Selling or buying a house can be a very stressful time. There are so many different things you have to do in a short amount of time and many details that can go wrong. Property settlement is where the seller and the buyer as well as any real estate agents or settlement agents involved meet for the final stage of selling/buying a house. It is important to understand the process of property settlement in order to make this time less confusing and so you are aware of what is happening with your property and your capital.

By implementing some of the following fourteen ideas you can reduce stress and stay on top of the many things that will need to be organised. These handy bits of advice are tried and true and will allow your property settlement to be smooth sailing.

When purchasing:

1) Ensure you have already received formal finance approval before exchange of contracts or during your 5 day cool off period for the purchase of your new home (always have your finance arranged before you put in an offer on a house.)

2) Review your contract before exchange (preferably with your lawyer or conveyancer) to ensure that you understand what is happening in order to reduce stressing.

3) Arrange pest and building reports.

4) Organise to pay out your existing mortgage if you have one and sign your new mortgage papers with the bank.

5) Be sure to listen to your lawyer or conveyancer’s advice. It is important to receive professional advice in these situations as your property and capital is on the line! Do not hesitate to ask them any questions.

6) Don’t forget to allow for your legal fees, stamp duty and any other bank fees such as mortgage insurance.

7) If you are a first home buyer it is likely that you will be eligible for the First Home Buyers Grant. Be sure to arrange this as this will definitely reduce a lot of fiscal stress.

8.) Simple things such as bank or administration errors can hold up a settlement. Be prepared in the event that settlement is delayed for some reason. It is a good idea to have a back up place to stay for the night if you have arranged to move on that day.

9) Remember that you don’t get the keys from the agent until settlement is actually finalised. Don’t simply assume that you can get early occupation into your new house. Try your best to make sure your sale and subsequent purchase are in the same time frame. This will avoid wasted money on rent for a few months.

When selling:

10) Make sure you have arranged to have your utilities (gas, electricity, telephone and pay TV) to be disconnected at your old home and connected at your new. Ensure the buyer has done the same so these services will be transferred on the settlement date.

11) Book your removalist and have your possessions packed and ready to go.

12) It is imperative to schedule a walkthrough before settlement. This allows both parties to confirm that the property is in the condition as when it was first viewed and that nothing has changed.

13) Make sure you have removed all your personal belongings and the “For Sale” sign. It is courteous to clean the house and have it neat and tidy. Being professional and considerate will go a long way in smoothing out any rough patches that come up along the way.

14) Leave behind any appliance manuals and warranties as well as any alarm combinations. If you have a sales scrapbook such as photos or details of the house it may come in handy for the future owners. The new owners will be grateful if you leave any left over paint and paint chip samples.

Prior to settlement don’t hesitate to voice any queries you might have. Property settlement is a very exciting time so try to implement as many of these strategies as you can in order to avoid stress and confusion and make your settlement run smoothly. Make sure to keep your settlement documents in a safe place, you will need these in the future and settlement may also have taxation implications. Don’t forget to cancel your building and contents insurance.

Here at The Quinn Group we can help you with any of your conveyancing issues, as well as reviewing contracts and providing legal advice. If you are thinking of selling your property it is vital that you seek professional advice, not only will it make the whole process easier and less stressful, the advice will also give you a much clearer knowledge of what is going on. For more information submit an online enquiry or call us on 1300 QUINNS (1300 784 667) or on +61 2 9223 9166.