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What Is Property Settlement?

20th May 2022

Property settlement is the process of transferring property ownership from one individual to another.

It is also known as the final step to selling/buying a property. However, unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as picking up or dropping off your keys, and there is a necessary process which is best navigated with the help of a trusted lawyer. 

To understand what is settlement in property, let’s break down the process. 

  1. Reviewing and signing legal transfer documents
    The first critical step in recognising the sale of a property is the signing of the contract. Historically, two copies of any sale contract, one for the seller and the buyer would be signed. Nowadays, it is common for just one copy to he signed and emailed to the buyer and the seller by the agent.

    Shortly before settlement, a settlement statement will be prepared. The settlement statement will generally set out the documents to be exchanged at settlement, together with the funds required for duty and settlement adjustments such as rates, water and strata fees. Having a lawyer prepare the settlement statement is vital to ensure that the correct adjustment have been made, otherwise, after settlement you as the buyer may inherent additional costs after the settlement day.  
  1. Conducting a final inspection of the property
    Take this time to thoroughly look around the property and make sure everything is in order. As a general rule, the property should be in the same condition when the contract of sale was first signed. Your contract should stipulate which fittings, fixtures and chattels are included within the sale and what can be removed by the seller. Ensure to look out for any significant damage. Our team at wilson/ryan/grose lawyers are able to provide more details on matters to look out for during property inspections.
  1. Reaching the Final Settlement Day
    The last step in the conveyance process is when the buyer finally takes legal possession of their new property. This is the date many look to when defining what is property settlement.. Several legal and administrative tasks need to be completed before the buyer can receive the keys.  On this day, your wilson/ryan/grose lawyer will meet with your lender and the seller’s representatives to exchange the documents and organise for the balance of the purchase price to be paid to the seller. Your lawyer will do a final check to ensure that all clauses in the sales contract are fulfilled and make arrangements for the transfer to be registered with the appropriate title office. 

These steps form only a brief overview of the many steps that need to be considered by either a buyer or a seller. While seeking advice, the team at wilson/ryan/grose lawyers will provide you with a clear understanding and guide you through each step carefully when the time comes.

How Long Does Property Settlement Take?

As a general rule, property settlement periods are usually around 30 days but can extend to over 90 days. This begins when the contract of sale is signed and ends on the settlement day, which is the agreed date that the ownership is officially scheduled to change hands. The length between these two dates is up for agreement between the two parties. If you are looking to manage the time between these dates better or need assistance negotiating with either a seller or buyer, it’s best to get in contact with wilson/ryan/grose lawyer to get a clearer understanding of how long the process might take given your personal circumstances.

Where to go from here?

Property settlement can be a challenging but exciting process for many prospective buyers. If you are a seller and looking to clear up any loose ends in your sale, it is equally as vital that you are equipped with proper information and coverage. wilson/ryan/grose lawyers have over 125 years of expertise in property law, and you can place the utmost confidence in us to act on your behalf in the areas of sale or purchase. 

Contact our property law team today if you are looking to make the most informed decision surrounding the sale of your home or purchase of your new one.

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