Everything you need to know about solicitors, conveyancing and settlement
What is settlement?
Settlement is the official process of making you the new owner of the property. This involves all representatives: conveyancers (or solicitors), your lender, and the bank representing the property's current owner, which will give you, the purchaser, legal ownership.
The settlement process takes approximately six to eight weeks. As buying property is a large investment and involves legal contracts, you will need to enlist the help of a licensed conveyancer or solicitor to help carry out all the legal work, and ensure you understand the requirements of becoming a home owner.
You should engage with a conveyancer or solicitor early in the process, before signing any contract for the property you wish to buy.
What does a conveyancer do?
A conveyancer or solicitor is a licensed professional who assists in the legal process of transferring ownership of a property from the seller to the buyer (you).
The conveyancer's role is to:
- review the property and purchase contract
- check the legal title to the property
- provide legal advice
- draw up or dispute contracts
- deal with payment of stamp duty if required
- liaise with your lender to collect and transfer money for settlement
- attend settlement and act on your behalf for where required.
How much does a conveyancer or solicitor charge?
As with any service the cost of a conveyancer or solicitor can vary greatly. It's important to do your research and understand everything that's involved from a financial perspective. Some conveyancers may charge a flat fee, while others charge by the hour, so it's always best to ask these questions upfront to budget accordingly.
What happens on settlement day?
This is the day you officially "purchase" the property and it becomes yours! All representatives involved will agree beforehand on the date, time, and place of your settlement.
On the settlement day your lender will withdraw the funds of the purchase price of the property, and transfer the balance to the seller. Your conveyancer will work with you and the lender to ensure this all runs smoothly. From there, the seller is notified of the transfer and will confirm they have received the funds.
The last step is for the title to be transferred and sent to the Title Office to register you as the new owner – congratulations! You did it, you bought your first home!
If you've found a property you're interested in, you should speak to your lender to start the application journey.