Perth City WA Settlement Agent

Important Announcement: Landgate Phasing Out Duplicate Certificates of Title

Landgate Phasing Out Duplicate Certificates of Title

Recently, Landgate made a significant announcement that will affect how we handle property transactions. From 7 August 2023, Duplicate Certificates of Title, also known as Duplicate Titles, will no longer be used or considered valid. It’s crucial to be aware that any existing Duplicate Titles after this date will have no legal effect.

What is a Duplicate Certificate of Title? A Duplicate Certificate of Title, commonly referred to as a Duplicate Title, is a physical document that serves as evidence of land ownership or property rights. It is an official copy of the original Certificate of Title issued by WA’s land registry authority, Landgate.

Duplicate Titles are typically created when the original Certificate of Title is lost, damaged, or destroyed. They are also used in cases where a property owner wants to keep the original Certificate of Title in a secure location, such as a bank or with a lawyer, while possessing a duplicate copy for their records.

So, what does this change mean for land or property owners?

  • Firstly, without the need for Duplicate Titles, there will be a significant reduction in paperwork, saving you both time and resources. All relevant information will be securely stored in Landgate’s digital database, easily accessible whenever you need it.
  • For most people, including those whose banks hold their Duplicate Titles, no action will be required. If you have a Duplicate Title kept in a safe location, you may keep it if you wish, but please note that it will no longer hold any legal status or be necessary for registering land transactions.
  • If you have lent money to someone and their Duplicate Title serves as security for the loan, we recommend seeking advice from a qualified industry professional to ensure your interests are protected. It’s important to take action before 7 August 2023.

We’re here to help

We encourage all our clients to stay informed and make use of the resources provided by Landgate to navigate this transition smoothly. As always, our team is dedicated to providing you with the highest level of service and support throughout the conveyancing process.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this upcoming change, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. You can also find more information about the changes on the Landgate website.


From Offer to Settlement: A Guide to the Property Buying Transaction Process

Buying a property can be one of the most significant investments you make in your lifetime. While it can be an exciting and rewarding process, it can also be stressful and overwhelming, especially if you are a first-time homebuyer. In this blog, we will outline the general steps involved in purchasing a property, from placing an offer to settlement day.

However, it’s important to note that not all property transactions are the same, and there may be additional or different steps depending on the circumstances.

For example, some buyers may have a subject to sale of their property condition in their offer, meaning the purchase of the new property is dependent on the sale of their existing property. In this case, the process can be longer and more complex as it requires coordination between multiple parties and timelines.

1. Find a property of interest and place an offer

The offer is a crucial step as it outlines special conditions. It’s essential to seek advice from your settlement agent or finance broker on what to specify. For example, they may recommend you include a building inspection, termite inspection, and pool inspection to ensure that the property is structurally sound and safe. The seller may counteroffer, and negotiations on price and special conditions may occur until both parties reach an agreement. If the seller accepts your offer, it becomes a legally binding contract.

2. Your offer is accepted, and both parties sign the O&A

Once your offer is accepted, the seller and buyer will sign a contract known as Offer and Acceptance (O&A or COS, contract of sale).  This agreement sets out the terms and conditions of the sale, including the price, settlement date, and any special conditions.

3. You officially appoint a settlement agent and a finance broker

At this stage, you must engage a settlement agent to represent you in the settlement process. They act as an intermediary between the buyer and the seller, and their primary role is to ensure that the buyer receives a clear title to the property. You may also need to engage a finance broker or bank if you finance to purchase.

4. Your settlement agent commences all due diligence

Your settlement agent will start the due diligence process, which involves checking the property’s title and raising all appropriate searches with Landgate. For example, a settlement agent can write to the rating authorities and receive responses from these departments, which are provided to the buyer, prior to settlement.

5. Your settlement agent will bring any special conditions to your attention

Special conditions may include things like subject to finance or subject to a building inspection. For example, If finance is not obtained by the due date, your settlement agent can request an extension of finance approval via the real estate agent for both parties to agree on a variation of the finance due date.

6. Your finance broker receives financial approval of your mortgage application

If you require finance approval, your finance broker will obtain financial approval of your finance application. This process typically takes around 21 days from the date your offer is accepted.

7. You sign all mortgage and settlement documentation

Once financial approval is received, you will need to sign all the necessary mortgage and settlement documentation. The settlement documentation includes the transfer of land document, which transfers the property’s legal ownership from the seller to the buyer. Other documentation may include discharge of mortgage (if applicable), any required statutory declarations, and any other legal documents required to complete the settlement process.

8. Monies are transferred into your settlement agent’s trust fund

Prior to settlement day, you may need to transfer the balance of the purchase price into your settlement agent’s trust account. Your settlement agent will provide you with the details on how to do this.

