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10. Settlement

You have agreed to a settlement day, usually 30-45 days after the date of exchange. Settlement is the day you’ll be paid by the buyer for the balance owing in exchange for the title deeds to the property and the keys. The buyer then becomes the legal owner of the property.

It’s not necessary for you to attend settlement because your solicitor and the buyer’s solicitor will meet to ensure it takes place on the date set out in the Contract of Sale.

If the buyer or seller is not ready to settle on the agreed date, an interest charge can be applied for every day settlement is held up. So it’s important each person is on track for the sale to be finalised.

At settlement the solicitor can organise for the following:

  • Determine with your financial lender the final payment figure required to payout (discharge) the mortgage.
  • Calculate the utility bills you owe or you’ve already paid.
  • Make any relevant tax calculations.
  • Inform you when to hand over the keys to the buyer.
  • Notify the appropriate people about the change in ownership.

Tip: If a buyer wants to get into the property early, bring the settlement date forward instead of allowing the buyer to take possession of your house before settlement.