Buying a property is an exciting experience, and the period between finalising the contract and picking up the keys can seem endless. But the reality is that there are a number of things to do in that time, and keeping on top of them will make your move far more seamless.
Here are the five points to remember when preparing to settle on your property.
1. Arrange insurance
From the moment that you agree to buy the property, you become the beneficial owner. That means that any damage that occurs to the property after the contract is finalised is yours to wear unless it happens as a result of the seller’s negligence.
For that reason, although it is not legally required that you arrange insurance on the property, it is very strongly advised that you do so. Insurance companies will provide building insurance from the date of the contract so that you and the seller both have peace of mind.
2. Arrange finance
Of course you will already have your approval for fund organised. However additionally to this it is your responsibility to do all that is required to make sure your lender is able to provide funds. Your conveyancer or solicitor will arrange for the lender to arrange settlement, but you will need to provide documents prior to that point. Under most contracts, the purchaser compensates the seller if settlement is delayed, and a common reason for that delay is when a lender is not yet in a position to settle.
Get on the front foot by providing your lender or broker with all the paperwork they need as soon as you possibly can so that a credit check can be performed, and your finance approved.
3. Do a final inspection
The buyer is entitled to a final inspection in the week before settlement. The final inspection is important to make sure that there has been no damage to the property since the contract was signed. Check, also, that no fixtures or other inclusions have been removed by the seller in violation of the contract.
Ideally, you will have done a pre-purchase inspection that has documented the condition of the property at that time to compare against.
Do be aware that the seller is not liable for minor damage that can be classed as ‘fair wear and tear’, such as scuff marks from moving furniture through forays or minor scratching on the floor. If you see any major damage, however, you should bring it to the official attention of the seller and agent so that a solution can be found.
4. Understand the adjustment statement
In the lead up to settlement, you will receive a settlement statement from your solicitor or conveyancer. This sets out the amount that you and the other party are liable to pay in respect to various rates and charges, including council rates, water or any body corporate charges.
Unless your contract specifies otherwise, the seller is responsible for all rates and charges up to and inclusive of the day of settlement, and the buyer is responsible from the day after settlement.
If the seller has paid rates in advance, covering a period after settlement, then you will be reimbursing them for that portion of the payment. Once you have checked the statement and it has been verified by the seller, an adjustment will be made and a cheque made out to the seller.
5. Arrange to collect the key
When the settlement day finally arrives, you may take possession of the home. Your agent or solicitor will make the arrangements with you, you may even be given a settlement gift when you move in! Some parties choose to meet and hand over the key in person, although others go via the selling agent. Whichever you choose, make sure that everyone is aware of the arrangement so that you can obtain the key when you need it to start moving your possessions in.
Knowing what to expect when preparing to settle on your property can make the process far simpler, leaving you plenty of time to get excited. The team at Peter Blackshaw are always ready to answer any questions you might have about the process.