Settlement day represents the end of a long and (probably quite arduous) journey towards buying your own home. During the settlement process, the property's legal title is transferred into your name and the outstanding balance owed to the seller is paid. Additionally, your settlement agent will ensure that all of the conditions outlined in the contract of sale have been met. If you're concerned about the possibility of something going wrong at this stage, here are a few things you can do to ensure the process is as stress-free as possible.
Choose the right settlement agent
Your settlement agent will be responsible for a number of very important tasks. They will be in charge of preparing all of the paperwork you will be required to sign, including the authority to proceed to settlement, the stamp duty forms and the land and ownership transfer documentation. Your agent will also need to read through the entirety of the sales contract, make sure that the transaction has been registered with the relevant authorities and carry out a title search, to check that the property's certificate of title is in order.
As such, it is vital to take great care when selecting settlement agent; their actions will play a big part in determining how smoothly this process goes. The agent you choose should, first and foremost, be fully qualified to carry out this type of work. You can find out if they are licensed by searching for their qualifications online. Additionally, they should be willing to give you a written quote, which specifies the fees they intend to charge for the services they will be providing.
When speaking to potential candidates, consider whether they seem genuinely interested in the particulars of your situation. A responsible agent will pay close attention to your personal circumstances and take into account your individual requirements and concerns about the settlement process.
Carry out a pre-settlement inspection
Before finalising the sale, you have the right to inspect the property you will be buying. Carrying out a pre-settlement inspection will ensure that you don't encounter any unpleasant surprises on settlement day, such as discovering that the property has been damaged since you last visited it.
The seller of the house is legally required to make sure that the property is delivered to you in the same condition it was in when you agreed to purchase it. As such, if during your inspection, you find that any of the items on the chattels list (such as the light fittings, window dressings or carpeting) are missing, you should discuss this with the seller before moving forward with the settlement process.
Additionally, as the seller is required to leave the property vacant, you should also make sure that they have not left any of their own furniture or other belongings in the house. Lastly, you should carefully examine the house for signs of damage that were not present at the time of purchase. If you discover any, it's important not to sign any documentation until you have spoken to the seller and come to an agreement on how to address this damage.