The Role of a Settlement Agent

hy it's important to know what a Settlement Agent does when you next buy or sell property.

A Settlement Agent is a trained and qualified professional who holds a licence under the Settlement Agents Act 1981 and is engaged to facilitate the transfer of legal ownership. This process is known as conveyancing.

If you’ve bought or sold property over the years, you would more than likely have had dealings with a Settlement Agent, or Conveyancer who have assisted you with the transaction of the property from one owner to the other.

Settlement Agents play an important and pivotal role in the property industry by acting for the buyer and/or seller when an accepted offer on the sale of the property is made. Property may be in the form of vacant land, new homes, established homes or commercial buildings. Settlement agents are also able to transfer legal ownership in the event of a death, divorce or sub-division of land.

The most common reasons for engaging a settlement agent are when a property is bought or sold through a real estate agent. Once an offer is made by a buyer and accepted by the seller, the Offer becomes a legally binding contract and procedures get underway to transfer the ownership from the seller to the buyer. This is where a Settlement Agent steps in and acts on your behalf in dealing with the real estate agent and mortgage broker.

The settlement agent will receive a copy of the contract of sale, take note of the Special Conditions of the sale (such as Finance Approval) and ensure these conditions are met and agreed to upon the settlement of the property. They also contact and liaise with Landgate (who will most likely hold the Certificate of Title on the property) and commence transfer of ownership documents to be signed and registered with Landgate. To enable the settlement to take place, there are numerous documents that need to be completed including Mortgage Discharge forms, approved finance applications and the Contract of Sale itself.

The Settlement Agent co-ordinates all of these to ensure the legal requirements to transfer ownership are met. It is at this point, when all documents are being prepared and held by the Settlement Agent, that you will need to verify and prove your identity. This involves attending the Settlement Agent’s office and providing 100 point photographic ID including passport and driver’s license, Medicare card etc. These original and valid documents need to be sighted as being true to the person buying or selling the property.

Choosing a settlement agent to act for you in a real estate transaction can be crucial to the timing and process of the sale. By using an experienced and highly recommended settlement agent you are going to get a high level of knowledge and service from your dedicated conveyancer. Not all settlement agents are the same and we encourage you to choose a settlement agent based on experience, not on price.

A local settlement agent who knows the area and type of real estate you are buying or selling can make a big difference to the end result.

If you would like recommendations for a Settlement Agent for your next real estate transaction, or to find out more about the role of a settlement agent, you can contact Brett on 0407 249 567, or call into our office on Main Street in the heart of Ellenbrook.