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Handing over the keys: your property settlement day checklist

By : 2019-04-15
Handing-over-the-keys-your settlement-day-checklist-Blog

A home sale success doesn’t end on the auctioneer’s hammer or when your buyers sign the dotted line of a sale and purchase agreement. A lot happens in the period after you sell your house, particularly when preparing a property for settlement. To help, here’s a checklist to keep your home sale on track.

 

1. Confirm with your Lawyer

Your lawyer or conveyancer will take care of the legal aspects of your home sale and transferral of finances for your home sale. You will need to book in time to see them so you can:

  • Sign an authority for your lawyer or conveyancer to transfer the title to you.
  • Sign your lender’s home loan and finance agreements if you are borrowing money.
  • Provide your tax details (if applicable)1.

It’s best to get in touch with your lawyer or conveyancer earlier to avoid any potential—and costly—delays.

Important! Before you go to auction or sign a sale and purchase agreement, let your lawyer know your intended settlement time and any conditions of sale you’ve written into the agreement. Once you’ve signed, let your lawyer know of any changes to your settlement terms or conditions that may have resulted from last-minute negotiations.

 

2. Confirm your finances

This may require several trips to your mortgage lender to get documents signed in preparation for your property sale, and if applicable, next property purchase.

You should also make sure there are no outstanding charges on your property and pay any bills due before your settlement day. Where bills are paid in advance, as is often the case with body corporate and council rates, you will still need to pay these fees. However, the final settlement amount will be adjusted to reflect this and shown on the final settlement statement your lawyer provides to the buyers.

On settlement day, your lawyer will liaise with the buyers’ bank or mortgage lender to ensure their funds are transferred to you.

Read more: Will I need to pay tax if I sell my house?

 

3. Pre-settlement property inspection

Your buyer(s) should arrange this a few days before settlement day, which should give you time to fix any issues that might arise.

Note: If you’re a landlord, you’ll need to get your tenant’s consent for the inspector to come onto the property (and again if you need to carry out any maintenance). Both you and your buyers should allow extra time to organise this. If your property is part of a body corporate, they may require certain repairs or maintenance to go through them.

Before your pre-settlement inspection, you should also check that:

  • All chattels listed in the sale agreement are owned by you (i.e. no money owing on them) and are working properly (unless agreed otherwise).
  • All lights work.
  • All curtains and window coverings are functional.
  • Any repair or maintenance work outlined in your sale and purchase agreement is complete.
  • All keys and garage door remotes are accounted for and any alarm codes are written down.
  • The property is clean—in some instances, your sale and purchase agreement may specify you have the home professionally cleaned.
  • The garden is maintained, including lawns mowed, and no plants are removed.
  • All your belongings and rubbish are removed.

Note: Your lawyer or conveyancer can act as your mediator if your home is damaged since its purchase, or if chattels are found missing or damaged in the pre-settlement inspection.

 

4. Insurance

Don’t forget to change (or cancel) the address of your home and contents insurance to coincide with the settlement date you settle—and not before.

Tip: Make sure your belongings are covered during your move.

 

5. Utilities

Make sure to cancel or arrange a transfer of services for your:

  • Internet
  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Water
  • Phone line
  • Mail
  • Any automatic payments set up for the property (e.g. council rates).

Tip: Consider leaving a note with a forwarding address for your mail.

 

6. Deliver all keys to your agent or lawyer

Take your keys, garage door remotes and alarm details to your agent, lawyer or conveyancer to hand on to the buyers. The earlier you do this on your settlement day, the sooner your settlement is complete!

Tip: Also consider creating an information pack that contains all the important documents the new owners may need such as warranty information, chattel manuals and any renovation records.

 

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1. Settled.govt.nz, 2019.