- Settlement requires a licenced professional.
- Agent fees are 'pocket change' compared to other property professionals, and settlement is often the most important part of the property buying process.
- The benefits are far reaching, including one success story where clients won credit against a non-council-approved granny flat.
Property settlement agents, also known as conveyancers, are a crucial part of buying property in Western Australia (WA). It is not something you can simply ‘DIY’, and requires a licenced professional.
The Property Tribune spoke with Strategic Settlements‘ Trent Fleskens, who explained how agents are involved in the property settlement process in WA.
“People engage settlement agents to effect the transfer of land between buyers and sellers in Western Australia.”
What does a settlement agent need from you?
The first port of call is to provide the settlement agent with your details and the details of the transaction – this normally means the contract.
The settlement agent will pull together the required forms and documents to start the process with the Office of State Revenue, Landgate, and the other parties represented.
Four tips for finding the right property settlement agent
Fleskens explained that there are four things to consider when looking for property settlement agents in Perth:
- Make sure the settlement agent is licenced in WA,
- Check their reviews and experience,
- Consider whether you relate with the settlement agent, and
- Obtain and compare quotes.
Many of these checks can now be done online, with testimonials and Google reviews also key. Strategic Settlements, part of Strategic Property Group, has an outstanding five-star average across over 250 reviews.
Finding a settlement agent you can gel with is also important, because “there are a lot of personal touch points along the journey,” said Fleskens.
He added that the most important factor is experience, and that “you are always going to get what you pay for.”
How much does a property settlement agent cost?
The industry typically sees quotations between $700 and $1,500 to represent a buyer or seller, according to Fleskens; the median price for a settlement agent is around $1,000.
The cost of a settlement agent is ‘pocket change’ compared to other professionals in the property buying process – a sales agent’s 2.5% cut on a $700,000 home is $17,500.
“The price of a settlement agent comes down to the overhead of that business, and whether they are providing a volume-based service or a quality-based service,” said Fleskens.
Property settlement examples
That ‘pocket change’ can bear substantial dividends in the long run when you choose a high-quality and experienced settlement agent.
Strategic Settlements’ Trent Fleskens, who also hosts The Perth Property Show, recalled the experience of clients Andy and Emily, who pocketed $20,000 after successfully dealing with a dodgy property.
The garage had been converted into a granny flat that did not have council approval. Fleskens sent through the orders and requisitions to the buyer prior to settlement and they brought up that there was no mention of the converted garage having building approval on the orders.
Property settlement lawyers were brought in to confirm the client had no rights under the contract, and following negotiations with the seller, Andy and Emily agreed to a credit of $20,000 in lieu of council approvals; the approvals would not have gone through due to parking issues, and the seller was not obligated to gain retrospect approval as there was no order from the council against the property.