You’ve signed the contract and appointed a conveyancer. Your finance has been approved and the loan documents have been signed and any money required to complete settlement has been transferred into the account your conveyancer or bank have instructed funds to be sent to.  Basically everything has been done and you are all packed ready to move.  Your conveyancer will usually contact you the day prior to settlement to confirm that everything is now ready to go but you now ask what happens next?  What do I have to do?  Here are a few of the questions that you may want answered.


No is the simple answer and here is why:

Property settlements were previously completed manually via paper documents and your conveyancer would have to attend settlement in person, generally at the Land Titles Office (LTO) in Grenfell Street Adelaide.  They used to settle somewhere between 11.30 and 1.30pm depending on the day of the week and the date you agreed when you signed a contract.  Since mandatory electronic conveyancing was introduced, settlements are now conducted online and again your conveyancer undertakes this process on your behalf. This allows for streamlined and paper free transactions to be conducted throughout Australia.

In electronic conveyancing the process is quite different from the old paper settlements which had to be completed in person at the Lands Title Office. Gone are the days of each Conveyancer handing over important property documents and bank cheques, now the parties literally watch this happen in an electronic workspace as the process is checked off when each part is finished.  It is all so much more streamlined and the clearance of funds is immediate once finalised which is a great benefit to the vendor.  Registration of the transaction also takes place much quicker so ownership is transferred to the purchaser much sooner

Settlement also can now take place anytime of the day right up to 4.30pm. If you are moving your conveyancer will probably select an earlier settlement whereas if it is for vacant land, investment properties or other property then these transfers are most likely to be booked for later in the afternoon.

Leading up to settlement and throughout the process your Conveyancer is able to work more closely with all other parties involved in the transaction such as the banks and other conveyancers.

Before a transaction can settle the following processes need to be completed:

  • All documents including the Transfer of Land, Mortgage Documents etc must be verified and signed of by all parties involved.  This is usually your conveyancer and your financial institution.
  • Transfer documents are stamped online with RevenueSA and this information is uploaded and confirmed correct
  • Funds required will need to be uploaded and cleared ready for settlement within the workspace and figures balanced before these are signed off.
  • Any funds going to other parties must have the correct details entered so that money can be transferred at settlement.

Once the above have been completed and the transaction is ready to settle it is a matter of waiting for the scheduled time and then the settlement process starts automatically with the LTO lodging the documents and once lodged the transaction is deemed settled with the funds getting disbursed to all relevant parties. The process usually take up to 30 minutes to complete.

Preparing for settlement

Packing up your existing home ready to move is one of the hardest elements of moving into a new house. You will also have to ensure that connection and/or disconnection of utilities has been arranged beforehand.

Your conveyancer will take care of all the paperwork so that you can take care of the cleaning and actual moving. They also will advise the Council and other relevant authorities of the change of ownership but it is your responsibility to arrange for gas, electricity, telephone and NBN/internet to be connected.

Once everything has been finalised your conveyancer will contact to let you know the good news and will send through a final letter and statements for your records.

A reliable competent conveyancer will keep you up to date throughout the process to ensure there are no hiccups and if something does crop up, they will advise you immediately so that it can be rectified in time for settlement.

When do I get my Keys?

This is a question that nearly every purchaser will ask and the usual answer is that the real estate agent will hand them over after settlement has been completed.

Once settlement has been completed the vendors conveyancer will notify the real estate agent who will then be able to hand over the keys.  It is best to contact them the day before to find out when they will be available to do this handover.

Sometimes there is no real estate agent involved as a private contract has been prepared.  In this case it could be that the vendor meets you at the property to handover all keys and remote controls.  Otherwise the vendors conveyancer can hand them over at settlement and you can collect them from your own conveyancers’ office later in the afternoon.  Just make sure that it is arranged beforehand so you know what to expect.

What about changing the locks?

The vendor has handed over all the keys or so you thought.  What if the vendor has kept a set someone in their family has a spare key which was forgotten? It would be a lot safer to get the locks changed for safety and the assurance that no-one else has access to your new property.

As a precaution it would be wise to arrange for a locksmith to come and rekey or change all the locks and at the same time they could be keyed alike so that you only need one key on your key ring!


See also: 5 questions to ask your conveyancer when buying property

What are settlement adjustments?

The team at McKay Business Services are all members of the AICSA and are proud Adelaide conveyancers