This is the big day – the title of your sold property is changed over, the buyer pays the remaining amount they owe you and the keys are exchanged. The actual day of settlement will be negotiated during the exchange of contract. A period of four to six weeks from signing the contracts is common.
Settlement will normally be managed by your legal representative and financial advisor. You are responsible for the up-keep of your home, including council rates and utilities, until the day of settlement.
The buyer’s final payment will be transferred by your agent to a trust account. After deducting their commission rate the agent must transfer the amount owing to you. The legislation dictating when this transfer should occur varies between the states and territories so be sure to check with your state’s consumer body. For example, in Queensland the transfer must be made within 42 days of settlement, or sooner if requested, while in New South Wales the transfer must occur as soon as practically possible and within the terms set out by your legal advisor. Make sure you receive a detailed statement from your agent showing all amounts received and deducted from the trust account.
If interest was earned on your money while in the trust account, you need to address how this will be divided with your agent or legal representative. This also applies to interest earned on the deposit that was paid by the buyer at the exchange of contract. The Law Society of New South Wales recommends an even division of the interest earned between you and your representative.