WHAT IS A SETTLEMENT AGENT AND WHY DO I NEED ONE?

Settlement

Settlement

Well you have searched for months, found the perfect home and negotiated the perfect price. Then your real estate agent asks you that final question…..”so who will you be using for settlement?”

Settlement Agents, or Conveyancer’s as they are also called, are responsible for transferring a property from one owner to another – so every time you want to buy or sell a property, you’ll need a settlement agent.

Settlement agents can work solo or in large offices. A settlement agent’s office typically has many conveyancers who do the actual work of transferring a property. Conveyancers are trained professionals who understand how to properly:

  • Search for Title deeds and other necessary documents,
  • Complete official Transfer of Title documentation,
  • Liaison with all involved parties to ensure the clauses of the Offer and Acceptance are met,
  • Ensure rates are paid and their clients finances are sorted, and
  • Attend settlement on your behalf.

So what exactly do they do?

The main job of a settlement agent is to transfer the ownership of the property and depending on whether you are buying or selling has various different components. From a document point of view, buying is a far more involved process. So lets take a look at each of the buying and selling scenarios:

If you’re BUYING a property, your Settlement Agent will:

  • Ensure the property on the Offer and Acceptance is the correct property you intend to purchase,
  • Make sure that you’re aware of any encumbrances which could affect your enjoyment of the property,
  • Ensure you complete all conditions of the contract on time,
  • Liaise with your lending institution to ensure finance progresses in a timely manner and your lender is in a position to settle on the due date,
  • Ensure no outstanding orders have been placed on the property by government departments,
  • Ensure your finances are all available for settlement date and ensure the seller’s agent collects the correct amount on behalf of the seller,
  • Prepare the correct documentation and ensure you sign it,
  • Ensure stamp duty (if applicable) is paid in the correct timeframe,
  • Adjust shire & water rates and ensure they are all paid up to date at the time of settlement,
  • Attend settlement on your behalf, and finally
  • Ensure the property is transferred into your name after settlement.

If you’re SELLING a property, your Settlement Agent will:

  • Ensure the property on the Offer and Acceptance is the correct property you intend to sell,
  • Ensure you complete all conditions of the contract on time,
  • Liaise with your lending institution to ensure they will be in a position to remove any mortgages over the property and ensure they’re ready to settle on time,
  • Liaise with the buyer’s settlement agent to ensure their finances are in order and they’re ready to settle on time,
  • Prepare the correct documentation and ensure you sign it,
  • Adjust shire and water rates and ensure they are all paid up to date at the time of settlement,
  • Collect the correct amount you are owed by the buyer and distribute as you instruct, and
  • Attend settlement on your behalf.

Can’t I do this myself?

While individuals can legally attempt to settle their own property, the Department of Commerce cautions against it:

Unless you are a suitably qualified lawyer, it would be very unwise to try to carry out the settlement of your own property. It’s a complex and time consuming business, with many traps for the unwary.”

For this reason, most people use the services of a licensed settlement agent to perform the work of conveyancing.

I have bought a home – whats next?

There are literally hundreds of Settlement Agents in Perth that will be able to assist you with the sale or purchase of your home and together with your agent help guide you through the process. Once you have selected your settlement agent your agent will forward the contracts and all additional information to do with your purchase or sale to them.

One response to “WHAT IS A SETTLEMENT AGENT AND WHY DO I NEED ONE?

  1. I appreciate the information on what a settlement agent is and why I need one. I had no idea how much a settlement agent did as far as buying a property or that you would have to do so much if you didn’t get a settlement agent. My mom has been looking into buying a newer home and she isn’t sure whether or not she should get a settlement agent, I will be sure to share this information with her.

    Like

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