How the Settlement
Process Works

You finally found your dream home.

Your finances are in order.

And best of all your offer has been accepted.

Buying a home is a monumental achievement. This is a major milestone that is filled with excitement and anticipation for the future. In fact, you can already imagine raising a family and building a future in the very home you made an offer on.

But there is still one final step left until you are a proud homeowner: Settlement.

Settlement is like the last stretch of a seemingly endless undertaking. Except this time the keys to your home are finally handed over to you and you can start moving your things in. But how exactly does the settlement process work and what does it entail?

Settlement can be confusing particularly for first home buyers. Here we put together some of the most commonly asked questions so you have a better idea of what to expect on the big day.

  1. What is settlement?

Settlement is when the transfer of property becomes official. There are a number of steps that must be accomplished before this stage can be reached.

These include:

  • Offer accepted: Perhaps the most important step is the initial offer to the seller who will either accept your offer, propose a counteroffer or refuse outright. If the offer is accepted, then valuations and approvals are needed.
  • Property valuations: Valuations are done to assess the value of the property. Lenders require valuations to ensure the purchase meets all conditions before loan approval.
  • Formal approval: This is when the lender provides confirmation that the loan application has been approved. Every individual has different financial circumstances so some approvals may take longer.
  • Loan contract: The contract stipulates all conditions of the loan from the total amount borrowed to interest rates and more. Supporting documents may be needed to avoid any delays.

Settlement finalises the property transaction between the vendor and purchaser.

Most contracts of sale typically state a settlement date 30 to 90 days from the day of the sale. On settlement day your conveyancer will meet with representatives from the lender and seller to sign and hand over documents.

Your lender will then authorise payment and register a mortgage against the property title. Adjustments are then made to account for any differences during the settlement period. Both parties put in writing that settlement has taken place.

After settlement is completed successfully, you can officially take ownership of your home. The whole process is often long and complicated which is why it is important to find the right settlement agent or conveyancer.


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  1. What does a settlement agent do?

If you are buying your first home, you may be unfamiliar as to what conveyancers do.

Once contracts have been exchanged and the deposit is paid, your conveyancer takes the next step to organise settlement. Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring property from one individual to another. This involves the preparation and lodgment of numerous legal documents.

Settlement agents (also known as conveyancers) are licensed individuals that conduct the settlement process and engage in the following:

  • Researches and investigates the title of the property
  • Prepares and lodges legal documents (e.g. contract of sale) required to complete the purchase
  • Coordinates with the vendor’s representatives to arrange the settlement date and time
  • Advises on important details such as funds required prior to settlement
  • Liaises with your lender and agent to ensure all finances are in order
  • Calculates the rates and taxes the seller is response for up to the day of settlement
  • Registers the mortgage and property title with the Registrar General
  • Acts on your behalf to attend settlement and notifies you when it is complete

Once everything has been taken care of, your conveyancer will then contact you to confirm settlement. The whole process is complete at this stage and you can finally move into your new home.

But problems may occur unfortunately which can delay settlement.

  1. What causes settlements to be delayed?

You couldn’t be more excited to take ownership of your home.

But you get the news from your conveyancer that a problem occurred.

So what happens now?

Delays can be extremely frustrating especially when all your things are ready to be moved in. Heavy penalties may also apply in some cases if you are responsible for the delay. Even with the correct preparation, delays can still happen.

Here are common reasons why a settlement may be delayed:

  • Bank complications: The bank simply may not be ready in time for settlement or certain documents may not have been returned. Take steps to ensure all documents are returned on time.
  • Inspection problems: The final inspection is the last chance to bring up any issues with the property. Any issues or disputes may cause delays.
  • Late documentation: Important documents such as Transfer of Land are crucial for property transactions. Buyers and even sellers may not return signed documents on time, pushing settlement back even further.

You can greatly reduce the chances of delaying settlement by ensuring all necessary documents are signed and returned on time. Your conveyancer will be there to advise you on what needs to be done.

Settlement is a big day.

If all goes well and everything is in order, you can finally take the keys to your home and move in. It definitely helps to be familiar with the process so you have a better idea of what to expect. Buying a home is a major decision so you likely have other questions not covered here.

Loan Monster is here to answer your questions and help you find the right home loan to suit your circumstances. Contact us today and one of our consultants will be in touch with you to answer any queries you may have.

The information contained in this website should not be taken as constituting personal advice. We recommend that you seek professional assistance before acting upon any information provided or linked on this web site.


Are you looking to refinance? Want to buy your very first home? Need an investment property loan? We can take care of it all for you at Loan Monster. Get in touch with our team and let’s get started today.

Get started today

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