Top tips for your settlement period

Congratulations! You’ve signed on the dotted line and secured your new home. It’s time for a glass or two of champagne, but there’s still a lot to think about before you make your big move.

Understanding settlement

It’s important to understand what settlement entails. Settlement is a complex legal process usually conducted between your legal and financial representatives and those appointed by the vendor. You will need to engage a conveyancer – a professional who can complete all the necessary paperwork for you.

The settlement date is the day when ownership passes from the seller to you, and you pay the balance of the sale price. Settlement periods are often between 30 to 90 days, although they can be longer or shorter, and are set by the seller in the contract of sale.

Money matters

Get in touch with your bank or financial institution to arrange the finance detailed in your contract. Pay the deposit to the vendor’s agent’s Trust Account after the ‘cooling off’ period has expired, if there is one. There is no ‘cooling off’ period if you buy at auction. You’ll also be required to pay land transfer duty (previously called stamp duty) on the sale, due on or within 30 days of the settlement date.

Set up your rates payments. The seller is responsible for the rates and other council fees up to and including the day of settlement, but you are responsible from the day after settlement.

Get insured

Don’t get caught short. One of the first things you should do is take out building and contents insurance for your new home, effective immediately. This insurance will safeguard the lender’s interest in the property, as well as your own.

Arrange a final inspection

Book a time to visit your new home during the week before settlement day. Ensure the property is in the same condition as when it was sold to you, and that the appliances, hot water and heating and cooling systems are in working order. Make a list of any jobs that need attending to before you move in. Check all measurements and ensure boundaries correspond with the Certificate of Title. Knowing these measurements will also help you plan furniture placement for your upcoming move!

Get busy

Book the movers, set up utilities and cable TV, arrange change of address cards, re-direct mail, contact schools and take time out for a cup of coffee or a walk around your new suburb. If possible book some leave for the days immediately before and after moving day. All importantly, don’t forget to buy a bottle of Veuve and pop it in the fridge!

Embrace the day

When settlement day finally arrives it’s time to pick up the keys and make your big move. Pack a bag with your essentials (you don’t want to be looking through 10 boxes to find your toothbrush or phone charger!), bring plenty of snacks, supervise the movers and try to embrace the moment. Moving is certainly stressful, but it’s also exciting. Enjoy your new home!

Written by Kate Shaw

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