What is property settlement and how long does it take?

Published On: 26 January 2023

It may feel like a long journey, you have spent months looking for your dream home and you have finally found it!

You signed the contract, with the help from your conveyancer, and received the Form 1 that has all the information about your new home.

It is now getting close to settlement day and you may be wondering what happens next.

 How does settlement work and when can I get the keys?

Settlement is when ownership of a property passes from the seller to the buyer.

It includes the payment of the balance of the sale price including adjustments and fees.

The buyer and seller negotiate the date of settlement and this is written into your Contract of Sale.

How long does it take for property settlement?

Settlement usually takes around 4-6 weeks, from when you sign the Contract.

How does property settlement work?

The contract (and other documentation) should be forwarded to your conveyancer as soon as possible so that they can start arranging settlement on your behalf.

The conveyancer will check the contract, form 1 and conduct searchers, and then ensure all documents are correctly signed. They also must (by law) complete a verification of identity and authority procedures. They also prepare transfer documents, liaise with financial institutions and complete other legally required tasks to ensure your settlement runs smoothly. Closer to settlement date, they prepare a settlement statement and send it to you.

Does property settlement day include weekends?

No. Settlements can only be conducted on weekdays during normal business hours due to the availability of Land Services SA and the electronic settlement platform called PEXA. Settlement cannot occur on Public Holidays either.

Can the settlement date be changed?

Yes, BEFORE the contract has been signed, is easier than afterwards, so think carefully about the date and make sure you are able to meet this deadline.

Yes, AFTER the contract has been signed, but both the buyer and seller must agree. And there is no obligation for the other party to agree to the change in date.

Who pays settlement fees?

Both the buyer and seller pay fees. The Settlement Statement lists all the fees payable.

What is in a buyers settlement statement?

A buyer’s (or purchaser) settlement statement lists all the fees payable for the transaction. These include rate adjustments, incoming money from financial institutions, Stamp Duty and Land Titles Office registration fees, PEXA settlement fees and conveyancing fees.

What is in a sellers settlement statement?

A seller’s (vendor) settlement statement will also list all the fees payable for the transaction.

This includes rates adjustment, payment of any outstanding rates and taxes to the end of the financial year. Outstanding costs for the water use up to the settlement date for SA Water, the Real Estate Agent’s Commission and any fees they have, the mortgage discharge fees and charges, Pexa settlement fees and conveyancing fees.

When would I receive payment for my property sale?

The balance of the sale amount (after all the fees have been taken out) is transferred to the sellers bank account after settlement. The amount usually arrives in their account within 24 hours of settlement being completed.

Your conveyancer will notify you as soon as settlement is completed.

Once settlement is completed the buyer can collect the keys from the agent and start to move in.

Strathalbyn Conveyancing understands that buying and selling property is one of the biggest and most important decisions you will make in your life and we would be honored to be part of your journey. If you have any queries in relation to this process, please contact us.