What Does a Settlement Agent Do And Why Do I Need One?

When you’re considering purchasing and/or selling a property, the first people you contact are probably real estate agents and then lenders and mortgage brokers. Settlement agents aren’t usually front of mind until after you’ve signed a contract, but it may be a good idea to have a chat with a one before you commit to a binding contract. The right settlement agent can offer important information regarding the terms and conditions of any contract you might enter, including what to watch out for and what to insist on.

What exactly is a settlement agent and what do they do?

A settlement agent is a licensed, qualified person who handles the transfer of property ownership, which includes searching for and ensuring the discharge of any charges, encumbrances or debts from the previous owner.  They will conduct all necessary title searches to ensure you are aware of any important information regarding the property.

Settlement agents will liaise with your lender, mortgage broker, real estate agent and any other relevant parties to ensure that the conditions of the contract are met and transfer of ownership of the property is conducted efficiently, on time and has proper legal effect.

What to expect when settlement agents conduct your settlement

In ensuring ownership of your property is correctly transferred, your settlement agent will:

  • Review the contract of sale to ensure all terms and conditions of the contract are complied with.
  • Prepare and lodge the relevant documents with the Land Title Office to record and transfer the details of ownership on the certificate of title.
  • Make all necessary enquiries with relevant local and state government bodies, such as council rates and/or zoning issues.
  • Ensure all required inspections have been completed.
  • Keep you informed about the progress of your settlement and advise on any issues that may arise.

When choosing your settlement agent, we recommend you ensure they are properly qualified and licensed.  Ask for recommendations from those you trust who have been through the same process. Launch Finance highly recommends SettleWest, who have consistently provided outstanding customer service to our clients – get in contact with them today by visiting www.settlewest.com.au!