Once your home loan is approved and you’ve signed the contract of sale, all that’s left to do is settle. A quick job for your solicitor, right? Not quite.

Property settlement is a legal process of transferring the ownership of the property from the seller to you. It usually takes around 45 to 90 days, but it could be longer depending on what you and the seller agree on. Whether you’ve found your dream home, investing, or you’re still on the hunt, understanding what is involved in the process will help you tackle the unexpected hurdles and take the stress out of the home loan settlement process.

Here we guide you through the three steps you need to prepare to ensure a smooth ride to the finish line.

1. Final inspection

Often known as the pre-settlement inspection, this is your last chance to look around the property and make sure everything is in tip-top shape. While you may be more excited about what colour you’ll paint the walls, make sure you check:

  • The home is in the agreed-upon condition
  • All appliances and fittings are working (as agreed)
  • No significant damage has occurred since your last inspection
  • If for investment is the lease in place and legally correct

Issues with the final inspection can delay your home loan settlement. While you want to avoid that, it’s important to check for any damage and have it fixed before finalising what will likely be the biggest purchase of your life.

If an investment property it’s important you have your property manager in place and the current tenant lease is in order. You should also ensure rent payments are up to date, and you have the right insurances in place.

2. Settlement adjustment statement

Before the official settlement, your conveyancer or solicitor will provide you with a settlement adjustment statement. This document acts as a balance sheet of any remaining costs. It includes:

  • Stamp duty and any related concessions
  • First Home Owner Grant (if applicable)
  • Any adjustments for council rates, water, and body corporate fees already paid for by the seller.

If you don’t have enough funds to cover the total sum, your settlement will be delayed. So make sure you factor in the additional costs of buying a home, like insurance and government fees, before you sign. Have your deposit ready a few days before settlement to help move the process along. The right lending specialist should ensure that they take you through a full budget prior to settlement.

3. Final settlement – aka the day you get the keys

It’s the big day! Today all you have to do is chill the champagne and get ready to celebrate – your solicitor will take care of the rest.

This is the day that solicitors and conveyancers exchange the final payment and transfer documents, so the transfer of ownership can be officially registered. It’s also the day you can pick up the keys, and invite your friends over to celebrate!

But paperwork issues such as inaccurate information or a missing signature can delay settlement. To avoid this, check the details carefully and return all the documentation to your lender on time. Many lenders also ask for your home insurance details, so organise that in

Sometimes delays are completely out of your control – there could be an administrative error, or complications for the seller such as tenants not moving out on time. So have a backup plan in case you can’t get into your new home on time.

And if all goes smoothly, take a moment to soak it in. Settlement is a fantastic feeling, and after all the effort and thought you’ve put into buying a house, you deserve to enjoy it.

If you’d like to learn more about the LJ Hooker Home Loans settlement process, or about connection to a property manager, speak with one of our local lending specialists.

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This article is prepared based on general information. It does not take into account individual financial objectives or needs and is not financial product advice.