Step 3. Use a Licensed Settlement Agent
The role of a Licensed Settlement Agent or Conveyancer is to ensure that all the contract conditions of sale are completed.
In addition to contract terms, Settlement agents typically attend;
- Title/Plan searches and checking any restrictions on the use or transfer of the property which are identified on the title.
- Arranging, where required, for any restrictions on the title of the property to be removed.
- Enquiring with local councils and with government departments about rates, taxes and water consumption to determine details of the sewer connection, any outstanding orders and building licences and the amounts to be paid by the seller and the buyer.
- Notifying the relevant authorities about the change of property ownership.
- Preparing settlement statements and a number of legal documents and forms.
- Obtaining payment from the client of any fees and duty payable on documents involved in the transaction and arranging for the payment of transfer/stamp duty and other fees to the relevant government agencies.
- Attending settlement to exchange documents and monies to facilitate the legal transfer of the property.
- Notifying the relevant authorities when settlement occurs.
The role of a settlement agent is a complex and time consuming business with many traps for the unwary.