Getting ready for settlement
Settlement is when money changes hands and you officially become the owner of your new property. It’s an exciting, but nerve-wracking time, even though most of the hard work will be done by your lawyers and your bank.
Before you move into your new home, you’ll get the chance to do a pre-settlement check of the property. This is to make sure the property and the chattels are in the same condition as when you agreed to buy the property – for example, the dishwasher hasn’t disappeared or been replaced by a cheaper model, or a hole hasn’t suddenly appeared in the living room wall.
Take a copy of your sales and purchase agreement with you, so you can check which chattels are listed.
A pre-settlement inspection generally happens a couple of days before the settlement date, so the seller has an opportunity to fix any issues. If the property is a rental, you also need to give the seller enough time to give the tenants’ notice of an inspection.
If you do find issues that need fixing, talk to your lawyer or conveyancer straight away. They can talk you through your options and can also negotiate with the seller’s lawyers about getting things fixed or paid for.
Having house insurance is usually a condition of getting a home loan, so you’ll need to make sure it’s in place before settlement day.
As soon as you’ve got a home loan approved, then it’s worth reviewing your living insurance cover and thinking about adding life insurance to the mix. Have a think about whether you might need Income Protection Illness cover and Serious Illness Trauma cover to take care of your home loan repayments and household finances if you can't work for a while. Taking out life insurance means that if you pass away, your loved ones could be financially looked after with your home loan repaid and other expenses taken care of.
It would also be worth getting contents insurance to cover your things if they get stolen or accidentally damaged. Getting insurance when you're on the move can also be good idea as your belongings can sometimes get damaged in transit.
Lean on your lawyer or conveyancer
Your lawyer will work with your bank and the seller’s lawyer get all the paperwork in order. The legal work they do to transfer the property to your name is called conveyancing. It can be done by a lawyer or a conveyancer.