How long does a property settlement take?

Published On: 25 January 2024

You’ve been searching for your new home, hunting for the perfect home in the perfect location, at the price you want to pay.

The contract has been signed and you now have a settlement date – but this is just the beginning of the process to owning your new home.

There’s a lot of work that needs to be done to change ownership of a property before you can collect your keys.

What is a property settlement?

Property settlement is the legal process that needs to be done to transfer property from one party (person/ people) to another.

The process includes more than two parties agreeing on the purchase price.

A property settlement includes obtaining financial information and clearance from financial institutions, calculations for stamp duty, concessions and grants. Plus ensuring adjustments are made for council rates, water rates, and body corporate fees that the seller may have paid beyond the date they stop owning the property.

The property settlement process can also include:
• checking and signing transfer documents,
• registering the transfer of ownership with the relevant government agency,
• making the final payment to the seller.

Your conveyancer completes this process on your behalf and ensures that all necessary steps are completed accurately.

How long does it take to settle the sale of a house?

There are many factors that impact how long settlement can take, and the time from signing your contract to settlement may vary. Usually, it takes between 30 and 90 days – but this time period is negotiated depending on the circumstances of the buyer and what the seller will agree to.

What can cause delays in a property settlement?

At times a bank can make an error. This may happen because of documentation mix ups or clerical errors.

Sometimes, finance that was arranged becomes unavailable or new information leads to different terms being offered.

Buyers and sellers:
It is not uncommon for the buyer or seller to ask for an extended settlement period after the signing of the contract. This may be because the buyer needs extra time to arrange finance or complete the sale of another house. Both the buyer and seller need to agree to the new settlement date and an Addendum to the Contract should be prepared and signed.

How long does settlement take on the day?

Depending on how the different pieces of the settlement go, settlement on the day can take anywhere from an hour to all day.

You will get a call from your conveyancer with the good news that settlement has been completed nd then it’s time to move in.

Can you move in on settlement day?

Settlement day is the day you legally become the owner of your new home.

While it is technically possible to move in on settlement day, if there are any delays in the process you may not be able to be fully moved in.

What should I do the day before my settlement?

Settlement day can be stressful, so it pays be as organised as possible.

You should:

• Re-confirm with your bank that you have the cleared funds available in your account.
• Approve the settlement statement from your conveyancer as quickly as possible.
• Confirm with your conveyancer to ensure that any mortgage over the property is ready to be discharged and paid out at settlement.

How long after settlement do you (as the seller) receive your money?

Settlement time may vary depending on the circumstances of the seller and buyer; however you should expect to receive the proceeds from the sale within 24 hours of the settlement being completed. Occasionally this can differ due to Banks and Credit Unions having different processing timeframes.