Find out about finalising your home loan structure, arranging home insurance and tasks to complete before you take ownership of your new home.
This is the stage of the home buying journey where you can finally start to settle – it’s when you take legal ownership of your new home – you just have a few more things to take care of first.
In this step, you’ll find out about finalising your home loan structure, arranging home insurance, and the tasks you’ll need to complete before you take ownership.
This is what you’ve been working for from the moment you took that first step and started setting some goals – settlement day is when a house becomes your home.
The length of a settlement period – the time between your offer becoming unconditional and the moment you get the keys – can be different for everyone.
The good news here is there’s lots to keep you busy between now and then. Here’s what you need to do before settlement day:
Finalise your home loan details
Once your settlement date is confirmed, get in touch with your bank or lender to finalise your home loan. They’ll take you through the options for your loan type and structure, confirm your interest rate and outline your repayment schedule.
Arrange insurance on your home
You’ll need to be covered from the first day you take ownership. It’s likely home insurance will be a condition of your home loan, and you may need to record your bank or lender on your insurance policy as an interested party. Your solicitor and bank or lender may also ask for copies of your policy ahead of settlement.
Your pre-settlement inspection
This is a chance for you to inspect the home before you formally take ownership to make sure it’s handed over in a condition you’re happy with. This is normally arranged through the vendor or their real estate agent, and usually at least two days before your settlement date. You can check for things like:
- any noticeable or new damage
- any agreed maintenance, repairs or touch-ups have been completed
- all lights, electrical outlets and fixtures are working
- all agreed chattels are present and working
- any rubbish has been removed.
You may find it helpful to bring a copy of your sale and purchase agreement along to the inspection. It’ll make it easier for you to check all chattels are in place and the vendor has met the conditions you agreed on. If you spot any issues during your inspection, let the real estate agent know and contact your solicitor with a list of the things that need to be done.
Finalise any remaining funds
Your solicitor will let you know if there are any funds you need to transfer, the amount and where to send them. By making sure you’ve taken care of this as soon as you can, you’ll give yourself the best chance of your settlement running smoothly.
Here is a resource from Settled that may help you in this stage of your journey:
To avoid delays, your solicitor will have let you know everything you needed to do before settlement day, meaning they can take care of everything else on your behalf. They will:
- confirm you have paid any outstanding funds
- let your bank or lender know how much money is needed to settle the purchase
- arrange for your loan to be drawn down and paid to the vendor
- check that the rates have been paid by the vendor and are up to date
- work with the vendor’s solicitor to finalise the transfer of ownership
- register the home and the record of title with you as the new owner.
These steps need to happen in order, so a delay at any stage may affect how long settlement takes. Once your solicitor has let you know the sale has settled, you can begin preparing to move into your new home. It may be late in the day by the time everything is sorted, so it’s a good idea to allow an extra day before you plan to move in.
Getting help if something goes wrong
The settlement process is straight forward and usually runs smoothly, but if you have concerns at any stage, get in touch with your solicitor for help. They’ll be able to answer any questions and let you know how everything is progressing.
Congratulations! You’ve just gone through every step, worked hard and bought your first home. You’ll have more to do as you settle in and adjust to the responsibilities that come along with being a homeowner, but don’t forget to take a moment to give yourself some credit and celebrate in whatever way you like to – you deserve it.
Here are some useful website links to assist you with the “Settling” step.
Page updated: 12 February 2024