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Helpful Hints to Prepare Property For Settlement

By Dominique McKenzie

If you’re in the process of buying or selling a property, the period between when it’s ‘under contract’ and ‘settlement day’ can feel like a waiting game. After all, the property is now sold, but you are waiting for the paperwork to be finalised and exchange to take effect. So, what should you be doing during this crucial time? As the seller, here are your essential tasks to tackle before settlement day arrives:

Understanding Settlement

Firstly, it’s important to understand what settlement entails. It’s the phase where all the legal and financial aspects of a property transaction are addressed. This process kicks off once both the seller and purchaser have signed a contract of sale. Typically lasting between 30 – 60 days, the settlement period can vary based on what’s specified in the contract. The pivotal moment is the settlement date, marking the official transfer of ownership and the exchange of funds. Keys will need to be provided to our office unless discussed otherwise with your agent.

Engage a Conveyancer

To navigate settlement smoothly, engage a conveyancer or legal representative. They’ll handle the paperwork, ensuring compliance with the contract terms and liaising with relevant parties, including your lending institution. Your solicitor or conveyancer will make adjustments for aspects like council rates and/or body corporate fees, in settlement amounts being calculated between both parties for the sales transaction. They will meticulously review the contract for accuracy, verifying essential details like property boundaries against the Title.

Prepare for Vacating

Before settlement, it’s imperative to vacate the property unless alternative arrangements have been made. Arrange for a smooth transition by organising your removal logistics and ensuring all personal belongings are cleared out. Here are a few links to local removalists in the Cairns Area: Ready Movers, A&R Removals, and FNQ Furniture Removals. Additionally, allocate time for a final clean and tidy with all personal effects/belongings removed.

Final Inspection

In the days leading up to settlement, the buyer typically conducts a final inspection to verify that the property aligns with their expectations and contractual agreements. This inspection ensures that all fixtures and fittings included in the sale remain intact, and there is no structural damage.

Sort Insurance Matters

Property insurance is a critical aspect of the settlement process. It’s essential to communicate with your insurer early in the sales process to understand your obligations regarding property insurance.

Cancel Utilities and Prepare for Handover

  • Finalise electricity: Contact ERGON at 13 10 46
  • Gas: Contact Origin Energy or Elgas if applicable
  • Internet and phone
  • Pool maintenance if applicable

Preparing Your Property For Handover

Did you know that the buyer can delay settlement and may be entitled to compensation if the property is not prepared for settlement?

  • Minimum 1 full set of keys for each door and access to the property i.e. gates.
  • Garage remotes if applicable (Are they operational or require new batteries?)
  • All items not included on the “Contract of Sale” removed from the property. i.e. rubbish.
  • All items included on the contract left at the property. i.e. If a Miele dishwasher was displayed at the property inspection and dishwasher included on the contract then a Miele dishwasher is to remain. It cannot be substituted with a cheaper brand.
  • Property is to be left clean including oven, cooktop and air-conditioning vents
  • Gardens and grounds to be mowed, edged, weeded and tidied.
  • Ensure all air conditioners are in working order and that all air conditioning remotes have working batteries that are able to turn the air conditioners On and Off.

Looking Ahead

Navigating the period between under contract and settlement requires careful attention to detail and proactive planning. By engaging with a conveyancer, preparing for vacating, conducting a final inspection, and addressing insurance matters, you can streamline the settlement process and ensure a smooth transition of ownership.

If you would like assistance with arranging the final details a part of your move, or for more information, contact our team today on (07) 4057 1800.

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