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Settlement – Let’s talk expectations.

So you’ve found the property you want, and a price has been agreed. The next step is going to be a big one. In fact, it’s not a single step. It’s the settlement process, and it involves lots of steps.

It can be overwhelming, complicated, and stressful. But if you get the very first step of the settlement process right, all of these unpleasant emotions can be drastically reduced, or even avoided altogether.

The very first step.

Now you may think I’m biased here, but the absolute first step you need to take towards settlement is phoning your Conveyancer. Ideally, you would have contacted a Conveyancer way back when you first decided you were going to look for a property to purchase. So you should already have a relationship of some kind with the Conveyancer who is going to guide you through this process.

If you haven’t, stop reading this blog and contact me straight away! It’s no exaggeration to say that you’re in immediate danger if you haven’t organised your Conveyancer at this point. Remember, your Conveyancer is your team-mate. They’re going to use their knowledge and experience to watch your back throughout this.

What’s next?

Okay, so now that you’re Conveyancer is in the loop, things are going to be much easier for you.

Next is to get the bank on board. Out of everyone involved, your lender or Broker needs the most time to line up all the ducks. If you already have pre-approval, you might only be looking at 2 – 3 weeks for formal approval to come through. Once that happens, allow at least 2 weeks for the documents to be prepared, sent out, signed by you and returned, and then processed by the lender.

So how long should I expect all up?

It used to be commonly thought that 6 weeks was the wise time frame to expect, and in many cases, this might still ring true today. But in SA now, 30 days is generally most common for settlements. That’s 2 weeks for finance approval and another 2 for settlement to be prepared.

Who decides settlement date?

Well, no one person decides the date. It’s negotiated between all the involved parties. Some parties may have more clout in the negotiations. But if handled professionally by everyone, then a date that is mutually acceptable for everyone is the goal. If the Vendor is purchasing another property, they may be quite adamant about the date they need. So it’s best to have a great Conveyancer in your corner to ensure your best interests are looked after too.

What can I do to keep things on track?

There’s a number of things you can do to give your settlement the best chance of occurring swiftly and on the proposed date. Your Conveyancer will walk you through these as you go.

The biggest thing to get on top of is the contract. As soon as it’s signed, get it back to the lender or broker as quickly as you can. It’s needed for the finance application to be approved. To keep that settlement date on track, make sure you’re not delaying the finance approval by not giving the lender what they need to finalise things.

So we’re there then?

Almost. There’s a number of dates for special conditions in the contract that your Conveyancer will monitor. If required, they’ll request the necessary extensions. These could be formal approval, or for works to be completed. Or maybe a pest and building inspection to be done, and of course the date for settlement itself.

So hopefully this has given you a broad view of what to expect. Obviously, there is a lot more involved. But you should now have an overview of the main points and how to put yourself in the best position for a painless and even joyous experience.

There’s some good factual information at this SA Government site, but if you’re after a more personal and less boring experience, feel free to drop me a line. I’ll be happy to share my knowledge with you.