With a large amount of people wanting to finalise their property transaction before Christmas, and with many people taking annual leave, the last few weeks of the year can be chaotic.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do in the lead-up to the new year to help ensure your clients’ property settlements don’t turn into a source of stress.
Banks and settlement agents are often hit with a big influx of settlements around the end of November and December, and due to annual leave many of the banks will not be at full staffing capacity. With that in mind, the following steps can help you avoid hectic settlements:
1. Discuss the possibility of settling before or after the silly season. Many settlement agents close over Christmas so for a smoother property transaction buyers and sellers may be willing to avoid having settlement during the peak of the holiday season. Ask your clients if they are planning to take holiday themselves, as their availability will also determine which dates should be crossed off.
2. Avoid public holidays. Christmas, Boxing Day, and Australia Day are all times that banks will be closed, so avoid setting a settlement date that falls on these days! In addition, public holidays may delay the total time banks take to process mortgage documents, so take this into account when deciding how many days to allow for settlement.
3. Consider using fixed dates. When writing up a contract, setting the settlement date to “x days after finance approval” may cause settlement to fall on a public holiday, during a time when your settlement agent is closed, or during a time when banks are inundated with work. To make sure settlement occurs on a day that is suitable for all involved, consider setting a fixed settlement date to accommodate all parties.
By being mindful of the influx of settlements and high numbers of people taking leave, you can reduce the chance of delay or hassle during your last property transactions of the year.
Image by Steve Taylor via Flickr.