You’ve purchased a home or investment property, contracts have been exchanged, the deposit has been paid and a date for property settlement has been set. So what happens in the meantime and what happens on settlement day?
Settlement day is when you finally get the keys to your new home and are able to move in. If the property is vacant, you can request access after exchange of contracts to do some painting or other minor work on the property prior to moving in but you will need to pick up and return the keys daily via the vendor’s real estate agent.
Before settlement happens, however, you need to take care of a few things.
Between exchange of contracts and the agreed settlement date, you will need to contact your mortgage broker or lender and finalise and sign all loan documents. You will also need to get quotes from removalists, book a removalist and start packing. It’s best to book the removalist for the day after settlement in case of delays on the day.
In the week before settlement, you will need to visit the property you are purchasing to conduct a final inspection to ensure that everything is in accordance with the contract and that agreed inclusions, such as curtains or a dishwasher, have not been removed.
Contact an electricity provider and phone and internet provider and let them know you will need their services at your new address from the settlement date. Also be sure to organise building and contents insurance to start on the date of settlement.
If you are buying the property as an investment, rather than your own home, now is the time to engage a property manager to advertise for tenants and vet them carefully on your behalf.
On settlement day
On settlement day itself, unless you are handling your own conveyancing almost everything will be conducted by the legal representatives of both yourself and the vendor.
The deed to the home will be sent to the titles office where your name will be registered as the new owner. Your lender will register the mortgage against the title and provide the funds to purchase the property as well as pay stamp duty and registration costs to the government.
Cheques to settle all adjustments will also be drawn up and paid out for outstanding council rates, water rates or land tax owed by the vendor. Your solicitor or conveyancer will ensure any existing mortgage on the property has been paid off and all caveats removed. He or she will also ensure that all clauses in the sales contract are fulfilled and the transfer of property and mortgage is complete.
As soon as settlement has completed successfully, your solicitor or conveyancer will contact you and the real estate agent for the vendor will release the keys to your new home to you. Usually they will meet you at the property and let you proudly post the ‘SOLD’ sign on the signboard at the front.
Finally, comes all the excitement of moving into your new home!
If you are purchasing a new home through a Century 21 agent, you will be in good hands and he or she will guide you throughout the process from the time your offer is accepted by the vendor to final property settlement and handing over the keys to your new home. Ensuring the entire sales process goes smoothly for both the vendor and buyer is an important aspect of their job!
Our top-selling Century 21 agents around the country are in accord: the more inviting a vendor’s home appears at open inspections, the more likely the home is to sell for top dollar and to sell more quickly.
Before listing your home for sale, your Century 21 selling agent will advise you on all the improvements you could make to maximise the sale price of your home. These could range anywhere from fixing a leaking tap to doing some repainting. The next step is readying your home for the marketing photography with a scrupulous clean and tidy up, decluttering and some depersonalising such as packing away family photographs and soccer trophies. These photographs and the advertising copy on the internet are vital in attracting as many potential buyers to your open inspections as possible. Next, it’s show time and those interested buyers will be arriving at your home for the first open inspection.
Here are a few tried and true tips for open inspection days to ensure your home looks inviting and, ultimately, desirable enough for those offers to start rolling in.
1. Make sure your home is clean as a whistle
In the week before, do a thorough house clean from sparkling windows to cleaning inside the kitchen cupboards. On the morning of an inspection, dust, vacuum and mop to not only ensure your home is clean but give it that just cleaned, fresh smell. Add to this effect by polishing any timber furniture with a pleasant-smelling polish such as orange oil (available from hardware stores).
2. Get the outdoors ready
A final run over the lawn with a mower and a few minute’s weeding can get your garden looking top notch. Ensure your entrance looks inviting with a brand new doormat and some stylish potted plants. Empty any old flyers from the post box. Put the council waste bins out the way somewhere they will not be prominent.
3. Do a quick declutter
Make all beds, put clothes, toys and paperwork out of sight and remove all pet bowls and pet beds. Empty all bins, laundry baskets and wastepaper baskets.
4. Style your home
Make beds beautifully and arrange flowers or vases of greenery from the garden in key places around the home. Plump sofa cushions and arrange them nicely. In the bathroom, add brand new fluffy white towels (don’t use them until the house has sold), attractive new toiletries and soap and a new roll of toilet paper. In the kitchen, make sure benchtops are clear and not cluttered with small appliances.
5. Hide or lock up valuables
Don’t leave anything valuable lying around. Hide valuables, lock them away or take them with you.
