Once an Offer and Acceptance has gone “unconditional” on their property, time seems to literally fly by for most sellers. With the myriad of last minute items to attend to before settlement and the excitement of the big move, it’s easy to see how some details can slip through the cracks, even for the most experienced of sellers.

This was the case recently, when one of our own settlement agents learnt the hard way that it’s the little things that count in the final weeks before settlement, when she forgot to notify one of her utility suppliers of her impending move and ended up paying the price when an electricity bill arrived over a month after settlement.

In this instance, our experienced settlement agent, Wanda, (not her real name) had successfully sold her property to some very happy buyers.

Mindful of all of the responsibilities of a seller, Wanda diligently attended to ensuring that all of the items in the Good Working Order Clause and any Special Conditions were addressed and satisfied well before settlement.

As the settlement date approached, she arranged for and booked the removalists and had her new home waiting for her to simply move in once settlement had gone through.

All occurred seemingly to plan for Wanda and settlement went through as scheduled and without a hitch.

However, around a month after she had moved into her new home, she received an electricity account for over $150.00 for service provided to the property she had recently sold.

Unfortunately, Wanda had forgotten to disconnect the electricity supply at settlement and because the account was in her name, she was still liable for the total amount of the account. To rectify the situation, she had to pay the account and notify the utility company of the completed transaction before closing her account.

This simple story, acts as a timely reminder for all sellers as they move through the settlement process, and we recommend they follow this quick checklist to avoid similar mistakes.

1. Approximately 2 weeks from settlement sellers should notify their utility providers of the scheduled settlement date.

2. In the week prior, if things are progressing to plan, they can confirm the settlement for a firm date.

3. Utilities to address include electricity, gas, phone, internet providers, monitored security, water supply and insurance companies.

4. Other items to consider are change of address via Australia Post, maintenance providers, gardening and mowing services, wine club delivery and periodicals.


Image by Lucasz Hejnak 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.