- searching land titles and checking any restrictions on the use or transfer of the property which are identified on the title;
- arranging, where required, for any restrictions on the title of the property to be removed;
- enquiring with local councils and with government departments about rates, taxes and water consumption to determine details of the sewer connection, any outstanding orders and building licences and the amounts to be paid by the seller and the buyer;
- notifying the relevant authorities about the change of ownership;
- preparing settlement statements and a number of legal documents and forms;
- obtaining payment from the client of any fees and duty payable on documents involved in the transaction and arranging for the payment of transfer duty (previously known as ‘stamp duty’) and other fees to the relevant government agencies;
- attending settlement to exchange documents and monies to facilitate the legal transfer of the property; and
- notifying the relevant authorities when settlement occurs.
Both are the same profession who facilitates the transfer of property or ‘settlement’ is called a settlement agent (conveyancer).
Conveyancers, or settlement agents, are responsible for real estate settlements, which entail preparing documents to transfer property from one person to another. Considering that you are not likely to have extensive experience in the home conveyancing field, it is important that you leave this to a professional
Settlement agents are required to hold a current licence and a triennial certificate under the Settlement Agents Act 1981 (the Act). They must have professional indemnity insurance, maintain an annually audited trust account and participate in the Compulsory Professional Development Program each year.
- Settlement agents must ensure that they look after their client’s best interest in a transaction. Settlement agents are required by law to inform you if they have any business or financial dealings with another party to your transaction. When a personal, business or financial relationship exists, the settlement agent must provide you with a Disclosure of Interest before you sign the Appointment of a Settlement Agent form.
- The Disclosure of Interest identifies the type of interest involved and contains information about your rights when appointing a settlement agent. Specifically, your settlement agent must give you a Disclosure of Interest if your settlement agent has a: Personal interest in the transaction. For example, the settlement agent has a personal interest in the transaction if they are the seller or the buyer of the property or have links to the seller or the buyer of the property.
- Business association with another person/ persons involved in the transaction. For example, the settlement agent receives frequent referrals of business from the real estate agent, sales representativeor developer who is selling the property.
- Financial association with another person/persons involved in the transaction. For example, the real estate agent who sold the property or the financial institution providing the loan for the property has
shares in or owns the settlement agency.
- Before signing the Disclosure of Interest, consider that the relationship being disclosed could give rise to a conflict of interest which may affect the service provided to you. In situations such as these you may choose to appoint another settlement agent or solicitor if you wish.