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The most common question a purchaser’s solicitor gets asked is “what time will settlement happen and when can we get the keys to our new home?”

What you need to be aware of is that there are certain things which need to happen before settlement can occur and more often than not, any delay is beyond our control. For that reason, when advising a purchaser on when to book the removal truck we will usually err on the side of caution and recommend late morning or even early afternoon.

Some of the factors which can influence the time of settlement will be looked at in this article.

If your purchase is one of a number where the party further down the chain from you have the sale of an existing property to settle this can contribute to delay. In most cases a buyer cannot settle their purchase in such circumstances until the sale of their existing property has settled. So if you are a cash buyer with no property to sell, you are at the start of the chain and it makes our job easier.

At the time of settlement all money which is required to complete a purchase comes into your lawyers trust account and then we complete the purchase on your behalf.

Another factor which can hold up your purchase therefore includes a delay in you lodging the balance of any money you are putting towards the purchase into our trust account or for that matter, a delay in your bank lodging any new loan monies into our trust account. The latter will often depend on when you signed the loan documents and when we were able to send all signed paperwork back to your bank. Obviously the more notice we are able to give a bank the better the chance that your purchase will settle in a timely fashion.

If you have not arranged the insurance on the home noting your lender as an interested party this might also delay settlement.

If when you did your final pre-purchase inspection the vendors agreed to complete some remedial work, settlement can sometimes be delayed pending confirmation of such work being completed or your lawyer negotiating an amount to be retained or deducted at settlement.

Finally, as lawyers for a purchaser we will not settle your purchase until such time as we have received an undertaking from the vendors lawyer that they have signed the electronic dealing to transfer ownership and are in possession of a discharge of mortgage and on receipt of funds that they will release the mortgage and the transfer to enable us to complete registration into your name.

And undertaking is a lawyers promise to another lawyer and we can be severely censured and even struck off by the law society for breaching an undertaking.

Hopefully this will give you the idea that there are a number of factors which can and regularly do hold up settlement of your purchase. Being organised and having sufficient time between confirming the contract and completing settlement is the recommended solution to these issues.

At Kannangara Thomson we have a large team of experienced conveyancing lawyers to assist you with your purchase.