Is your New Year’s resolution to purchase property in Perth, Western Australia? While the property settlement process in WA can be lengthy, it doesn’t have to be chaotic. The key to a smooth property transaction versus a stressful one is understanding the conveyancing process and the steps involved.
According to Kerry Cable, Strand Legal and Conveyancing’s Business Manager, “Attention to detail, document preparation and understanding the Sales Contract is the key to smooth settlement in Perth.”
Kerry Cable explains that property settlements in Perth can be made easier and faster by following a few simple steps. From obtaining property documents such as the Title Deeds and any other relevant property information to organising the financial aspects of settlement and getting ready for the settlement date.
Here are Kerry Cable’s top 10 tips to ensure your property settlement in Perth is quick, easy, and stress-free:
Understand the property settlement process in Perth
Many elements of Perth’s property settlement process are similar to other states. For example, budgeting for settlement fees like:
- conveyancing fees
- transfer (stamp) duty
- mortgage lenders’ insurance or loan establishment fees.
“However, where WA differs from other States is that there is no ‘cooling off’ period in the Sale Contract,” says Kerry Cable. “So in Perth, the onus is on the buyer to thoroughly inspect the property before making an offer.”
Kerry explains that in WA, buyers are obligated to purchase the property upon signing the contract unless there is a condition specifically giving the right.
About WA’s Standard Residential Sale Contract
If you’re unfamiliar with purchasing property in WA, Kerry Cable suggests familiarising yourself with WA’s standard Residential Contract, which contains two sections:
- Contract for Sale of Land or Strata Title by Offer and Acceptance
- Joint Form of General Conditions for the Sale of Land (General Conditions).
“Because we don’t have a cooling off period, the General Conditions aspect of the Sale Contract is arguably the most important, explains Kerry.”
The General Conditions are the contractual conditions that apply to the offer and acceptance. For example:
- encumbrances (i.e. a lodged or registered interest in the property by a person who is not the registered seller)
- payment and holding of the deposit
- settlement and delays in settlement (i.e. penalties that may apply)
- possession (including vacant possession)
- adjustments and outgoings
- payment responsibilities for costs such as connection to sewerage andunderground power.
Buyer seller’s Special Conditions
The Offer and Acceptance document includes a section for the buyer and seller to insert any special conditions into the contract. For instance:
- where and when finance is to be obtained (e.g. sale is ‘subject to finance approval’)
- any repairs to be made to the property
- whether any building, plumbing, pool, termites or other inspections are conditional to the sale.
So with the help of your real estate agent, make sure you familiarise yourself with all the property’s features, fixtures, fittings, and conditions, including the gas, plumbing and electrics. In WA, only one pre-settlement inspection is available, and it’s not up to the seller to report the property’s actual condition. There may be no recourse after settlement.
“With our knowledge of the property market in Perth and our expertise in property law, our conveyancing team can help you understand WA’s Sale Contract process, so you feel comfortable throughout every step,” says Kerry.
Gather all the necessary documents
Gathering all the necessary documents for property settlement in Western Australia doesn’t need to be a daunting task. For example, you’ll need your property title, transfer documents, council property certificate and other related documents.
That said, it’s essential to ensure all the necessary documents are available and completed accurately for property settlement to take place efficiently.
“Our conveyancing team can help you understand which documents you’ll need and prepare and submit them correctly,” says Kerry.
Choose a reliable conveyancer in Perth
Having the right conveyancer when purchasing a property in Perth is essential. An experienced professional can ensure everything runs smoothly, satisfying both buyer and seller while avoiding costly disputes or delays. Conveyancing includes understanding the various conditions involved in a contract of sale, preparing all necessary documents and handling settlement on your behalf. The right conveyancer will also ensure that all requirements, such as council enquiries, bank disbursements and title transfer, are carried out accurately so everything can run smoothly on settlement day. By hiring someone experienced and specialised in relevant laws in Perth, you can rest assured that your property transaction goes uninterrupted and free from any significant complications.
Make sure to have an up-to-date property valuation report
Having an up-to-date property valuation report is essential. This comprehensive report provides a detailed overview of the transacted property, including its market value and any upgrades or improvements made. This is valuable for informing property owners of the true worth of their assets.
Be aware of any special conditions that may apply to your property
When acquiring a property of any kind in WA, it is vital to know its unique conditions that may affect its value. A property valuation, which can provide an estimate of the property’s worth, is a great step to take before making any final decisions on a property. Once you have signed or changed the contract with a variation that all parties have agreed to and signed, there is no ‘cooling off’ period or going back.
“It pays to think ahead and consider what could affect the property so that you can make an informed decision before signing anything,” says Kerry.
Ensure that you make all payments on time and in full
Timely and accurate payments are essential to ensure a successful conveyancing settlement process. Kerry and her team handle this part of the conveyancing transaction.
Generally, conveyancers ensure all funds due from the purchaser are transferred to the vendor on time and in full as defined by the Sale Contract. Also, your conveyancer’s job is to ensure that any lenders involved in the transaction, such as banks or other financial institutions, deliver payment according to their agreements.
“As part of our commitment to a smooth conveyancing process, we work hard to make sure payments arrive swiftly and on time, so settlement goes according to plan,” says Kerry.
Have a clear understanding of your rights and obligations
Buying a house is a big step, so it’s important to understand your rights and obligations clearly. Make sure to take the time to read and understand any contracts you need to sign during the process, and don’t hesitate to ask your lawyer, conveyancer or real estate agent for clarification if necessary. Also, double-check that all information provided, such as the property description, any likely taxes, and associated fees, are accurate before committing. Understanding your legal rights and obligations before reaching an agreement will help give you peace of mind when buying property in WA.
Keep track of progress with regular updates from your conveyancer
A great way to keep on top is by asking for regular updates from your conveyancer and real estate agent. Don’t be afraid to communicate with them; ask how things are going or if there have been any new changes or document updates. With regular contact, you can take control and know exactly where you are in the purchasing journey.
Digital signatures for faster processing times
Digital signatures are revolutionising the property settlement process. Electronic signatures allow buyers and sellers to quickly and securely execute their mutual obligations and complete the process much faster than traditional methods. Digital signatures make it easier to legally bind two parties in an agreement remotely, with authenticity and reliability assured through cryptographically verifiable proof.
While digital signatures are reducing the number of manual paperwork transactions required, “transfer of land and Client Authorisation Forms still require a wet signature – that is, pen on paper,” says Kerry.
Be ready to move into your property after settlement
When looking for a new home, consider all the essential elements – location, size and cost – and how you might quirk it up with things that reflect your personality. Buying items for your new abode before move-in day can add a personal touch with just a few decorative touches. Throw out old furnishings from your old place and replace them with furniture that fits your new residence. It’s always best to have everything ready when your settlement date comes around – so grab some boxes, do some shopping (non-essential included) and get ready to watch the transformation into something special.
WA’s property settlement process can be daunting if you’re used to having a cooling-off period on a Sales Contract, but with the proper preparation, you’ll have peace of mind. Following Kerry’s tips for successful property settlement in Perth – from understanding your rights and obligations to utilising digital signatures for faster processing times – you’ll be on your way to moving into your dream home. And with a clear plan of action, regular updates from conveyancers and some pre-move-in shopping thrown in, you’re sure to make your Perth property journey as smooth as possible.