appliances, switches, air conditioning units or anything else included in the sale. Repair any damages prior to the inspection or this may cause delays.
- Line up the cancellation of any insurance policies for after the day of settlement. Until that time it is still your responsibility.
- Ensure the contract is completely correct, with the settlement date accurately included and all the agreed to terms and conditions. Have all your documentation prepared.
- Confirm the time and place with all parties to avoid unnecessary delays.