This year has been an exciting one for us. Our office has had a makeover, we’ve commenced regular social media meetups for agents and we’ve orchestrated the settlement of hundreds of property transactions.

Like every year, 2012 has come with its own set of challenges and learning experiences. Here are our top five tips for enjoying smooth settlements, no matter what the new year brings:

1. Tell us about final inspection issues

In a property settlement case this year, the seller’s agent made a verbal agreement at the final inspection to have a broken electric gate over the driveway fixed… but when the buyer arrived at the property after settlement, the gate was still broken and the seller denied responsibility.

Keep us informed about final inspection issues such as these, and we’ll make every effort to address the situation before settlement – saving you from dealing with a post settlement dispute.

2. Avoid double stamp duty by asking sellers to see an accountant

Ensure buyers are clear on their purchasing details before making an offer, because if they want to alter their details on the contract after it has been accepted by the seller, they may end up paying double stamp duty.

Earlier this year, a buyer was faced with the possibility of having to cancel a contract and submit a new one in order to change the offer from his name to the name of ‘Townsend Pty Ltd’ (note: this name is an example only). He was faced with the possibility of paying stamp duty for both contracts – a situation that could have been avoided if he had seen his accountant before signing the Offer and Acceptance.

3. Ensure smoke alarms and RCDs are compliant

This isn’t the first time we’ve mentioned the importance of having working smoke alarms and RCDs before a property is sold, and for good reason – failing to do so is a dangerous breach of the law that can lead to hefty fines.

Ensure the seller’s smoke alarms and RCDs are installed correctly, cover all parts of the property and are replaced when necessary.

4. Prevent homeless clients with smart subject sales

Subject sales (ie. sales which are reliant on another property transaction going through, which might be reliant on a third transaction going through, etc) can be complex, so take extra care when writing contracts for these types of transactions.

This year, a client was almost left with nowhere to go when the settlement for the house she was buying became delayed due to a ‘subject sale’ clause – but the sale of her own property wasn’t subject to her purchase being completed. A little foresight and some smart contract-writing can go a long way in these situations.

5. Leave an appropriate amount of time for settlement

Leave a little more time for settlement and finance approval, and you reduce the risk of settlement being delayed by things like bank complications, final inspection problems, or situations with overseas sellers.

This is particularly true if your settlement is complicated by certain factors. Read 5 reasons you may need to allow extra time for settlement for more info.

Thanks for reading the blog, and a warm thank-you to everyone who has made this year a great one! See you in 2013.

Photo by the_justified_sinner 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.