6. Temperature check
Is the temperature inside your home at a comfortable level? If the day is freezing or scorching try to get the temperature inside as comfortable as possible well before the inspection time.
7. Those final touches
Do a final check that nothing is out of place. Open all blinds and curtains to let in maximum light, open windows if the weather is suitable, open all internal doors and switch all the lights on, including bedside lamps. Place a couple of scented candles (choose a fresh not cloying scent) in strategic locations such as the entrance and bathroom to give a pleasant scent and inviting glow.
Also, consider some welcoming touches for your ‘visitors’ such as leaving out a bowl of mints or a jug of cold water, drinking glasses and a plate of biscuits. For your potential buyers, spending a day rushing around to open inspections can be exhausting and they will appreciate your considerate touches.
8. When the real estate agent arrives
As soon as the agent arrives, let them prepare for the inspection. Grab your phones, valuables, any last minute cleaning equipment, kids and pets, hop in the car and take yourself out and about until the agent calls you to say the inspection is over.
Remember that between each advertised open inspection time, you may have many other private inspections during the week. Also, interested buyers may want to inspect your home several times before they put in an offer. So keep your home in tip top shape the entire time it’s on the market, so you can swing into action and do the final styling touches at short notice whenever necessary.
Preparing for open inspections can be stressful. Your Century 21 real estate agent will have plenty of sterling advice for you on how to sell your house, maximise your sale price and reduce the time your home is on the market. Putting in the effort to heed this advice and present your home in its best possible light for that first real estate open for inspection will pay off in greater buyer interest and potential higher offers. Plus your home will look and feel so inviting, you won’t want to leave!
If you’re thinking of selling your home later this year, you should be acquiring information right now on how to best present your home for sale and what renovations and improvements could be made to ensure you attract maximum buyer interest and the highest possible price. Renovation costs can be prohibitive, however, so you need to take a carefully targeted approach to any home renovation you tackle prior to listing your property for sale.
Every home improvement you make needs to be carefully targeted at the preferences of local buyers in your area. What would attract them to spend more money for your home in preference to similar homes? The best person to call on for the answer to this is your local Century 21 real estate agent. He or she knows the local market and can advise you on exactly what buyers are looking for and which improvements will add value to your property (and which won’t).
Depending on your locale and the type of buyers who would be interested in your home, your Century 21 agent may advise a kitchen renovation, bathroom renovation, repainting the interiors, adding a deck or other outdoor entertaining area or simply updating your lighting and ripping up your old carpets to reveal the beautiful hardwood floorboards beneath.
When renovating prior to selling, there are several points to keep in mind:
- You are renovating to attract buyers, not to suit your own tastes.
- You need to invest wisely to gain the largest possible profit margin. A guideline is to set the budget at no more than three per cent of your home’s current value, with the expectation of achieving a return of $3-5 on each dollar you spend.
Renovation costs can explode at an alarming rate if you are not careful, and blow that profit margin altogether, so here are some ways to cut down on your home renovation costs.
1. Keep an eye on your budget
There are various online renovation cost calculators you can use to set your budget and keep a close eye on your spending. Try out a few to see which one suits you best.
2. Get quotes and more quotes
For jobs that need a professional, get as many quotes as you can. Even in a small local area, the differences in pricing for a job such as tiling a bathroom can be mind-boggling.
3. Choose affordable finishes and materials
Seek out the most affordable materials to get the effect you want. This especially applies to flooring covering a large area. For example, a travertine floor could cost thousands of dollars, a marine ply floor a few hundred. Plain white tiles at $10 per metre for the kitchen splashback look fresh and clean and are much cheaper than a glass splashback.
4. Seek out bargains online
Scour the web for the best prices on appliances, paint, taps, tiles and just about anything else you will need. The savings can be really substantial. Don’t forget sites like eBay and Gumtree as well for factory seconds, second-hand finds and more.
5. Don’t move any plumbing
If you are renovating a kitchen, bathroom or laundry, design it around the existing plumbing. Moving plumbing is an added expense you won’t need if you stick to the same layout but with new cupboards and fixtures.
6. Keep what you can
If your bathroom is looking tired but the fab 1970s floor tiles are in superb condition why not keep them and design the new look bathroom around them? Same applies if you have original hardwood floorboards beneath the carpets. Simply lift the carpets and have the floorboards refinished. If your kitchen cupboard carcases are in good condition, you may be able to simply replace the doors to give your kitchen new life.
Cutting costs while giving your home a fresh new look that will attract buyers will ensure you get a great return when you come to sell. Speak to your local Century 21 real estate agent for advice on where to start and what to do in terms of house renovation well before you list your property for sale.