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Tips for handling settlement & moving in

Your offer on the property has become 'Unconditional' and you're excited about moving in! What sort of things do you need to think about next?

Here is an easy checklist of things you need to check off before Settlement day:

1) Ensure the deposit has been paid - The deposit is usually held in the lawyers trust account, but once you go unconditional, it should be paid to the seller.

2) Nail down your home loan - You've had your finance approved, but how is your loan going to be structured. Talk to your bank manager or mortgage broker to secure the best interest rate (or mix of rates) to suit you.

3) Ownership - If there is more than one person or entity buying the house, talk to your lawyer about how to structure the ownership.

4) House Insurance - You will need to arrange house insurance for the new house from the possession date and provide proof of this to your lawyer.

5) Visit your lawyer - to sign for the transfer of Title, mortgage docs (if borrowing money) and any other documentation. This is usually done a few days prior to settlement so that everything is in order on settlement day.

6) Pre-possession inspection - A few days before settlement you should inspect the property to ensure that no damage has been done and to check that the property and all chattels are in the same condition as at the date of signing the contract. If the inspection reveals any damage or missing chattels then notify your lawyer immediately - you may need to with-hold some money on settlement day.

7) Arrange access - Before settlement day arrives, talk to the seller about access, keys and alarm codes for your new property. A bit of planning can help. Talk to your lawyer about the timing of the settlement on your new house and also about the settlement of yours (if you've just sold). The settlement on your new house will probably be dependent on what time of the day the funds come through from the sale of existing home. If it is late in the day, then your new home purchase will be late as well.

With some communication between the lawyers, they can often arrange a time to suit both parties, and unless anything unforeseen happens on the day, the transaction can run very smoothly.

8) Arrange the movers - Book the moving company or organise your friends and family to be available on that day. Hopefully your lawyers are organised and have things sorted as early as possible. You don't want to be paying the movers to wait outside your new home, unable to unload, due to a delay in gaining access.

Check out our handy moving checklist.

What do I need to do on Settlement/Possession day?

If you are organised, settlement day should be a breeze. You should have been to see your lawyer at least a few days earlier and signed all the relevant documentation. Now you are just waiting for 'the phone call'. When it comes, which is unlikely to be before 11am, you can start! Pick up the keys and begin the move into your new home!

Allow yourself a few days to move in. Sometimes settlement is delayed until late in the day or the following day, so have back up plans in place just in case.

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