FAQs for Buyers & Sellers

We’ve put together the answers to common questions that our clients have.  If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, feel free to get in touch with us.

General FAQs

Why should I nominate a Settlement Agent?

Buying or selling property is likely to be one of the biggest financial decisions that you will make in your life and you might find you have a lot of questions throughout the process.

The consequences of making mistakes or missing a key step can also be expensive and stressful.

Nominating a Licensed Settlement Agent – such as Metro Settlements, who is also a member of the Australian Institute of Conveyancers (WA Division) – you can be confident knowing that you have an experienced and professional Conveyancer taking care of your property transaction.

I would like Metro Settlements to handle my settlement. What do I need to do?

Once you’ve made the decision to nominate Metro Settlements, let your Real Estate Agent know and they will arrange for the Contract of Sale to be sent to our office.

Once we receive a copy of the Contract, your friendly Conveyancer will be in touch to introduce themselves and answer any questions you may have.

While we wait for any conditions on your Contract to be satisfied, we’ll send our initial paperwork out to you for signing.

Do I have to be in Perth on the settlement day?

No – that’s our job! As your Settlement Agent, Metro Settlements will attend the settlement for you and your Conveyancer will give you a call with the good news once it has gone through!

What happens if I’m not ready to settle on the due settlement date?

Under most contracts in WA, both the buyer and seller have three business days after the contracted due date in which they can settle, without penalty.

If you’re still not ready for settlement at the end of this ‘grace period’, the other party may be able to charge you ‘penalty interest’ for the delay, which is calculated based on the purchase price of the property.

This is why it’s so important that you sign and return any paperwork to your Settlement Agent and to your bank as soon as possible. You should also let your Conveyancer know if you’re going away for work or holiday over the course of the settlement process.

If you think there is a possibility that you won’t be ready to settle on the contracted Settlement Date, please speak to your Conveyancer to discuss the options available to you.

What is ‘settlement’ and what actually happens there?

Settlement occurs when the seller’s funds are handed over in exchange for the buyer receiving the title deed to the property. Once all of the conditions on your Contract have been satisfied and your bank is ready, settlement will be booked for the date specified in your Contract.

In WA, most settlements take place in the Perth CBD, either at the buyer’s bank’s office or at Landgate.

Usually, there are four parties involved – the buyer and sellers’ Settlement Agents, as well as the buyer and sellers’ banks (also known as Mortgagees). At the settlement, the buyer’s bank will hand over the bank cheques to the seller’s Settlement Agent and bank.  In return, the buyer’s bank then receives the Certificate of Title deed.

Similarly, we can also complete your settlement electronically, if all parties are able to do so.  This involves a virtual meeting, with the electronic exchange of money and documents.

Once all parties at the settlement are satisfied with their documents and funds, your property is considered ‘settled’ and your Conveyancer will call you with the good news! Then you can contact the Real Estate Agent to arrange handover of the keys.

I’ve bought or sold a property interstate. Can Metro Settlements act for me?

No, in Australia your Settlement Agent has to be licensed in the same state as your property.  Therefore, we’re only licensed to carry out settlements in Western Australia.

For interstate properties you’ll need to appoint a Solicitor or Conveyancer based in that particular State or Territory. You can locate an interstate member of the Australian Institute of Conveyancers here.

What are the requirements for residual current devices (RCDs) and smoke alarms?

Under the Electricity Regulations 1947 (WA), sellers of residential properties built after 1 January 2000 must have at least two residual current devices (RCDs) installed in their property prior to settlement.

As for smoke alarms, since 2009 it’s also compulsory that mains-powered smoke alarms be installed in residential properties prior to settlement. You should ensure that your smoke alarms are installed by a licensed electrician, and remember to change the unit every 10 years.

Prior to settlement, Metro Settlements will ask the seller to confirm that the property complies with the relevant regulations. Whilst unusual, should we be unable to get confirmation from the seller prior to settlement, we will notify the parties.

Do I need to contact anyone else to let them know about settlement?

Metro Settlements will notify your Local Council, the Water Corporation and Office of State Revenue (Land Tax Department) of the upcoming settlement.

You will need to contact any private firms in relation to the gas, electricity and telephone connections. We recommend that you contact these agencies around one week prior to settlement, to confirm the connection and/or disconnection details.

It’s also your responsibility to make arrangements for your home and contents insurance.

For buyers, you should have this in place 1–2 weeks prior to settlement and arranged to commence on the Settlement Date.

For sellers, we recommend not cancelling your insurance until your Conveyancer has confirmed that settlement has taken place. The only exception to this is that some strata complexes may have joint building insurance.  However, your Conveyancer will let you know if this applies to you.

What is ‘VOI’ and why do I need to do it?

To minimise the risk of fraudulent lands sales taking place, it’s now a Landgate requirement that all sellers and buyers complete a ‘Verification of Identity’ or ‘VOI’.

The most common form of identification is your Driver’s Licence and either your Passport or Birth Certificate.

Metro Settlements offers three service providers to complete your ID with:

  • Australia Post

We can send you a form to take with you to your local Australia Post office to complete your identification. Australia Post currently charge $44.00 to do this*.

  • In-house at Metro Settlements

Alternatively, you can choose to visit our office and complete your identification at no additional charge by contacting your Conveyancer to make an appointment.

  • Via an authorised agent (ID Secure) at your home or office

We can arrange for an accredited and fully insured ID Secure agent to meet you at a time and place that suits you.  ID Secure currently charge $79.00 for one person or $99.00 for two people (to be completed at the same time).

*Correct as at 6 June 2018

FAQs for Sellers

When do I need to vacate the property?

If you live in the property as your principle place of residence, you have until 12pm the day after settlement to vacate and hand the keys over to the Real Estate Agent.

If you don’t live in the property, then you’ll need to provide the keys to your Real Estate Agent by settlement.

FAQs for Buyers

When do I get the keys to the property?

If the seller is living in the property, they have until 12pm the day after settlement to vacate and hand the keys over to the Real Estate Agent.

Otherwise, you should be able to pick up the keys right after settlement. Contact your Real Estate Agent to confirm the arrangements for your key handover.

Can I re-inspect the property?

Yes – generally you’re entitled to a ‘final inspection’ within the week prior to settlement.

Your Real Estate Agent will arrange to take you through the property, to check that the plumbing, electrical and gas fixtures items are in working order (as is usually required).

Please note, your Offer & Acceptance Contract may stipulate different requirements than these, so if you’re unsure of your rights to a final inspection be sure to give your Conveyancer a call.

Who do I speak to about my First Home Owners Grant?

Your bank or Finance Broker are generally the best people to contact regarding questions you may have about the First Home Owners Grant (FHOG).

Whilst Metro Settlements can provide general advice, for advice on your specific circumstances you can speak to the Office of State Revenue First Home Owner’s Grant team on 08 9262 1299.

Your bank will generally apply for your FHOG on your behalf prior to settlement. If you’re paying cash, or going through a smaller lender, you may need to apply directly to Office of State Revenue.

We cannot claim your First Home Owner Rate of Stamp Duty until your FHOG is approved (even if you aren’t eligible for the $10,000 grant because, for example, you’re purchasing an established home).

You need to make sure you return your completed FHOG application to your bank or Finance Broker at least three weeks prior to settlement.

Am I still able to purchase a WA property if I’m not an Australian Citizen or Permanent Resident?

Yes, potentially you can still purchase a property in WA.  However before you make your offer you should speak to the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) to discuss your eligibility and any restrictions on the type of property you may purchase.

Visit their website here or you can find all of their phone and email contact information on their contact page.