There are quite a few steps involved in the home building process; from choosing your house design and builder, right through to deciding on fixtures and paint colours. Settlement is one step that is not as exciting as the above but is still extremely important. Having all the paperwork properly organised before you get the keys to your new home is essential. You need a settlement agent.

It is not uncommon for people buying a new home to completely overlook the need for a settlement agent, potentially causing a great deal of unnecessary stress. Understanding what a settlement agent does and why you require their services is a good place to start.

Settlement is the process making everything that has been agreed to by the buyer and seller official. The documents are exchanged, funds transferred, and the property officially changes hands.

Why Do I Need An Agent?

The role of the settlement agent is to prepare all the legal documentation needed to complete the financial transaction between the seller and buyer. As the change of ownership of the property can’t occur until all documents are signed off on, it is the last hurdle before you can officially say you own your new property. 

Can I Do It Myself?

You can technically handle the settlement process yourself, but unless you have experience it is very risky. A settlement agent has the skills and qualifications needed to finish the job efficiently and are there to reduce the confusion and stress that is often experienced by first-home buyers. Some of the things your settlement agent will do are listed below:

  • Your agent will review your contract, and will ensure that all the conditions listed are met.
  • They will prepare all legal documentation to effect the change of ownership.
  • Notify state and local government authorities of the change of ownership.
  • They will liaise with the bank, the real estate agent, government authorities and anyone else who is involved.

 

Are There Any Other Benefits Of Having An Agent Do It For Me?

As part of their jobs, settlement agents will constantly be up to date with the latest government grants associated with first-home buyers, and more. If you are a first-home buyer, a settlement agent is able to assist with your first-home buyers’ grants and stamp duty exemptions.

How Are Settlement Fees Calculated?

Settlement fees are determined based on the price of the property, and whether you are the seller or the buyer.

Generally, the higher the purchase price, the higher the settlement fee will be. For sellers and buyers, the amount of work required differs so the fees will reflect this. Settlement agents can give discounts at their own discretion, so it may be a good idea to shop around and see what is out there.

Settlement agents are there to make the whole process smoother for you. Any paperwork errors can mean lengthy delays in settlement so trusting the professionals is the best way to go.

Just remember to research before choosing your agent, ensuring that they are fully qualified and have the necessary skills and contacts to do the job. Your builder will often have the names of a few trusted settlement agents that they can refer to you. If you have family or friends that have recently used a settlement agent, it may be worth picking their brains for any information or recommendations.