Frequently Asked Questions
Is it important to have a Settlement Agent?
An important notice from the Australian Institute of Conveyancers - WA Branch
The following information has been published by the Australian Institute of Conveyancers - WA Branch. It makes for very relevant reading when considering the importance of your upcoming settlement. When property is one of the most expensive times of your life, it pays to take a critical look at all factors of the settlement process. As always, Focus Settlements, as your independent Settlement Agent with broad settlement coverage throughout Perth and the greater Western Australia, together with our highly trained, experienced staff, are here to help you with your upcoming settlement.
The Importance of choosing a Settlement Agent
Conveyancing is a complex and time consuming business with many traps for the unwary. Choose your Settlement Agent as you would choose your Accountant, Doctor, Banker, Surgeon or any other professional that you require to look after YOUR INDIVIDUAL NEEDS. SETTLEMENT AGENTS ARE EXPERTS IN THEIR FIELD.
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.
In order to carry on business as a Settlement Agent in Western Australia there is a requirement to be licensed and hold a current triennial certificate granted by Consumer Protection. The licensing system administered ensures only suitably qualified people are allowed to operate in the settlement industry.
To be granted a licence, there is a requirement to have met certain qualifications, experience, sufficient material and financial resources and be a person of good character and repute. The licensing framework also includes holding professional indemnity insurance and participate in continuing (annual) Compulsory Professional Development Program.
The CPD program is designed to increase the knowledge, skills and professionalism within the settlement industry and ensures that Settlement Agents are operating in line with the most up to date information and practices. The aim of the program is to increase Consumer Protection and promote consumer confidence in the settlement industry.
You have a choice in the delivery of conveyancing services and there are benefits to be reaped by choosing a specialist.
We welcome you to contact us for further discussion regarding your needs.
Why do I need a Settlement Agent?
Buying or selling Real estate can be a stressful time in your life and it is important you seek the services of a professional, knowledgeable and qualified Settlement Agent to attend to the important final stage of your property transfer.
A Settlement Agent will understand and attend to many processes on your behalf to ensure an effective transfer of title from seller to buyer.
Some of the tasks completed by the settlement agent are:
- Search plans and title deeds and any encumbrances such as Caveats and Restrictive Covenant
- Ensure all clauses on the Offer and Acceptance Contract are met within the specific time and make the client aware of dates and requirement
- Prepare settlement documentation required for the
- Transfer of the title into the Buyer’s names
- Check the signing and execution of all documents before settlement
- Liaise with banks, brokers, solicitors and other lenders to book and arrange settlement
- Contact relevant authorities to provide a change of ownership. A Settlement Agent will contact the Shire, Water Corporation and State Revenue to advise change of ownership. Please note that it is still the client’s responsibility to contact all other authorities such as your choice of Electricity Company, Gas Company, Telephone and internet providers, electoral commission and Australia Post.
- Attend to the adjustment of Water, Shire and Land Tax rates between the Buyer and Seller and ensure any unpaid rates are finalised and paid at settlement (if applicable and available)
- Stamp Duty on the contract – Ensure the Offer and Acceptance contract is lodged and paid within the time frames specified by the Office of State Revenue
- Attend settlement on your behalf. Lodge any required transfer documents with the bank or Landgate. Collect any balance of funds and deposit into bank account or as instructed by the bank or client.
- Ensure property is transferred into the buyers name after settlement
- Keeping clients, real estate agents, brokers, banks and all relevant parties updated at all times throughout the settlement process
As outlined above there is a brief rundown of why it is important to engage in the services of an experience settlement agent. Please contact us today to provide you with an obligation free quote today!
Do I have to use the Settlement Agent that the Real Estate Agent suggests?
No this is completely your decision. You have the right to appoint your choice of settlement agent.
How do I appoint Focus Settlements?
Simply advise the Real Estate Agent of our contact details and they will forward the relevant paperwork to us.
No Real Estate Agent? Please arrange to send via post, email or fax a fully signed copy of the Offer and Acceptance contract and we will open the file and make contact with all relevant parties.
My finance was just approved. What do I do now?
Congratulations! Now that your finance has been approved you will need to contact all relevant parties and provide a copy of the finance approval letter to your Settlement Agent, Real Estate Agent involved in selling the property and any agent acting on a sub sale transaction. A copy should be made available from your bank or broker.
You will now need to contact your bank or broker to arrange to sign important mortgage documents as soon as possible.
I need to get my identification verified. Where can I do this?
We advise that Settlement Agents are required to confirm that the person/s selling the property are the ‘true owner/s or the person who is legally entitled to sell the property’.
In accordance with Landgate regulations, you are required to present the necessary Identification documents as listed on the attached Land Title Identity Verification Form brochure to either of the following three parties:
- Zip ID - A Mobile Identification service who will come to you to verify ID. Focus can provide you with an information brochure for this service. Bookings can be made online for this service. Or visit their website https://zipid.com.au
- Australia Post - Identity verification can be done in most Australia Post offices. Bookings may be necessary at some offices.
- In person at our office - Should you wish, you may book an appointment to come into our office, and we will be able to verify documents on your behalf.
What is Stewart Title insurance?
Title Insurance is a specialised type of Insurance which provides protection to home buyers and existing property owners against certain unknown and hidden risks which may exist at the time of purchase or issues that may arise after settlement. Each title insurance policy is subject to specific terms, conditions & exclusions.
We recommend you contact Stewart Title direct if you have any queries regarding title insurance on 1300 853 919 or visit their website https://www.stewartau.com