• JRA Legal & Conveyancing

How Long Does It Take to Settle?

Updated: May 17

We know buyers and sellers are eager to settle ASAP.  However, allowing a little extra time can be key to ensuring everyone’s expectations are met and settlement happens on the due date. JRA Legal always strives to have it settled on the date the client requests. Therefore we alway go above and beyond to make that happen.

The Contract

The first factor we look at when considering the timeline to settlement is your specific Contract of Sale. The settlement period begins from the day the contract of sale is signed by both parties, and the length of the settlement is already indicated in one of the clauses stated in the contract. Because the length is mutually agreed by the seller and the buyer, the time period can be negotiated, and the actual number of days is dependent on the discussion between the two parties. That said, the typical length of the settlement in New South Wales is 42 days.

Settlement delays

Once the due date of settlement is known, it’s important to understand that there may be times where delays occur.  This may result in settlement not taking place on the scheduled due date.

Bank delays

Generally, there are two banks involved in a settlement. The seller’s bank, for the existing mortgage is known as the discharging bank. and the buyer’s bank, for the new finance, is the incoming mortgagee. The discharging bank usually requires a minimum of ten business days to prepare for settlement. Where a seller has multiple properties or complex finances, this can blow out to fifteen or twenty business days. Once the incoming mortgagee has issued finance approval, they then need to prepare mortgage documents.  The buyer must sign and return these to the bank before they can settle.

Most lenders require ten to fifteen business days for this process.  However, depending on the complexity of the loan, even more time could be needed.

Holidays or absences

Often, buyers or sellers are not readily available to sign the necessary settlement documents.

Most paperwork can be prepared prior to departure, but advance notice will be required by your conveyancer to arrange this.

To avoid holidays or work trips impacting on your settlement, be sure to let your conveyancer know that you’re going away.  By notifying them ahead of time the necessary arrangements can be made for you sign the paperwork.

Related settlements

If your buyer is also selling their existing property, you might find that the two settlements need to coincide.

Any delays on the related settlement may in turn cause your settlement to be delayed.

Ideal timing for settlement

Usually, 28 days from the contract date is sufficient for everyone, including the banks to be ready to settle.

Be sure to be proactive during the settlement process:

Sign and return your paperwork a soon as possible:

Respond to emails and telephone calls promptly:

Let your lawyer know immediately of any changes in your plan.

More information on conveyancing available here.