9. Settlement day arrives

Settlement day finalises the property transaction, and the buyer receives the keys to the property. Delays or errors from third parties can cause postponements, making it essential to work with an experienced settlement agent. Settlement agents can identify potential issues, liaise with relevant parties, and ensure that all documentation is in order for a smooth transaction. By seeking professional advice and assistance, buyers can increase the chances of a successful property purchase and settlement without complications.

10. Your property transaction is settled, and the real estate agent delivers the keys!

A successful settlement is the culmination of the property transaction process, and it’s an exciting moment for both you as the buyer and the settlement agent that has being acting for you. Your settlement agent will ring you to share the good news and will instruct the real estate agent to deliver the keys – congratulations!

Ultimately, buying a property is a significant investment that requires careful consideration and planning. Knowing the steps involved and seeking professional advice can make the process less stressful and increase the likelihood of a successful transaction.

Additionally, different states and territories in Australia may have different laws and regulations regarding the purchase of property. It’s crucial to engage the services of experienced professionals, such as a settlement agent and finance broker, who are familiar with the local laws and regulations and can guide you through the process.

We understand that buying a property can be overwhelming and intimidating, especially for a first-time buyer. If you have questions related to the settlement process, legal and contractual obligations, etc., email or give us a call for expert settlement advice.


House hunters: feeling defeated at a time of record-high house prices?

Searching for a suitable property, dealing with finances, documents, and different advice from family and friends can be extremely overwhelming. Throw in record-high house prices to the mix, and you’ve got yourself quite the conundrum, eh? Let us reassure you though, buying a house can be an enjoyable and exciting journey if you implement some simple planning tools. You can still achieve your goals in a competitive market, it will just require resilience and a touch of patience.

Here’s five steps to help you achieve your house deposit goal in this competitive property market:

1. Research and shortlist

I’m sure a few suburbs come to mind when you think of your dream place to live. However, the reality is that most first and second home buyers will seek slightly out of their desired ‘bubble’. Determine a list of suburbs that tick the boxes of location, growth and safety, and start researching sales history.

From here, make a list and split into two – non-negotiables and willing-to-part-ways. For example, you’re looking for a property with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, but the property you’ve found only has 1 bathroom, but ticks almost every other box. Will you part ways with wanting two bathrooms, or is this a non-negotiable?

Go to as many home opens as possible to get a feel for neighbourhoods and people in the area. Also, don’t be afraid to politely knock on doors and ask for feedback – most people are willing to help and also appreciate meeting a prospective new neighbour!

2. Set a financial goal

Once you have a basic understanding of the prices you’re facing in areas of interest, it’s time to do a bit of number crunching (more than a bit, actually) to understand your spending power.

Start by shortlisting the properties that fit your budget so that you can determine the realistic amount for your house deposit and set your financial goal. Is your financial goal realistic and in-conjunction with your lifestyle, employment circumstances and expenses? This is where a professional will come in handy.

3. Speak to a qualified Mortgage Broker

A qualified and experienced Mortgage Broker can make the house buying journey much more smooth sailing for you. It’s simple when you have a broker doing the hard work for you. Your chosen broker should help you determine whether you are eligible for WA First Home Owners Grant, transfer duty, government rebates, and suitable finance options available. They will also likely recommend applying for Home loan pre-approval – this is like your lender giving you a careful nod to go ahead with your property search. Pre-approval is when your lender gives you conditional approval to borrow money for your ideal property, before you’ve even found it.

Mortgage broker fees associated with your loan are typically paid when your home loan is settled. So, with no impact on your immediate budget, it’s worth sitting down with a Mortgage Broker to work out a solid plan.

4. Track your spending and be prepared to make sacrifices

An annual spending and saving report by Suncorp Bank shows that Aussies’ spending habits have become even worse since the pandemic.

Did you know that just five coffees a week roughly equates to $1,040 per year. Coffee may be your treat, and that’s fine. But, be willing to give up lifestyle habits that are holding you back from your long-term goal. It might be the weekly brunch on the weekend – consider making this a monthly activity. Or, it might be that grocery delivery subscription you choose for convenience … be prepared to make sacrifices.

Review your credit cards, current debts, interest rates and determine how soon you can pay off any loans. It might be worth looking at re-financing with a lower interest rate, if this is available to you. The less debt you have, the more likely your eventual home loan application will be accepted.

5. Open a seperate savings account and lock it 

Open a seperate savings account, and lock it. Pretend it’s not even there! You may already have a savings account or two, but by keeping one that is purely for your house deposit goal is going to help you stay on track. Set up an automatic money transfer from your salary and once it’s transferred, don’t think about it again. Implement different bank accounts for your everyday spending and expenses, and keep your house deposit account hands-off. Additionally, your savings account will also earn interest (subject to interest rates) and over time you will build a habit of saving and living within your means.

We understand that buying a property can be overwhelming and intimidating, especially for a first-time buyer. If you have questions related to the settlement process, legal and contractual obligations, etc., email or give us a call for expert settlement advice.