Ever wondered what exactly happens on the day of settlement?
After completing an Authority to Act form, following up special conditions, searching the title, lodging documentation with Landgate, and the countless other pre-settlement tasks, the process we follow on actual day of settlement is comparatively simple. Nevertheless, it is vital.
Below are the five essential steps completed by settlement agents on the day of a settlement.
1. The file is balanced – the conveyancer balances the settlement file to ensure all monies (loan payouts, rates, settlement fees, etc) are correct. Then, they put together a settlement packet for the outside clerk, which includes detailed instructions describing the time and venue for settlement, the parties attending, which documents and cheques are to be handed to which party, and other important details.
2. The file is handed to the licensee (that’s me) for checking. I draw any cheques required for settlement and complete any verification of identity statements, then complete a check search to uncover any last-minute action that has happened on the title that could jeopardise settlement. For example, we recently dealt with a property that had a caveat lodged against it on the morning of settlement. If we had not discovered it at the last minute, it could have left the buyer at risk as the Transfer documents would have been prevented from being lodged by Landgate.
3. The settlement packet is handed to the outside clerk. She makes sure everything that needs to be in the packet is there – such as a copy of the title and settlement instructions – then leaves for the Perth CBD.
4. The outside clerk attends each settlement in the allocated time-slot, as per the instructions. At settlement, the Certificate of Title is checked against the Transfer of Land, and money is exchanged for the Title.
5. We notify the other parties that settlement is now completed. The outside clerk phones the office, and the conveyancer involved contacts the client and real estate agent (via phone and by text message) to inform them that settlement has been completed.
This process happens several times a day, with each settlement marking a successful property transaction for one of our clients.
In addition to attending settlement, the outside clerk may also deposit any required money to the client’s account and our trust account, visit Landgate for certification of documents, lodge Transfers and other documents, and deliver documents for stamping at the Office of State Revenue.
Are there any other settlement processes you’d like demystified? Let me know in the comments.
Image by Chris via Flickr.