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How Does Property Settlement Work?

A property sale culminates on the settlement day. The process of property settlement involves the exchange of all relevant legal documents and cheques between the buyer and the seller of a property. This exchange is necessary to  not only complete the conveyancing process but also finalise the whole real estate transaction. This exchange typically happens at a particular date and time, which is known as settlement day.

There is a great deal of activity that takes place before property settlement can happen. The beginning of the sale process begins by working with a real estate agent to market and show the property to prospective buyers. If you are just beginning the sale process, you’ll need to find a qualified real estate agent to help you with these fundamental steps. Register now at LocalAgentFinder to compare real estate agent fees and commissions in your local area.

Preparation for Settlement

The majority of the work that goes into property settlement is completed by your conveyancer or solicitor. They are the ones who are responsible for preparing all necessary documents and ensuring that you sign them when appropriate. The solicitor or conveyancer will also contact any banks that are involved with the property purchase, to make sure that they have their financial documents prepared. These will vary. The vendor’s bank will usually need to provide documents including the original Title and Discharge of Mortgage, while the buyer’s bank will need to have the cheques ready to pay the full sale price to the vendor.

Another preparation that must be arranged in advance is the date, time, and venue for all parties to meet. The

conveyancer or solicitor will make these arrangements; communicating with the other side as well as the banks. You won’t necessarily need to be in attendance at this meeting, but you should be aware of when it is, as well as any other information that pertains to the settlement. If you are selling, you’ll need to know when you are expected to vacate the property or, if you are purchasing, you’ll know when to pick up the keys.

Settlement Day

The property settlement will usually either occur at the vendor’s conveyancer or solicitor’s office, or at the vendor’s bank. If a mortgage is involved, the settlement will take place at the bank, or if there is a clear title; the solicitor’s office. Because the majority of properties have mortgages attached, most settlements tend to take place at the vendor’s bank. Many banks have offices in the CBD that are specifically designated for settlement.

Your solicitor or conveyancer will attend this meeting as your representative, or in some cases, they’ll arrange for their own agent to attend. The property settlement is usually concluded in under five minutes, which is why it’s sometimes impractical for your conveyancer or solicitor to travel to this meeting. At the settlement, the documents and any relevant cheques are exchanged. You’ll then receive notification from your conveyancer or solicitor that settlement has taken place.


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