There is plenty of work to do during the settlement process. However, what you do before the settlement process begins can also have a big impact on the success of the property transaction.

Here are three important tasks that, when done early – even before the sale – will set sellers well on their way to a hassle-free property settlement.

1. Find the Certificate of Title

Each Certificate of Title has two copies: one original, held by Landgate, and one duplicate copy, held by the owner. If the property is under mortgage, the bank will hold the duplicate Title.

If the Title is lost, the seller (or the bank, if there is a mortgage) will need to apply for a replacement. This is a painful process that requires documents such as original rates notices from the shire council and statutory declarations from each person who has had contact with the Title.

Since Landgate’s normal turnaround time is about four weeks, lost Titles are one of the most common causes of long settlement delays.

To avoid such lengthy delays, find out where the Title is early, so that if it’s lost, the application process can be started early.

2. Check identification documents

To proceed with settlement of a property, sellers need to present identification that complies with Landgate’s five categories of identification.

If the seller is unprepared for the strict identification requirements and does not possess the necessary identification, they may be forced into a last-minute scramble to apply for new documents before settlement date – or risk a settlement delay.

To ensure sellers are prepared, it helps to let your clients know about the identification requirements as soon as possible, so they can check that they have their identification documents early. Click here for the five categories of accepted identification.

3. Check the smoke alarms and RCDs

Under state law, sellers can be fined $15,000 for selling a property with improper RCDs and up to $5,000 for selling a property with inadequate smoke alarms.

Having RCDs and smoke alarms installed can take time, so it’s best to check them early to avoid a rush closer to settlement.

If the RCDs or smoke alarms are missing or inadequate (click here for an overview of the requirements), arrange to have them installed or repaired with plenty of time to spare.

By checking early that you have the Certificate of Title, identification documents, and proper RCDs and smoke alarms, you help avoid hassles later on in the settlement process.

Image by Paula via Flickr.

About the Author

Residential Settlements

We provide real estate settlement services throughout Western Australia. In addition, we complete Related Party Transfers, Family Transfers, Private Sales and other title related services.