A comprehensive checklist for first home buyers

When making a purchase of a property and looking at the process from a purchaser’s point of view, settlement is the day that they get the keys to the property – however, in reality there is more depth to this.

Settlement is the day that the purchaser agrees to by signing a Contract Of Sale (COS) and then instructs their conveyancer to hand over the balance of the purchase funds to the vendor’s conveyancer.

In return, the vendor’s conveyancer or solicitor hands over to the purchaser’s conveyancer the title deeds and documents transferring title and arranges for the keys to be released to the purchaser. If the purchaser has finance arranged for the purchase then the conveyancer will also hand over the title deeds to the lender’s solicitor team as security for the mortgage.

To avoid potential issues take note of the following checklist to minimise the potential for trouble.

Confirm details

The purchaser should confirm with the acting agent the date and time for the settlement of the purchase along with any other questions or queries they may have.

Choose a conveyancer or solicitor

Now is an important time to choose a conveyancer or solicitor depending on your state or territory and update them with the details of your purchase such as acting real estate agent and a Contract of Sale. Don’t hesitate to read more in our article about the Importance of a Conveyancer.

Choose a licensed building and pest inspector

Along with the signing of the contract and choosing a conveyancer to act on your behalf, the next crucial step of the process although you are not legally bound to do so but it is wise to, is to choose a licensed building and/or pest inspector to carry out a health check on your potential new home. Don’t hesitate to read more in our article about the Importance of a Licensed Building and Pest Inspector.

Conveyancer settlement statement

The purchaser will receive what is called a settlement statement from the conveyancer or solicitor showing the total funds required for settlement. This sheet will also give a run down on such things as council rates and water rates. Rates are adjusted between the vendor and purchaser for the date of settlement. The water rates are charged quarterly and on settlement will be paid to the end of the current quarter by the vendor. The rates owing to the utilities companies are paid in full from the vendor, and the purchaser’s share is refunded to the vendor based on the purchase price.

Money required

At time of settlement the conveyancer or solicitor will arrange for the lender to deliver the cheques available from the proceeds of the loan to settlement.

Conveyancer or Solicitor’s fees

The conveyancer or solicitor will provide a tax invoice prepared in advance for the date of settlement. If there is any additional professional fees and/or disbursement incurred an additional tax invoice may be provided. Don’t hesitate to read more in our article about conveyancer fees.


The keys may be collected from the real estate agent after settlement. It is recommend that locks are changed after settlement.

Mortgage Registration

Following settlement your lender will register the transfer and mortgage at the Land Titles Office. The mortgagee will retain the Certificate of Title as part of the security for the loan. The conveyancer or solicitor will arrange registration of the title.


It is up to the new owner to arrange for utility readings and the connection of other services by suppliers on the settlement date.

Final inspection

The new owner should inspect the property just before settlement to ensure all is in order. The property should be in the same condition as at the date of settlement, as it was prior to exchange of contracts. If there are any issues that need to be raised this needs to be done with sufficient time so that they may be resolved before settlement.

Change of ownership

If you live in South Australia the Land Titles Office will notify the relevant council and SA Water of the change of ownership, by a form that is lodged from the conveyancer or solicitor after settlement.

Building Insurance

It is very important that the property is adequately insured with Home and Contents insurance. Don’t hesitate to read more in our article about the Importance of Building Insurance and when it needs to be in place.


Click on the link below to download a .PDF version of our checklist courtesy of FHBer Australia website

First Home Buyers Checklist


By talking to an experienced mortgage broker you will be in good hands when making your first home purchase. If you need recommendations for a licensed building inspector, conveyancer or other professional for your first home purchase or you have a question regarding anything spoken about in this article please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your mortgage broker Gerry today.

Original article and information taken from FHBer Australia Website