Do I need a settlement representative?

You’ve signed a contract to buy or sell a house and the real estate agent asks you to appoint a settlement representative.

What is a settlement representative?

Read our blog post to find out.

What do they do?

A settlement representative arranges to transfer the legal ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer in exchange for the purchase price.  The role includes:

  • adjusting property rates and taxes between the buyer and seller;
  • notifying state and local government authorities of the change of ownership of the property;
  • preparing the Transfer of Land document;
  • assisting the Seller to comply with Landgate’s verification of identity requirements;
  • liaising with the incoming or outgoing bank or financier to register or discharge its security; and
  • attending settlement and collecting the balance of the purchase price or the Certificate of Title.

Is DIY an option?

While you can complete your own settlement, the majority of people appoint a settlement lawyer or settlement agent to do it for them. A professional representative is experienced in transferring property and well-equipped to deal with any problems, should they arise.

The WA Department of Commerce says:

Unless you are a suitably qualified lawyer, it would be very unwise to try to carry out the settlement of your own property. It’s a complex and time consuming business, with many traps for the unwary.

What makes a good settlement representative? read more: Compare apples with apples when choosing your rep.


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Our plain-English guide Buy your dream home without the drama has practical advice to help you complete the purchase of your new home.