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What is settlement?

Settlement is the official process of transferring ownership of a property from a seller to a buyer. It is conducted by the representatives of both the buyer and the seller. In Western Australia, settlement, also referred to as conveyancing, can be done by a solicitor or a licensed settlement agent (also known as a conveyancer).

At different stages of your home ownership journey, you may be the buyer or the seller in a settlement process.

What does a settlement agent do?

A settlement agent prepares the necessary documents to allow settlement to occur. They ensure the property's title is transferred to your name and handle the exchange of funds between you and the seller.

You'll need to appoint a settlement agent to conduct settlement on your behalf. The seller will also have a settlement agent involved.

Cost of settlement

Settlement agents charge a fee for their service and will advise you of their fees in writing. Fees will vary but according to REIWA, expect to pay around $1,700 for a $500,000 property for their service. There may be other government and statutory charges to cover, your settlement agent will go through these with you.

  • If you're a first-home buyer building a new home, your settlement agent fee may be covered by the First Home Owner Grant (FHOG).
  • If you're buying an established home, you'll need to have funds available to cover your settlement agent fee.

Remember you'll need to cover other costs when buying a property. Read our guide to home ownership costs to be well-prepared for a smooth transition.

How do I choose a settlement agent?

Once you have signed an offer to purchase a home or land, you'll need to start looking for a settlement agent. If you have any questions about the timing, you can ask your home loan specialist or broker.

You might find it useful to ask your friends and family for a recommendation for a settlement agent. Look in your local area too or search online. You can enquire about the fees involved before you select your agent, so you know what to expect. You may find it helpful to get a few quotes before deciding.

What happens on settlement day?

Settlement takes time

After your loan is formally approved, it usually takes up to four weeks to settlement to occur, but may take longer or shorter depending on what conditions are needed for settlement.

You may have some sale conditions that you need to action yourself during this time, for example, if you're buying a property, you may need to arrange a building or termite inspection and a final inspection with the real estate agent.

Your settlement agent will let you know the timing for settlement and can help with any questions you may have. Keystart doesn't have any involvement in setting this timing.

On the day

Settlement day is the actual date you become the legal owner of your home. Settlement occurs at a specific time and location, but you won't need to be there as your settlement agent will do this on your behalf. All the parties need to agree on the date of settlement and representatives will sign the official documents on the same day.

Once the documents have been signed and funds exchanged, you'll be notified that this has occurred by your settlement agent. You'll then receive the keys to your house, or if you are building a new home, you'll become the owner of a block of land.

Generally, settlements go ahead as planned, however, if any crucial document or information is not available or incomplete on the day, settlement can be delayed.

Your Keystart home loan gets underway

Once all the paperwork is sorted and the money is exchanged, the property officially becomes yours. This means you get the keys and can start calling your new place home.

You'll see your Keystart home loan account set up and ready to go. Be sure to download the Keystart app so you can see all your details, set up your payments, and access financial tools and resources.

If you’re refinancing to another lender

When you refinance your property, settlement occurs on the day you switch from your existing lender to a new one. Here's what it involves.

Paying off the existing loan

During settlement, funds from the new lender are used to pay off your Keystart loan. This clears your debt with us.

Your new loan begins

Your new loan terms come into effect after settlement, and you start making repayments as per your new loan agreement.

If you're selling your property

If you're selling your property, settlement means finalising the sale and receiving the money from the buyer. Here's what is involved.

Preparing for the transfer

Before settlement, your settlement agent will organise all the necessary documents and ensure the property is ready to be transferred to the buyer.

Receiving payment

During settlement, funds from the sale are used to pay off your Keystart loan if you have a loan still in place. This clears your debt with us.

Handing over the property

After settlement, it's time to hand over the keys and any relevant documents to the new owner. This signifies the end of your ownership of that property.