Property Settlement Made Easy in 6 Simple Steps

house key ring with keys

Congratulations! You’ve got your house loan pre-approval which is the first hurdle you have to overcome as a first home buyer. Once you’ve got your home loan pre-approved, your road to settlement begins; the journey to receiving the keys of your dream home. But just like any other financial process, it doesn’t happen overnight. Property settlement is a legal process by which the ownership of the property is transferred from the seller to you. Property settlement is a big deal, more so as a first home buyer, yet it might be easier than finding the home you like and can afford in the first place.

So, here are six steps you need to prepare to ensure an easy settlement.

Property Valuation is Important

Once you’ve found the property you want, you should arrange for a property valuation from a qualified professional. Building, pest, and strata inspections and reports will be paramount in price and contract negotiations. A property valuation report is a legal document that includes a legal description of the property in question as well as other valuable information about the property, land, and comparable sales evidence to support/justify the valuation figure. Property valuation uncovers any structural defects or pest infestations that may reduce the property value or potentially cost you money later on. So you must have a qualified property valuer evaluate the property.

The valuation can cost several hundred dollars, but considering the cost of structural repairs down the line, the upfront costs will be worth it.

Review the Contract of Sale Carefully

The contract is the starting point of an easy settlement. The terms and conditions of the sale are specified in the contract of sale. The value of the property, as determined by a property valuer, will also be included in the contract. It proves to the lender that you’re planning to buy a home that meets their conditions. Careful interpretation and comprehension of these terms and conditions in the contract are crucial.

So you might want to consider getting a conveyancer or solicitor on board to review the contract so as to ensure that the terms are acceptable and no legal issues arise. Timing of settlement and omission of fixtures are frequently the most common issues. Having a conveyancer by your side can safeguard your interests as he/she can negotiate the amendments to the contract on your behalf.

Finance

Keeping your finances in check is an essential part of an easy settlement. Pre-approval will provide you with an estimation of the loan you would probably be approved for while Formal approval or Unconditional approval is granted when your home loan application has been fully approved.

If your situation is complicated, sometimes the formal approval is delayed, and the lender asks for additional documents. You will need to get your mortgage insured if you’re borrowing more than 80 percent of the property value, and you’ll have to pay LMI (Lenders Mortgage Insurance). Waiting for the LMI provider’s approval can cause further delays.

Perform a Title Search

The searches are necessary to prevent any unprecedented problems later on. Title searches reveal whether or not the seller has the full legal right to sell the property. Various issues such as liens, mortgages, undisclosed heirs, property line disputes, or more may prohibit the transfer of ownership to you. Furthermore, this involves inquiring government bodies and local councils about zoning, restrictions, and any other government proposals that could affect the property. A conveyancer or solicitor can perform the searches for you so that your transaction proceeds smoothly.

Exchanging Contracts

When both parties are satisfied with the terms of the contract, they exchange contracts that legally complete the property purchase. Both the seller and buyer will have to sign a copy of the contract before exchanging them. Your conveyancer or solicitor will arrange this. You might have to provide other supporting documents in some cases, such as your insurance paper of the property before the loan is forwarded.

You are required to provide a deposit of 10 per cent (or another sum specified in the contract) at this stage. Typically, the exchange of contracts is followed by a five days cooling-off period that allows either party to withdraw from the contract if they want to. This is where the previous steps bear fruits because with the contract meticulously reviewed, proper valuation performed, and finances in place, the sale will move forward with ease.

Get Your Keys!

The big day! Settlement day, the final step of the property settlement process is the actual legal transfer of the home to you. You can set the settlement date by negotiating with the seller, but it usually takes place between 30 to 90 days after the contracts are exchanged.

Since that’s a long time, you should carry out a final inspection of the property to ensure that it is in the same state as when the contracts were exchanged. On the settlement day, at an agreed time and place, the lender and seller’s representatives will liaise with your conveyancer to complete all legal paperwork and exchange final payment. The documents are then sent to the Titles office so that the transfer of ownership is officially registered.

When all is done, pause for a while to take it all in! Home loan settlement is a glorious feeling, especially as a first home buyer. And you deserve to savour it after all the hard work and thought you’ve put into buying a house.

 

Looking to buy a home?

With the right team by your side, the home buying process can be a cakewalk. And our team of experienced mortgage brokers might just be the team you’re looking for. At Capkon, we have an intimate understanding of the homeowner’s journey gathered through years of service in the mortgage broking industry. Contact us today and start your home buying journey!

Author:

Kiran Thapa

Seema Lama

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