Frequently asked questions
What is a Settlement Agent?
Very simplistically, a Settlement Agent (also known as a Conveyancer), attends to the legal transfer of Title from the Seller to the Buyer. Settlement Agents also handle a variety of other property related transactions, such as preparing new Titles for subdivided property and transferring property according to family court matters. Settlement Agents in Western Australia are strictly regulated by the Department of Commerce.
Can I choose my own settlement agent?
Yes! It is your RIGHT to choose whoever you wish to represent you. When you sign a Contract to sell or purchase a property the Real Estate Agent may nominate their own Settlement Agent due to possible financial affilliations. Neo Settlements is completely independent and when we are recommended by Real Estate Agents it is because of the outstanding customer service we offer, not because we are paying for the recommendation.
Do I have to attend settlement?
No, Neo Settlements attends settlement on your behalf as this is part of their settlement service.
What actually happens at settlement?
The general rule in settlements is “follow the money”. Therefore, as it is the Buyer’s bank providing finance, the settlement usually takes place at the Buyer’s bank or a place nominated by them. All settlements must take place within the CBD (or Bunbury) as this is the location of a Landgate office where documents can be lodged. Usually it is the Buyer’s settlement agent who books the Buyer’s bank and then confirms times with the Seller’s settlement agent who must organise for the Seller’s bank to also be available at this time. All four parties sit at the designated settlement table and Title deeds are checked and money handed over according to the instructions of the Buyer’s settlement agent and Seller’s settlement agent. This process usually takes 15 minutes (settlements are booked every 15 minutes). Once everyone has what they require, the matter is declared "settled". All settlement agents call their respective offices who then call the clients and fax the real estate agents, so keys can be released.
How long does settlement take?
Usually between 6 and 8 weeks. Most Contracts allow the Buyer 21 days for finance approval and then between 21 and 28 days for settlement from the date of finance. Settlement in some cases (such as when the Seller has the Title deeds and the Buyer is paying cash) can be quicker. Generally however the banks need this time to issue documents, check them once they are returned and then send the file to settlement
I have booked my removalists and settlement is called off, what can I do?
Unfortunately or fortunately depending on which side you are on, the Joint Form of General Conditions which governs how settlements proceed, allows both the Seller and Buyer 3 days grace period. So a settlement that has been called off (and usually they are for very minor and easily solved reasons) can be easily rebooked for the next day. If you have booked removalists you will have to cancel them and re-schedule. Unfortunately any costs incurred for this delay will have to be borne by you.
Why can’t you advise me of the full amount payable for settlement?
The finance approval letter from your bank shows the total value of your loan, however bank charges are often deducted from this amount. So until your settlement is booked most banks will not disclose the “final funds available for settlement”. Should we require additional funds to complete your purchase we will contact you as soon as possible.
When can I re-inspect my property?
You are entitled to re-inspect the property 5 business days before settlement. Contact your real estate agent to organise this.