A settlement agent is someone that attends a settlement on your behalf to finalise the settlement of a property. They are normally not involved in the conveyancing process until the contracts have been exchanged and there is a binding settlement date on foot which is normally included in the contract. There can in fact be sanctions in the contract for not settling the contract at the appointed time and if you believe that you will not be able to settle in time you will need to negotiate with the other party so as to avoid the imposition of penalties under the contract.
A settlement agent will normally assist with post-exchange processes such as contacting the banks to arrange either the discharge of the mortgage or the creation of a new mortgage. They will also assist with processes like the issuing of requisitions on title, the calculation of settlement figure, drafting the transfer and stamping it and attendance on settlement. They should also call and confirm that the settlement has taken place as planned and that the possession of the property has now taken place as planned so that all of the interlocking rights under the contract have been observed or taken place in a way which is in accordance with the terms of the contract. A settlement agent will normally need you to provide them with the checks for the amounts requested by the vendor if you are the purchaser and if you are the vendor, they will need to know what amounts to expect in the checks so that they can verify that the correct amounts of money are changing hands. The will also pay the stamp duty on the transaction if this is necessary and get the correct amount paid to the council and the water authority if necessary. If you have a conveyancing matter which you need a settlement agent for, we are more than happy to assist with a matter like this and can do a settlement at a very reasonable rate. You can chat to one of our lawyers online or post your matter through our contact form on the right.